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Bow and Stern - June 1, 1996

Bow and Stern - - June 1996

Bow and Stern

June 1996

From the President

Greetings VPC Members

A wet spring produced lots of runoff and a busy whitewater season. Many of the trips were organized via the message phone. Two club members stood out in organizing these last minute trips - Andy Meilleur and Tony Shaw! Thanks to these two, and all members who kept in touch by calling 878-8647.

The summer schedule is enclosed. Also dam releases and instructional dates. Mark, John and Rick will need help with the school. Give them a call and plan to help out in some way.

The club has a new logo thanks to Teo Campbell. Do we want to place a T-shirt order?

I'm planning to hold a fall meeting probably in late October or early November. Is there strong feeling pro or con about this idea?

I hope to start securing archive material this summer. If you have old Bow & Sterns, etc, or know someone who does, please call me (878-2018).

Club Phone Roster- We should produce one this summer.

Car Pooling- Trip leaders, please offer trip participants a car pool option, meeting place, etc. And carpoolers, compensate the driver for gas and wear.

30 Rivers- It's still there. We'll try to develop an official decal or ....... ? this summer. Is anyone participating? Let Peter Briggs or me know.

Eric Bishop

Internet Paddling

VPC is a new arrival on the internet, at

At this writing the club homepage includes links to the American Whitewater Affiliation homepage, realtime USGS river gauge data and the New England River Forecast Center, NBC Intellicast storm tracking (doppler) radar, the NWS local 3 day forecast, and more. I expect cyber-skiers will be visiting the doppler site to track snowstorms in winter.

Planned are links to the VPC trips schedule and those of other clubs in New England ...... coming soon. The potential exists for a classified ad page, dam release locator, etc., etc., etc. The possibilities are limitless.

Those with experience in website design may want to help spruce up the club's site over time. At present the site is amateurish .... albeit functional. Send me your ideas or volunteer to help using the Trivia Contest e-mail link!

Tony Shaw

Canoe and Kayak School - Help Wanted

We need a dozen or more experienced paddlers to make the July canoe and kayak school a success.
Call Ricky Battistoni at 985-8420 to volunteer.

Treasurer's Report 6/12/96

            RECORDS AS OF 5/31/96

            GENERAL FUND
            MARCH 1, 1996 BALANCE                                 $1451.41
                DUES / MARCH DINNER                                 663.00
                INTEREST                                             23.45
                MARCH DINNER CHURCH RENTAL                          (50.00)
                MARCH DINNER CATERER                               (450.00)
                MAILINGS - ERIC BISHOP                             (318.07)
                LOGO - TEO CAMPBELL                                (100.00)
                'OTHER INCOME' ENTRY ERROR                          (35.00)
            MAY 31, 1996 BALANCE                                   1204.79

            MARCH 1, 1996 BALANCE                                 $1766.90
                ROLL SESSIONS (INCLUDES $35.00 ENTRY ERROR)         207.00
                INTEREST                                             30.00
                ROLL SESSIONS - MT ABE RENTAL                      (180.00)
                RACE SPONSORSHIP - RAY INGRAM                      (300.00)
            MAY 31, 1996 BALANCE                                   1521.90

            TOTAL BALANCES                                         2726.69

              IBM CREDIT UNION CHECKING                            1001.53
              IBM CREDIT UNION POWER ACCOUNT                       1725.16

                OVERALL BALANCES                                   2726.69

                                                     RICHARD A. LARSEN

1996 Whitewater and Flatwater Schedule

WW = whitewater /// FW = flatwater /// message phone: 878-8647 PIN 95 /// see schedule notes(below)


*Contact the trip organizer for information about each trip. Listed trips may be changed or cancelled as water, weather, or interest dictates.

*Plans for impromptu trips can be relayed through the trip organizer listed and/or the VPC message phone, 878-8647 PIN 95. Many fall trips (in particular) coalesce this way.

*We need a dozen or more experienced paddlers to make the July canoe and kayak school a success. Call Ricky B. (985-8420) to volunteer.

*Please give 1-2 weeks notice for overnight trips to have a say in tentsite/ menu pre-planning, etc. Car-pooling on long (and short) trips is encouraged!

*Tag along on one or more impromptu evening trip to play at Sumner Falls (Hartland VT) or below Middlesex Dam. John Wolfe (434-5874) or Rod Wentworth (229-5054) among others know these spots well.

*Mark Willett (434-4297) can sneak off to run the Huntington (Int WW) when it rains - and yearns to do so. Inquiries welcome.

