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Bow and Stern - March 1, 1997

Bow and Stern - - March 1997

Bow and Stern

March 1997

Officers of Vermont Paddlers Club

                       President: Eric Bishop
                       Vice President: Ghost Paddler
                            Secretary: Peter Briggs
                            Treasurer: Rich Larsen
                             At Large: Ricky Battistoni
                             At Large: Tony Shaw
                             At Large: John Wolfe


The Spring meeting was held Sunday March 4 at the 1ST Congregational Church of Essex Junction. The meeting began at 6 PM. Excellent food was provided by the Spanked Puppy.

The business meeting was called to order at 7:10 by President Eric Bishop, who announced the new officers elected in December and thanked the previous officers for their work and dedication the club. Ray Ingram drummed up enthusiasm for the Fiddlehead Slalom; a correction to the trip schedule was noted -- in the Lemon Fair River trip description, "fast" should read "slow." The Northern Forest Canoe Trail was mentioned.

Eric Bishop described a proposed trip on Fish Creek in NY, through the 8 mile canyon section (Class III). Rich Larsen presented the Treasurer's report. Fred Abraham spoke about the Vermont Quiet Lakes Federation and the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir.

The meeting concluded with a slide presentation by Peter Briggs about a trip on the North Branch of the Mistassibi River in Quebec.


The Summer meeting and potluck dinner was held Wednesday June 12 at the Malletts Bay Boat Club at 6 PM; the business meeting began at 7:30.

Rich Larsen presented the Treasurer's Report. Eric Bishop displayed the new club logo created by Teo Campbell; a proposal to investigate T-shirt production was greeted with great enthusiasm. Tony Shaw reported on the club's WWW site, which is now well-established and set up with VPC information as well as useful links to other sites.

The possibility of setting up an advanced white water class was discussed. Krista Willett presented information on 'Around Vermont in 30 Rivers'. The meeting concluded with a presentation by Eric Bishop and Barb Frankowski on a float trip on the Green River in Canyonlands National Park.

Message from the President

Hello VPC Members,

March is here and spring paddling season looms ahead, with, at this time, precious little run-off potential. We can hope for a wet spring. Two successful club sponsored activities took place this winter. Thanks to the Larsens, Ricki Battistoni and Tim Yarrow for hosting potlucks and providing a slide show. We will try again next winter. Also, 6 roll sessions took place at Mt. Abraham H. S. It's a long drive to Bristol, but thanks to those who made the trip.

Tony Shaw has continued to put a lot of time into the club website and paddling schedule. Mark Willett has stepped down as head of instructional clinic, but relax, because Teri Ames has stepped forward and she promises to bring a few of her own ideas with her. Good luck, Teri and thanks to Tony and Mark.

My biggest concern continues to be the lack of participation in club activities. We still have no vice-president, one year after "elections", in a club with 220 people on the mailing list. No one has offered to take on the Bow & Stern in years. We twice asked for trip leaders for the spring schedule (this is a paddling club) and Tony got 2 calls. The last time I helped on Green-Up Day, there were 4 boats. Seventy-five percent of the club doesn't paddle whitewater, but we have no flatwater chair, no schedule and, I assume, no interest. No one can be forced to participate, obviously, but it certainty calls the organization's future health into question.

One result is that expenses have gone up, with the message phone, website, increased mailings, etc. We now pay for services that might have been done by volunteers in years past and we let the club subsidize, to some extent, things like the March meeting and roll sessions. Club members can expect dues to rise in 1998.

We'll have a board meeting in April to discuss this issue (dues), the new club T-shirt, instructional clinic, and other items. If you wish to be notified of this meeting, call me at 899-1865 and I'll contact you when we pick a date.

Eric Bishop



          GENERAL FUND
            MAY 31, 1996 BALANCE                            1204.79
                 DUES                                        287.00
                 INTEREST                                     13.29
                 MAILINGS     NYNEX - BISHOP                (639.89)
                 MAILINGS     SUPPLIES - LARSEN             ( 81.80)
                 MALLETTS BAY BOAT CLUB                     (100.00)
            JANUARY 1, 1997 BALANCE                          664.39
            MAY 31, 1996 BALANCE                            1521.90
                 CANOE SCHOOL                                500.00
                 INTEREST                                     30.00
                 CHURCH RENTAL                               (50.00)
                 SUPPLIES - WILLETT                         (150.00)
                 SUPPLIES - LARSEN                           (25.00)
                 BOOKS - CANCE IMPORTS                      (165.68)
             JANUARY 1, 1997 BALANCE                        1661.22
            TOTAL                                           2345.61
            IBM CREDIT UNION CHECKING ACCOUNT                584.72
            IBM CREDIT UNION POWER ACCOUNT                  1760.89
               TOTAL                                        2345.61

