The Vermont Paddlers Club

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Beaver Meadow Brook

Monday Aug 30, 2004
Kayak: Whitney Phillips, Damon Bungard, Ed Clark, Chris Skalka, Bobby Pfister, Scott Gilbert
C1: Alden Bird
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Gauge (cfs): 1300
Author: Alden Bird

One last fling before the year begins. The afternoon began with a juicy run down the New Haven with Katie (21 years old on that very day!) and Marshall. I recall: boofing smartly over a large hole in the Playpen, then getting hammered in the hole in Mama Tried.

At the take out we met up with the rest of the gang. My two friends headed off to do other things and I stuffed my boat in the van to run Beaver Meadow.

Beaver Meadow is a trib of the New Haven that dumps in about a mile up from the normal Ledges put in. I had never run it before. It is virtually Ed Clark's personal creek -- he lives there, discovered it and has led most of the few descents.

The water was low, but the river was steep. There were many exciting drops, including a nasty one with a log that we walked. Most of the drops seemed to be about 7 feet tall and contain some variety of hideous piton/pin spot on one dreaded side of the bottom.

In fact, we did have one minor shoulder dislocation and also the most serious pin I have witnessed. I heard Chris yell, "Shit! Pin!" and tried to move smoothly into rescue position. All I could see was the bow of a boat sticking up in the air, and the occupant with his head just out of the water. Fortunately we had plenty of power on the banks and were able to pull him out quickly and safely.

Fittingly, this new gem was my last Vermont river of the summer, and probably my last for a long time. That night I drove five hours home to Connecticut and a week later I moved to DC. This river marked the end of a long, vagabond summer spent running rivers and meeting people. I once read something like, "As an artist, you become familiar with due process. You can't just write people off or send them to hell." Same with boating. You can't go boating alone, despite what some desperate incarnations of ourselves will say. It's been a great summer, and I hope everyone is careful, paddles fastidiously and scouts and sets safety in a meticulous way. Because you know what they say -- if expert paddlers are laughing at you, you're probably being pretty darn safe . . .

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