*Fish Creek NY (remote class III) is on a shoestring for the fall weekend when runoff is prime. Give Eric Bishop notice in advance (878-2018) if youre tempted to go, and hell take care of the rest.

*Randy Allens the guy to keep you company on the Mad R. or Winooski R. where theyre steepest. Call him any time theyre up, 223-3771.

*Mike Russom might coordinate additional Adirondack wilderness overnights (Cedar R., Raquette R., etc) if folks are interested. Call Mike at 985-9383.

*Mike Fullerton (456-8701) has a summer Dryway schedule and might be prodded to use it.

*The AROUND VERMONT IN 30 RIVERS promotion is underway!!! Call a VPC officer for details.

*Schedule posted now on the WWW (

*Rapid R. (NH) release dates are July 20/21,27/28 and August 3/4,10/11.

Summer 1996 Dam Releases

            NEPC        413-625-8414

            Deerfield R. - Fife Br (Class II)

            June.......1, 2, 12-16, 22, 23, 26-30
            July.......10-14, 17-21, 27, 28, 31
            August.....1-4, 8-11, 15-18, 25-29
            September..1, 4-8, 11-15, 25-29
            October....2-6, 9-13, 23-27

            Deerfield R. - Monroe Br (III-IV)

            June.......1, 2, 22, 23, 28, 29
            July.......13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28
            August.....3, 4, 9, 10, 18, 24, 25
            September..1, 8, 28
            October....5, 6

            Pemigewasset - Bristol, NH (Class II)

            Min. 850 cfs weekends & holidays
            May 1 thru Oct 31

                             Pontook Dam Release Schedule - 1996

Day  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

May  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  5  5  5  2  2  2  2
Jun  5  5  2  2  2  2  2  5  5  2  2  2  2  2  5  5  2  2  2  2  2  5  5  2  2  2  2  2  5  5  -
Jul  3  3  3  6  6  6  6  3  3  3  3  6  6  6  3  3  3  3  6  6  6  3  3  3  3  6  6  6  3  3  3
Aug  3  6  6  6  3  3  3  3  6  6  6  3  3  3  3  6  6  6  3  3  3  3  6  6  6  3  3  3  3  6  6
Sep  6  6  4  4  4  4  7  7  4  4  4  4  4  7  7  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  -
Release Rate 1 (minimum release) applies to all times, days, and months not shown on chart.

Release Rates (minimum):

  1. 350 CFS for 24 hours
  2. 500 CFS 9 AM to 6 PM
  3. 500 CFS 8 AM to 6 PM
  4. 500 CFS 8 AM to 4 PM
  5. 500 CFS 9 AM to 6 PM, Full river flow 10 AM to 4 PM
  6. 500 CFS 8 AM to 6 PM, Full river flow 10 AM to 4 PM
  7. 500 CFS 8 AM to 4 PM, Full river flow 10 AM to 4 PM
Release rates 5, 6, and 7 provide paddleable water. Thanks to George McIntosh for providing this information.


434-4297                  985-8420                  434-5874

Membership Application and Waiver

You'll find the (printable/mailable) enrollment form you need below:

  1. Join VPC/ACA for the first time at the $23 (individual) or $28 (family) rate...
    Current ACA members need send only the VPC portion ($8/household),
    and are entitled thereafter to discounted ACA renewal rates!
  2. VPC members, joining the ACA...
    You are entitled to substantially discounted ACA membership.
    Your card(s) and window sticker(s) will arrive in about 4 weeks.
  3. Renew my membership(s)...
    • VPC member renewal (print and mail). Pay your VPC dues the first of the year (VPC, 11 Discovery Rd., Essex Jct., VT 05452).
    • ACA member renewal: look for your renewal notice, in the mail, from ACA, around your anniversary date.
  4. I prefer not to join at this time...
    Non-ACA members are welcome to join VPC activities with commensurate skills, however, a $5 event fee will apply to each outing/activity. Those who expect to paddle frequently with the VPC will save money if you join VPC/ACA.

A printable waiver is online -- ()
The Message Line

Last spring, VPC established a message line. With a touch-tone phone and the correct access code, a caller may listen to message and leave messages. The line was heavily used last spring. We hope that this service will be used by Club members to coordinate trips which are not on the formal trip schedule. (Use is not restricted to paddling trips.)

Briefly, the system operates as follows:

Tape 1, with the "greeting" message, will be updated each week to list the trips on our normal schedule, plus selected trips run by other paddling groups. Callers will hear this message when they dial the Message Line number.