           GENERAL                                SAFETY AND EDUC
            DUES+INTEREST           1300           CANOE SCHOOL NET        100
            MARCH DINNER NET        (150)          INTEREST                 60
            JUNE DINNER NET         (100)          ROLL SESSIONS            40
            EVENTS PHONE            (250)          RACE                   (300)
            LOGO                    (100)
            MAILINGS               (1150)

            $450 DEPLETION OF GENERAL FUND            $100 DEPLETION OF S+E

Telephone Roster March 1997

Fred Abraham
George Agnew
Peter & Susan Alden
Craig & Joan Allen
Richard & Lucille Allen
Randy Allen
Kenneth Almeida
Teri Ames
Ed Amidon & Louise McCarren
Art Anderson
Diana Argento
Stan Baker
Lori Barg
Seth A, Barker
John Barwick
Becky Bates
Ricky Battistoni
Steve & Diann Bean
Tom & Jeanette Berry
Eric Bishop & Barb Frankowski
Susan Blake / Aaron Blake
David Boedy
Whitney Brice
Peter Briggs
Peter Brown
Ann Burcroff
Marvie & Bob Campbell
Paul Carlile & Sue Strang
Jerry & Ginny Carruba
Susan Casavant
David Cawley & Patricia Seelan
Cathy Chamberlain
Carolyn Chambers
Peter Champagne & Michelle So
John Chichester &Kathryn Dani
Chris & Marilyn Clark
Robert W. Colquhoun
Steve Cothalis
Sarah H. Crocker
William & David Crowe
Tim Crowell and Patricia Sabalis
Steve Darrow
Brad Doughtry
Deborah C. Davis
Kim Davis
Meg Davis
James Dawson
Pamela A DeAndrea
Greg DeCell & Jeremy DeCell
Greg Demers
Tom Deranthal & Kathy DeBari
David Diederich
Robert & Melinda Dodds
Jamie Dolan & Tina Scharf
Betsy A. Dowdall
Daniel & Roberta Downey
Gary & Alice Drake
Lar Duggan
Diana & Jim Dunn
Kevin Eaton
Smith & Jan Edwards
Wayne & Kathy Foell
Russell F. Ford
Mitch Fried
Mike Fullerton
Len Gerardi & Lauren Jarvis
Bill Gerlack
Jane Gibbons
Seth Gibson
Dorothea Gifford
Arthur Gillman
Tyler G. Godin
Suzanne Gold & Lowell Stephens
Alfred Goldstrom
Rich & Karen Gomez
Johnathan Grant & Filson Brahe
Peter Grant & Hildgund Schaef
Ev Grimes
David Groaning
Neal Haskell & Pam Farnham
Alec Hastings
Larry Haugh
Roy & Wendy Haupt
Patricia Heffernan
J Haller & B Moskowitz
Jeffery Hendrickx
Jim Higgins
Jody Higgs
Carol Hignite
Brad & Sara Howe
Peter Huber
Chuck Hulse
Robert Hynes
Raymond Ingram
Jon Jamison
Raymond & Lola Johnson
Barry Jones & Frances Romeo
Tom & Erna Jones
Deirdre Joyce
Patty Karl
Torn Kastner & Becky Johnson
Russ Kinaman
John King
Faith Knapp
J. Ladd & Martha Whitney
Bobbie Lambert
Sheri & Rich Larsen
Larry Lewack & Margaret MacD
Robert Lindemann
Kim Locke & Jim Keane
James W.Loewen
Greg Magnant
Ed Malina & Ann Wadsworth
Rick & Heidi Manahan
Teig D Marco
Yvette Mason
Carroll Maxwell
Laura and Richard May
Jack & Chip Mayor
George & Margaret McIntosh
Dick McKinnon
Andrew Meilleur
Mary Metcalf
Jeff Meyers
Jim Morris & Pat Spielman-Morris
Philip Mosenthal
Val Murphy
Georgia Myer
Lynn and Elizabeth Noah
Jim Nolte
Andrew Nuquist
Jane Ogilvie
Kathy Olsen
Megan O'Reilly
Eric E. Palmer
Tim Parsons & Anne Judson
Peter and Katrina Pelkey
Julie Pelot
James Picone
Zander Ponzo
Pike Porter
Thomas Price
Pamela Price
Gregg Punchar
James Pytel
James R. Raboin
George Ray
Patrick & Estelle Ray
Jonathan & Barbara Reichart
Jean E. Reinsborough
Marc Reynolds
Ken Roberts
Maureen Rose
Catherine Rude & Brady Baker
Michael Russom
Merle Schlof
John & Bonnie Schneck
Rick Schneider & Helen Gordon
Richard A. Scholes
Sally Schroeder
John & Julie Schroeder
Nancy Schulz & Anne Ferguson
Bob & Barbara Schumacher
Tony & Joann Shaw
John and Barney Skutel
Clyde & Elizabeth Smith
Matthew Smith
William Smollin
W. Mike Smorgans
Sally Spear & Len Carpenter
Andy & Carlene Squires
Dave Stanley
Caroline Strauss
Carol M. Sullivan
Jeffrey & Tina Swett
Philip Talbot
Frank Talbot & Michaela Ryan
George Terwilliger
Charlie & Marion Thompson
Larry & Patricia Thomson
Jody & Eric Thum
Patrick Travers
Philip Trent
Dick & Kay Trudell
Gary Unger and Family
Neil & Cale Valloncourt
Norman and Nathaniel Vandal
Amy Veilleux
Vicky Viens
Olga Vrana
Thomas Walker & Gale Loveitt
Linda & Henry Wall
Frank Walsh
Jerry Weisman
Linda J. Weiss
Phyllis and Michael Wells
Rod Wentworth & Jo Collemer
Helmut Werner
Allon & Marianne Wildgust
Mark & Krista Willett
M. Heidi Willis
Jefferson Wilson
John N Wolfe & Laurie Berryman
Mark Wolski
Brenda Wright & Fred Kosnitsky
Timothy Yarrow
Thomas W. Yurista
Matt Zecollo
Vicki Zion
If your number is incorrect, or not shown, contact Rich Larsen to update.

