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White River Watershed Not So Micros

Friday Mar 30, 2018
Kayak: Noah Pollock
K2: Anders Newbury
Organizer: NOAH
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Gauge (cfs): 300
Author: Noah Pollock

With spring finally starting to emerge from the snow drifts, Anders and I made a plan for some Friday afternoon paddling. With the demands of law school, Ander's paddling is basically limited to the White River watershed on most days, so we chose two rarely run runs - the West Branch of the Tweed and Locust Creek. Mike McDonnell had given me beta and Anders was eager for some obscure boat bashing paddling. We drove to Pittsburg, and left a car at the bridge over the West Branch of the Tweed - the White River Partnership and FEMA had conveniently purchased and removed a house here, and its a great public access point now. The water level looked great! We drove east until the road ended at a snowmobile trail, and then proceeded to drive a little further, Anders testing his 4x4 truck capabilities on the snow covered road. Eventually we stopped and walking our boats through the woods, following  the sound of the river. Behold, there is was! For good measure we hiked upstream, putting in above a snowmobile bridge. The river here is like a mini Patterson - clear, bouldery water, ledgy rock walls, fun little drops. Good stuff. After the obligatory sneak around a strainer we carried on for ~5 miles? There are several distinct drops in this section, which is great for a micro, including a set of ledges right above and below a bridge. What a fun river!

Next stop, Locust Creek, which is visible on Rt 107 between Bethel and Stockbridge near Rt 12. We parked at the gas station to scout the drop below the bridge. Left side looked chocked with wood, but right side was clear, first time in a couple years. Leaving a car here we proceeded to drive west toward Barnard. Gradually the river became smaller and smaller, so before we ran out of water we stopped at a side bridge and set off downstream. The river here was mostly quickwater with occasional Class II drops, made more challenging by a badly leaking boat on my end. Soon we came to a more intense rapid with a horizon line beneath a side bridge, and pulled over to scout. The river here descended a jumble of boulders and through a narrow slot - probably only 5' wide. Class IV+ with pinning potential? We elected to portage and seal launched into the mini gorge. Carrying on to Rt 107, we descended the final drop, which was bigger and more fun then it looked from above. Anders rolled twice here, more times then his entire Grand Canyon trip the week prior. We took out by an old road above the confluence and walked back to the gas station, happy to have explored two, close to home, not so micro creeks!

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