Tape 2 will hold messages that callers leave. Leaving a message requires no special procedure -- simply leave a message after the beep. Listening to trip messages that others have left requires the procedure printed in more detail below (see Option 2).


Dial 878-8647.

The machine will answer and announce scheduled trips. If that is all you want, hang up at the end.

Option 1: To leave a message without listening to other messages:

Leave your message following the beep at the end of the list of scheduled trips.
Option 2: To listen to messages others have left:
Enter the "remote code number" before the end of the trips announcement. (We'll leave enough time for you to both listen to the trips and enter the code.) The code is 95 (as in the year 1995).

The machine will begin to go through its voice menu. It announces "Press 1 to play back all messages. Press 2 for other functions."

You should Press 1. You may hang up when done, or continue by waiting for 5 seconds after the machine says "End of final message." See Option 3.

Option 3: To leave a message after listening to messages:
If you have stayed on the line after listening to messages, the machine will restart at the top of its voice menu.

Therefore, when the machine says "Press 1 to play back all messages. Press 2 for other functions," you should Press 2.

The machine will continue "Press 1 to play back new messages. Press 2 for other functions." Again, Press 2 to continue.

The machine now states "Press 1 to record your message. Press 2 for other functions." Press 1 and leave your message. Hang up when done.

Eric's home phone is 878-2018. You may call him if you are having problems with the line.

Guidelines for Vermont Paddlers Club Trips*

A. General Philosophy

Club outings are cooperative adventures among participants. The group is collectively responsible for the conduct of the outing; and each participant is individually responsible for judging his or her own qualifications and for his or her own safety on the river. By participating in a Club outing, you release the Club, its members, trip coordinators, and fellow paddlers from any injuries due to any negligent act or omission or to any intentional act intended to promote your safety or well being.

B. River Hazards

You must understand and accept that whitewater boating exposes you to various hazards, for example, boulders and other obstacles, strainers, undercut or entrapping formations, changing conditions, cold, high water and other hazards, mostly in remote locations. Injuries and deaths occasionally occur due to these hazards, among other things.

You are responsible for learning to recognize river hazards and learning and practicing the techniques for avoiding these hazards. You are also responsible for acquiring boating safety and rescue skills commensurate with the level of difficulty of the river you are paddling (see the International Scale of River Difficulty). One excellent source book is RIVER RESCUE by Bechdel and Ray, available at most outfitters.

Don’t endanger your life and the lives of others by trying to boat on water beyond your ability. Remember - most good paddlers develop by very gradually increasing the difficulty of rivers they run over a period of several years.

C. River Decision Making

You are solely responsible for the following decisions at all times:

  1. The decision to go on any trip.
  2. The decision to put-in the selected river (which may not be the scheduled river) under conditions existing at the time of the put-in.
  3. The decision as to what equipment to wear or take with you.
  4. The decision whether to scout any rapid.
  5. The decision whether to run any rapid.
  6. The decision whether to participate in any rescue or the recovery of any equipment.
  7. The decision to pass up any walk out or take out opportunity.

D. River Rescue

Trip participants usually assist each other when someone appears to need assistance, but only so long as they can do so, in their own judgment, without significant risk to themselves. Some participants may choose to accept greater hazards to rescue a fellow paddler. However, trip participants and the trip coordinator are under no legal duty to assist you.

E. Other Responsibilities of Participants

  1. Telephoning the trip coordinator well in advance of the trip you are planning to go on.
  2. Asking the trip coordinator about his or her training and experience, if these considerations are significant to you.
  3. Informing the trip coordinator of your skills, experience, training, and rivers run.
  4. Not bringing unexpected guests to the trip.
  5. Bringing appropriate equipment and making sure it is in good repair, specifically, life jacket, helmet, protective footwear, knife, whistle, throw bag, extra clothing.
  6. Observing good safety practices on the river.
  7. Informing yourself of the difficulty of the river under existing conditions.
  8. Sharing the optional group responsibilities (see section H).

F. About Your Trip Coordinator

Trip Coordinators are volunteers and they receive no pay. Their functions are to get the group to the same river at the same time, to arrange the shuttle, and to respond to inquiries to the best of their knowledge. However, your trip coordinator may never have run the scheduled river under the conditions encountered on the trip day. Indeed, the scheduled river may not be runnable on the day of the trip, and the trip may be switched to an unfamiliar river without prior notice.

Your trip coordinator may not have had any organized or formal training in whitewater boating skills, boating safety skills, first aid, or CPR. If you prefer to go on a trip only with a trip coordinator who has had organized or formal training in these areas, or who has had a lot of experience, it is your responsibility to ask him or her about his or her training and experience. It is solely your decision whether the trip coordinator’s qualifications are satisfactory to you. Bear in mind that your trip coordinator is not responsible for judging your qualifications or for your safety on the river.