The Message Line

The VPC message line has received hot and heavy use since its establishment several years ago. It's best use is the coordination of 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 899-1872.

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.

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 899-1865. You may call him if you are having problems with the line.



I am willing to coordinate an effort to help people advance from novice whitewater paddling to intermediate. I do not propose to run a school, but would offer in April-May to coordinate "group training" along the following possible lines:

  • have one or two land discussion sessions
  • match solo learners with other learners
  • encourage people to come on specific easier trips in April for practice, as part of regular club trips
  • use the Lower Lamoille Wednesday evening trips for practice

I have no idea how this would really work out; it very much depends on having an interested bunch of novices identify themselves, and then we can talk through the real details of how to improve those people's skills.

If you are interested, please call Richard Larsen, 878-6828.


Terri Ames has volunteered to coordinate the introductory clinic this year. Please let Terri know of your willingness to assist. 899-2078


Informal introductory/intermediate class to be held in the evening June 12 (raindate June 13.) Contact Peter Briggs for details. 985-8257


FOR SALE: Topolino K-1. Used, good condition. $325.00 Tom Yurista 388-9750

FOR SALE: Dagger Prophet OC-1. Fully equipped - used little. $450. ($1,000 value) Please call Eric Bishop 899-1865

TRIP PARTNERS WANTED: Father and 13 year old son would like partners for a 4-6 day canoe trip this summer. Destination and timing flexible. Call Richard Allen at 878-3853.

Trip Reports Summer & Fall 1996

LOWER MAD RIVER: June 14, 1996

Participants: K-1: Ricky Battistoni; OC-1: Paul Carlisle, Randy Allen, Andy Meilleur

After two and a half days of rain the river was running nicely. Sun was out as were some bugs. We all ran the waterfall, a few times. Paul and Randy were the only ones to negotiate the dogleg drop, and they did so with little effort. Paul did take a swim here after battling with a roll for a while. And in outstanding form Randy threw a perfect shot at Paul with the throw rope, landing it squarely on top of the canoe and almost in Paul's hand.

Plenty of big waves to surf, although Randy learned to watch out for the rebars as his boat bounced off one, leaving a nice gouge.

-- Ricky Battistoni

HUDSON RIVER GORGE : June 23, 1996

Participants: K-1: Ricky Battistoni; OC-1: Randy Allen, Eric Bishop, Andy Meilleur
Time: 10:30 AM - 5:05 PM
Water: 4.1 feet before bubble

Because of a plentiful water supply, releases continued on the Indian River. There was no surfing wave at the Rafter's Bay put-in, which indicated a lower level than the trip on June 1, and that made the trip down the Indian River more manageable. There were eddies in the middle of the river allowing new sanctuaries. A few drops still had considerable power, including Gooley Steps where I ran the center. Ricky had a swim, which he timed to occur safely after Gooley. Eric made a great painter throw to Ricky from shore to keep the swim short.

