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New Haven / Lower Mad

Saturday Apr 17, 2004
Kayak: Julie Prior; Maura; Cheryl; Tim; Jamie Dolan
Open Canoe: Randy Allen; Mike Fullerton
Inflatable: Tina Scharf
Organizer: Jamie Dolan
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Gauge (ft): 3.85
Gauge (cfs): 5++
Author: Jamie Dolan

The scheduled New Haven trip was cancelled due to lack of water. However, the lower Mad was running at a pleasant 3.85 and 500 + CFS. The day turned into a wonderful exercise of boat rescue. Though it could have turned out differently. One of the kayakers started over the Horseshoe falls on river left (the so called "cheat route") but was quickly caught in the somewhat sticky upper hole. She flipped by the rock in the middle of the river precluding a roll and losing boat and paddle. Two of the boaters used a throw rope to rescue her from having to go over the falls. The paddle flushed out in good fashion and was easily retrieved. Not so the boat. After what seemed like ten minutes, it eventually lodged itself right by the horseshoe determined not to move. Two of the boaters ferried above the falls across the river to retrieve it. Climbing down the rock face the boat was reached and tied off with a throw rope. The boat was full of water and very heavy, so it could not be hauled out. The rope was then ferried to river left where the boat was then pulled in. During this time the ducky, which was used to get across the river to rescue the kayak, got loose and also went over the falls. This flushed into one of the rock crevices below the falls and was relatively easy to retrieve. Even after all this excitement Tina, in the ducky, decided to run the falls (river left) a second time. By her own admission it was because she did not want to carry the ducky anymore. The rest of the trip was relatively anti-climatic, though we did get to do another boat rescue. While no one ever was in real danger there was the potential for that and we all acted accordingly. It gave all of us more respect for the river left run.

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