G. Trip Coordinator Responsibilities

  1. Finding a substitute coordinator if you are unable to go on the trip and notifying the VPC president of the change.
  2. Familiarizing yourself with the put-in, take-out, shuttle, major obstacles and rapids on the scheduled river.
  3. Determining the rendezvous place and time.
  4. Responding to participant inquiries to the best of your knowledge about the river, your training and experience, and the participants’ training and experience. You have the authorization to refuse a particular participant on any reasonable grounds, but it is not your responsibility to determine whether a participant is qualified for the trip.
  5. Insuring that all participants in all trips (flatwater and whitewater) have signed VPC’s waiver of liability.

H. Optional Group Responsibilities

The group may wish to consider the following suggestions. Which of these suggestions are adopted on the trip is solely a group decisions, and is not the responsibility of any particular person.

  1. Obtain river stage or flow data.
  2. Obtain knowledge of the difficult parts of the run and emergency takeout routes.
  3. Equipment: throw rope in each boat, duct tape, first aid kit, extra paddle, flashlight, fire starter and matches, pruning or wire coil saw, survival suit, extra clothing, caribineers, prusik loops, map, guidebook.
  4. Keep group compact enough for communication, but not so compact as to interfere with each other.
  5. Consider dividing a large group into smaller groups, or having “buddy boats”.
*Editor's note: These guidelines are superceded by the Safety Code of American Whitewater (

Trip Reports Winter/Spring 1996

WINOOSKI RIVER - Essex Junction Dam to Fanny Allen : February 24,1996

Participants: OC-1: Andy Meilleur; K-1: Ricky Battistoni

A wonderfully warm day in February, but the ice was just breaking up enough to paddle. Andy and I enjoyed the chance to be on the water in February - even with a few icebergs. I had attempted to scout the route to make sure there were no ice jams - but missed the one spot where there was a jam. Andy and I made an unexpected but quick carry before finishing up.

Ricky Battistoni

NEW HAVEN RIVER : February 24, 1996

Participants: OC-1: Eric Bishop, Paul Carlile, Tony Shaw

A warm front and a bit of rain in the morning brought up the New Haven to a suitable level. For two of us it was our first February paddling adventure. The water was absolutely frigid, and we shared most of the eddies with recirculating hopscotch sized icebergs. At the time, tributaries like Baldwin Brook and even the Huntington River were still iced over. Thankfully all swimmers had the protection of drysuits, but even so at least one ice cream headache was registered. The last 1/4 mile through Bristol was a hoot, and made us all glad we'd come.

Tony Shaw

WHITE RIVER : March 31, 1996

Participants: OC-1: Randy Allen, Andy Meilleur
Water: 11: 15 AM to 2:30 PM

We ran the Stockbridge to Bethel section of the White River with low water, which was OK for cruising but not for surfing, because surfing waves were scarce.

Andy Meilleur

LOWER WHITE RIVER : March 31, 1996

Participants: Ricky Battistoni, Andy Meilleur, Julie Petot, Randy Allen, Rick and Helen Schneider, Mike Fullerton, Allon Wildgust, Tony Shaw, Lori Barg, and Peter Downey

The trip was scheduled for the Stockbridge - Bethel section of the river, however, the trip was moved to the Lower White section due to low water. The water level was fine for this section of the river. All participants ran the Sharon Dam with only two swims recorded.

Many of the drops produced large surfing waves, some of which we passed up in our reluctance to swim in this weather.

Peter Downey

LOWER WHITE RIVER : April 6,1996

Participants: K-1: Ricky Battistoni, Greg Decell, Allon Wildgust; OC-2: Todd Papianou & Karen Wilson; OC-1: Randy Allen, Andy Meilleur
Water: 11:45 AM to 3:45 PM

This trip was assembled from the canceled Waits River trip and general low water conditions put us back on the Lower White where water was ample.

Andy Meilleur

MASCOMA RIVER (NH) : April 14,1996

Participants: K-1: Ricky Battistoni

I was to be joined by Randy Allen, who unfortunately at the last minute had car troubles and could not make it. It was a cold and snowy day, but the water was moving nicely. I joined up with two wildwater paddlers who were making practice runs before their race. Great fun.

Ricky Battistoni

WHITE RIVER : April 14,1996

Participants: OC-1: Rich Larsen, Sheri Larsen, Andy Meilleur; K-1: George McIntosh; OC-2: Dave Boedy & Jim Higgins, Dave & Pat Cawley, John King and George Agnew

The White River from Stockbridge to Bethel was well up due to a storm, but we paid for it because the storm continued during our trip. Even John King's warm enthusiastic attitude could not get us out of the 30's, though it did make it seem more tolerable. Some members of the group made me aware of their displeasure with the weather and I note their suffering here, however smiles were sighted as well. There was only one swim, timed to occur near the end of the trip, which took only 2.5 hours, possible a Club record. It did not matter that the next day would be 57 degrees and sunny.

Andy Meilleur


Participants: OC-1: Eric Bishop, Tony Shaw

The sun shone as advertised but it never even broke 60 degrees in Belvidere. The upper river was too low all day, so we ran the covered bridges segment twice, taking an hour or so each time. It was my first time here, and to my relief the lower gorge was a sleeping tiger at this low level. Short boats were a distinct advantage for negotiating the boulder maze. I look forward to trying again at a medium level. At high levels I think I'll let discretion be the better part of valor.

Tony Shaw

MUD CREEK : April 19, 1996

Participants: Peter Briggs

Grand Isle County's sole representative on the 30 Rivers list is well named. It is a seepage to be explored in high water conditions early in the year. As water levels decrease with summer heat, and the growing season progresses, the open water of this expansive cattail marsh will slowly disappear.

April is the time to explore Mud Creek. I launched at the access just north of Route 78 and headed upstream - although "upstream" is a curious word to use when there is no discernable current. Canada geese, bufflehead, whistlers, ring-necked ducks, blue winged teal, and wood ducks were all present in good numbers in this upper section of the creek.

"Downstream" of the launch site, one can paddle under a railroad bridge, pull over a dike by a small dam, and then paddle out to Lake Champlain. This part of the creek is at lake level, and with this spring's late high water, now is the time to explore it.

Peter Briggs

LOWER MAD RIVER : April 19,1996

Participants: OC-1: Randy Allen, Jim Picone

An unscheduled run at a rather high level, which significantly changed the nature of the run, washing out some of the sections and creating holes where none existed before. We elected to portage the waterfall and the chute below. A good run and no swims.

Randy Allen


Participants: K-1: Rod Wentworth, Teri Ames, Len Gerardi, Fred Schroeder, Will Colgan, Eric Palmer; OC-2: Dave Boedy & John King; OC-1: Jeff Swett, Mike Fullerton, Len Carpenter, Sheri Larsen, Rich Larsen, Andy Meilleur, Peter Downey, Randy Allen, Jim Picone

The first really nice day of spring. Temperature 73 degrees in Burlington. Overcast but no rain. Lots of high elevation snow pack. The kayaks went off in a group by themselves to do the lower section, Route 15-16 junction through Hardwick.

The canoes split roughly into two flotillas. The water was medium - few rocks showing. The run was not too technically demanding and the waves not too high. The run went very smoothly. We reached the takeout at 1:45.

Just above the motel rapid are large rocks placed in the river for ice control. These leave 6 - 10 foot spaces and do not impede canoes. There would be a problem if logs got hung up on these. This was a season starter for me, and a very memorable trip.

Peter Alden

HUNTINGTON RIVER : April 24,1996

Participants: OC-1: Peter Alden, Randy Allen, Dave Boedy, Peter Downey, Mike Fullerton, Ray Ingram, Sheri Larsen, Andy Meilleur, Tony Shaw; K-1: Ricky Battistoni; OC-2: John King & George Agnew
Water: Audubon to Gorge 5: 10 PM to 7: 10 PM

.8 inches of rain chased by snow the night before produced an ugly morning that gave way to sun and high 40's by afternoon. I was the mothership for three playful kayaks which were connecting with several surfing waves. I finally surfed a sizeable wave near the stone retaining wall below Dugway Road where a cold virus I had been carrying left me for fear of swimming.

Andy Meilleur

AMMONOOSUC / SACO (NH) : April 27,1996

Participants: K-1: Rod Wentworth, Eric Palmer, Ricky Battistoni, Georgia Myer, Jody Higgs; OC-1: Peter Alden, Sheri Larsen, Rich Larsen, Andy Meilleur, Clyde Smith

The rain held off but the day was overcast and blustery. The Ammo was high due to recent rains and most other rivers were in flood stage. Boat Breaker rapids had no rocks showing and big waves. The brave of the open canoes sneaked down the right-hand bank. All but one kayak and two OC-1s did the run twice down to the Pierce Bridge.

The saner group of six boats went over Crawford Notch and ran the Class II portion of the Saco from just north of Bartlett to the 302 bridge - about 6 miles. The sun shone on this group, which devoted time to a swim and a picnic on a sunny bank. You would have enjoyed the sport of having the dog fetch the paddle out of the eddy.

Peter Alden

UPPER LAMOILLE : April 28, 1996

Participants: OC-1: Andy Meilleur, Paul Council, Randy Allen

An impromptu trip - it was a relief to find a river that weekend where the water wasn't in the alders. At 3 1/2 feet we managed to get five hours of play.

Randy Allen

UPPER LAMOILLE : May 4, 1996

Participants: OC-1: Peter Alden, Randy Allen, Dave Boedy, Peter Downey, Mike Fullerton, Ray Ingram, Sheri Larsen, Andy Meilleur, Tony Shaw; K-1: Ricky Battistoni; OC-2: John King & George Agnew
Water: 11:00 AM to 2:45 PM; River level 3.25 feet.

Rain in the Hardwick area the night before raised the river level .5 feet higher. My rain gauge in Colchester showed no precipitation. The group consisted of boaters running at various paces so the caravan may have extended 1/2 mile at times and I M only report on what happened at the back, which consisted of river play highlighted by Tony's short but intense sidesurf on a wave below the motel, where he has lost many battles in the past.

Andy Meilleur

HUNTINGTON RIVER To Jonesville : May 11, 1996

Participants: OC-1: Eric Bishop, Tony Shaw

With better than 2" in my rain gauge in Williston it was no surprise the Huntington was high. We put in at 5 PM on Brush Brook, a tributary east of Huntington Center, which rarely has enough water in it to make a descent worthwhile. Today it did. It's a sporty class 11 race with one steeper drop but no river-wide strainers (this time). From its mouth to the gorge we floated side by side and gabbed most of the way. Big waves and turbulence behind submerged rocks provided the excitement. Rain the whole way didn't dampen our spirits (much).

A rugged carry around the gorge brought us to a put-in on the lower river. Here the rapids are a bit steeper than those above the gorge, very turbulent at this level, and they continue right to the lip of the rarely visited lower gorge (the infamous Triple Buckets). We glimpsed the "buckets" from high on the hogback we portaged over to avoid them, on river right. They looked unrunnable from that vantage point, though at lower levels may be negotiable with a line by open canoers (or even afloat in a kayak or C-1). The canyon below is no wider than my kitchen in spots, but (thankfully) less steep than the river above. Even so, a succession of river- wide hydraulics required aggressive moves to prevail. We emerged in Jonesville at 8 o'clock ................ tired, but triumphant.

Tony Shaw

UPPER LAMOILLE : May 11, 1996

Participants: OC-1: Andy Meilleur, Peter Downey, Randy Allen; K-1: David Groening

Yet another unscheduled trip, with paddlers electing to stay on local rivers with the water levels so good, Ns one being 3 1/4 feet under a steady rain. One member of the group was observed sidesurfing the last hole behind the motel - what could this individual have been thinking? Comments were heard - "Good Move,' and "Boy, he must be really feeling bold today." It was learned later that it wasn't an intentional move. A great trip and no swims.

Randy Allen

BROWNS RIVER : May 11, 1996

Participants: Mark Willett, Neil Vallencourt and Cale, his son, and Art Anderson
Weather: It was the beginning of the Great Wet Weekend. (See Huntington River, May 12.) Lake Champlain is just now beginning to come down from the water from this weekend's weather.

It rained, not hard, not all day, but we were wet before the swimming began, and cold by the end of the day.

All four of us wore kayaks down the Browns River from Westford to Fairfax. We were not expecting much difficulty or challenge, but the rain had brought the Browns back to spring levels and we had a few surprises. We started in Westford at the old mill and dam, which provides the first real challenge. A large tree blocked the main chute, heavy current prevented a guaranteed safe eddy turn near the dam, so we carried around. Anyone unfamiliar with the Browns should use extreme caution when approaching the Westford bridge and the dam just beyond, especially during high water.

The next several miles provided some nice easy, fast water. There is one very nice series of Class II rapids about a half mile from the mill which would be perfect for beginning boaters looking for a relatively safe practice run. Further on there are two ledges with three to four foot drops and limited choices for running through. Scouting is recommended. We walked the first ledge. The second is a series of shorter drops so we all attempted the run, with only one swimmer. (And then after he had successfully managed the drops and returned upstream to play.) Cale ran each series of rapids like a natural, future Olympian.

The trip then took us down the Lamoille River to Arrowhead Lake. For May the Lamoille was cranking. Neil and Art swam the big water, but everybody agreed the trip was worth the wet. The scouting, high water levels, and swims made the trip duration longer than anticipated. For those desiring a shorter trip there is a takeout on the Browns about a mile before it enters the Lamoille River. Our trip from Fairfax to Arrowhead Lake took about five hours.

Mark Willett


Participants: As of Wednesday, May 8th, None, because of the fear that the Huntington was too low and scratchy for a good run. By Friday, May 10th, about seven, because the forecast was for rain and the river might be do-able. By Sunday, May 12th, none, because the river was in flood and the trip was canceled.

It rained, and rained, and ruined the trip. The Huntington River was at a dangerous flood stage by the scheduled trip time. Andy Meilleur told me I was crazy to plan a Huntington trip so late in the season and expect it to be runnable. He was right.

Mark Willett


Participants: K-1: Ricky Battistoni; OC-1. Andy Meilleur
Water: 6:30 PM to 8-10 PM

Since Friday, my rain gauge in Colchester had received 2.25 inches of rain, which brought the Huntington to flood by Sunday, resulting in cancellation of a scheduled trip there on that day. I don't know of any trip that ran that day, but if there was it should make an interesting report. By Monday the Huntington came back down to prime water level.

Andy Meilleur


Participants: K-1: Ricky Battistoni, Peter Huber; OC-1: Peter Downey, Andy Meilleur
Water: 6:20 PM to 3:13 PM Audubon to Gorge

It was a delightful evening with the level lower than May 13, but high enough to sustain many good surfing waves below Dugway Road. The cattle fence which crossed the river just after the last bridge was gone. This was Peter Huber's first trip on the Huntington.

Andy Meilleur

WINOOSKI RIVER above Montpelier : May 17, 1996

Participants: K-1: Ricky Battistoni; OC-1: Peter Downey, Andy Meilleur
Water: 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM

The Winooski was well filled and the section just below the dam looked somber even in direct sunlight, so we made a studied run with each of us taking a different route. Peter ran the shallow but rocky left. I preferred the large eddy available river center, and Ricky bombed down the heavy waves on the right. There was something for everyone.

Andy Meilleur


Participants: OC-2: Tom and Jeanette Berry; K-1: Chris Clark, Peter Huber, Mark Willett; OC-1: Andy Meilleur, John Schroeder
Water: 11:45 PM to 3:45 PM

When I called Mark to see if the Huntington was runnable after a rainstorm, he responded that he could bear the river through his open window. We put in at a bridge above the town of Huntington. We paddled past a hay rake parked in the middle of the river and attached to a tree. It probably was left there the weekend before when the Huntington was in flood.

It was 80+ degrees and we paddled through the town to the buzz of lawn mowers. Later on, Peter had an encounter with a strainer, which ended as a good lemming experience. The cattle fence at the last bridge was back up. Jeanette had not paddled in seven years and the return was marked by some river play.

Andy Meilleur

BOREAS RIVER (NY) AKA Minerva's Nirvana: May 19,1996

Leader: ?
Participants: C-1: Wright Hartmann, K-1: Tim Budell, OC-1: Eric Bishop, Tony Shaw
Water: 0.5 feet

The Boreas is a wild and scenic river if ever there was one. I managed to keep a camera dry all day to prove it. We paddled in solitude for 13 miles, not counting the fishermen near the Rt. 28N bridge. Above this bridge we enjoyed a mix of meandering current and class 11-11+ rapids, reminiscent of the Londonderry section of the West. Unlike the West the shore here is pristine, and VT 100 seems a million miles away. This stretch would make a delightful intermediate club trip, within reason for solo and tandem open canoes. Wright and I traded boats a while here, and I felt right at home in his C-1 (to my surprise). The sun beat down on us most of the day, and temperatures hovered around 80 degrees.

Eric and I (in turn) let timidity spoil the single sharpest drop we encountered, each managing nonetheless to stay upright ... somehow. Tim and Wright cheered us on all day, and it helped (psychologically) having fearless paddlers in our midst. 'The Boreas is the real thing!" was Eric's mantra all morning, and the final succession of heavy class HI rapids was dicey indeed. Here the gradient averages 111 feet per mile, a Deerfield Dryway ... ALL TO YOURSELF. At zero feet expect class IV; any higher and the waves likely will fill open canoes.

There were some negatives. Stretches of flatwater. A long shuttle. Less water than hair boaters might prefer. On balance however it was hard to beat the balmy weather, the unspoiled setting, and the many challenges the Boreas affords. Next time we'd all bring more open boaters, continue down to North Creek, and nail the 6 foot drop we botched!

Tony Shaw

LOWER MAD RIVER : May 22,1996

Participants: OC-2: Bill Suhr and Jim Picone; OC-1: Randy Allen, Peter Downey, Andy Meilleur, Marcus Pante
Water: 5:45 PM to 8:30 PM

Randy organized and I'm reporting because Randy already turned in his trip reports. Some of us ran the double drop after the gorge section several times while waiting for Mark, who had seen us from the road, to put in. We savored every surfing wave and eddy. The tandem team paddled aggressively, was the only boat to run the six foot waterfall, and did so successfully.

Mark had a Mad River Outrage which he could roll about 50% of the time, the other 50% resulting in short swims. After the last rapid the scene was casual as Randy tried the Outrage, making the transition from his usual ME look easy until he turned over surfing, and got hit in the head with a throw bag.

Andy Meilleur

MISSISSOU01 RIVER : May 25, 1996

Participants: Patti Karl, Ricky Battistoni, Brenda Wright, Fred Kosnitsky, Russ Ford, and Linda Scollin

We began just north of the Mississquoi Refuge HQ on a beautiful sunny afternoon (12:30 to be more exact.) A steady breeze was blowing but that did not become a factor until later. The river was still very high with many of the islands submersed.

We worked our way back to the mouth of the river stopping along the way to observe Black Terns, Double Crested Cormorants, Osprey, Orioles, and a Scarlet Tanager. We also stopped at Shad Island, one of the largest heron rookeries in the northeast, to observe the Great Blue Herons nesting. Quite a sight.

We were also lucky enough to see an endangered species in Vermont - the spiny soft-shelled turtle. The plan was to then go onto the lake and return via Dead Creek. However, the wind had picked up significantly and the waves stood three to four feet high. With so many open boats, we all chose to return from whence we came. A wonderful afternoon was had by all...

Ricky Battistoni

LOWER HUDSON RIVER (NY) : May 27, 1996

Participants: K-1: Ricky Battistoni; OC-1: Randy Allen, Andy Meilleur, Mike Smorgans
Water: 10:30 AM to 4:10 PM North Creek to The Glen

Most rivers were low on water by this time, but the Hudson, because of its size, was a good bet to hold up a little further into the season. This is one reason I like this river. I had never before organized a trip for the Hudson, so past trip reports in the Bow & Stem were helpful.

Mike's knowledge of the area made the commute to North Creek efficient. We read the North Creek gauge at 4.25 feet, which agreed with an unofficial gauge painted on a rock found at river right just below Riparius Bridge. Spruce Rapids had no kick at that level but was stuffed with surfing waves. The action picked up below Riparius and we got a good workout playing Race Horse Rapids. The wave at Rock Island was giving out generous rides, sometimes resulting in a short swim. There was another good surfing wave at this level just upstream of the bridge at The Glen.

Andy Meilleur

HUDSON RIVER GORGE (NY) : June 1, 1996

Participants: K-1: Greg Punchar, Tom Yurista; OC-1: Randy Allen, Bob Cambell, Andy Meilleur, Mike Smorgans
Weather: 10:30 AM to 5:15 PM
Water: 3.9 feet before the bubble

Tom organized this great trip, but was more comfortable with playing in the Indian River than with writing a trip report, so I volunteered to write. Most of the group had limited experience in the Gorge so Bob's 30+ runs here made his guidance a valuable asset.

The anxiety that the Indian River provokes had not diminished, even though I had seen it once before. The run down to the Hudson was without incident, however, and consisted of several pauses to empty the open boats of excess water, while the kayaks continued to play. The gnats and mosquitoes were in full bloom, and reminded us of their presence when we ventured to shore.

We ate lunch at river left near the end of the Narrows. By the time lunch ended, the bubble had passed us, but the water level was still good. Harris Rift seems to command attention at any level, and two of the open boats had short swims there'. One canoe was held against a rock, bottom side facing upstream. Tom tried to work the canoe off with his kayak paddle, but the rock ended up claiming the paddle as a trophy along with the canoe.

Tom hand-paddled to shore, where I lent him my canoe paddle. Then, the rock released the canoe as if it had lost interest in the canoe in favor of its newly acquired paddle. Some of us took turns trying to retrieve the paddle, and it was Randy who came up with the prize. Next we lingered at Bus Stop where the kayaks gave it a complete workout and Randy and I gave it some limited sampling. Bus Stop was very sticky at this level. There was enough water for a pleasant paddle out.

Andy Meilleur

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