We reached the Hudson at 11:30 AM and the Narrows by 1:00 PM. A group of kayakers, including John Wolfe and Fred Schroeder caught up to us after the Narrows. We got to Harris Rift by 3:00 PM where Randy hit on two combat rolls after surfing the wave at the bottom of that section. This was the inaugural trip for Randy's Mad River Outrage.

Ricky had his camera out at Bus Stop where there was a good show. A highlight for me actually occurred off river during the carpool back home, during which Ricky told me a true story of his recent Florida flatwater kayak trip of 30+ miles, involving the Secret Service, a handgun, alligators, direct contact with large spiders, and kayaking after dark. Ask him about it if you are on a long shuttle some time.

-- Andy Meilleur

LA PLATTE RIVER : June 28, 1996

Participants: Greg, Jordan & Jennifer Magnant, Lynn & Elizabeth Noab, Ricky Balfistoni
Weather: Beautiful sunny day

Got on the water at 5:15 PM. Many great blue herons, bullfrogs, and green herons. Yellow and purple iris were out in full glory. We were blocked by a large log jam and chose to return after about a mile and a half. A wonderful pleasant evening.

-- Ricky Battistoni

UPPER LAMOILLE: July 4, 1996

Participants: Dan Noony, Ray Ingram, Mike Smorgans, Andy Meilleur, Randy Allen

Rain the previous night had flooded the river, which had now dropped 2-3 feet and was running about 3 1/2 feet. We ran from East Hardwick to Hardwick, with the river still dropping.

-- Randy Allen


Participants: Becky Yates, Ricky Battistoni, Randy Allen

When we put in the river was at 3 feet, but it was down to 2 1/2 feet by the end of the day, which resulted in a rather long run, though the ledge above the hotel becomes a very playful surfing wave at this level.

I guess we hadn't had enough for the day, so we moved down to the Mad River, which was still running very high. Some open boaters coming off the river had some trouble at the falls so we elected to portage. I did run the chute below and was amazed to get through successfully, and even more amazed to then relax and dump in the flatter water below. By this time it was approaching dark and we were all getting a little drunk on paddling so we finished the run without too much more play. Ricky has some great photos of us on the river at this level.

-- Randy Allen

INDIAN BROOK RESERVOIR AND BURGERS : July 11 and August 22, 1996

In 1996 we had two very nice evenings for the sedate Indian Brook Reservoir paddling trips, each time followed by a potluck and hamburgers cookout. The general schedule each time was to meet at the lake around 5:30 or so, paddle around for an hour more or less, and then drive to our home in Essex for the cookout. Each time we had 6 or 7 watercraft, with kayaks and canoes of various descriptions. Some people came just for the dinner, so there were 15-20 people at each. Old members, new members, and non-members attended, and afterwards I always have incomplete lists of attendees.

At the first dinner we had Rich and Sheri Larsen, Karen, Tom and 2 young Furlands, George and Margaret McIntosh, Peter Briggs, Andy and Corinne Meilleur, Eric Bishop and Barb Frankowski, Tony and Joanne and 2 young Sbaws, plus a few others.

At the second dinner the people were Rich and Sheri Larsen, Eric Bishop and Barb Frankowski, Diana Argento, Ruel Elliott and 2 friends, Lynn and Elizabeth Noah, Carol Highnite, Tom and Karen and 2 young, Furlands, and Cathy Chamberlain and friend Mary, maybe more. One of these days I'll keep better records.

-- Rich Larsen

UPPER WHITE RIVER : July 26, 1996

Participants: K-1: Ricky Battistoni; C-1: Peter Briggs; OC-1: Andy Meilleur, Randy Allen
Time: 2 PM to 6 PM

The water level was wonderful, topping many of the spring runs here. We all wore ourselves out playing in a few sizeable waves -- Peter and I each taking a swim. Peter being a better swimmer managed to get out in a nearby eddy, while I swam for a few hundred yards. Aren't the open boaters the guys who should be swimming?

-- Ricky Battistoni

LOWER LAMOILLE : July 27, 1996

Participants: OC-2: Pat & Estelle Ray; K-1: Gail & Thomas Walker, Bryan Unger, George McIntosh, Ricky Battistoni; C-1: Peter Briggs
Time: 10:30 AM to 2 PM

1 foot at the bridge. Beautiful day with warm water and good company. I have never seen this section played so much (but I have only been in the club one year.) Bryan found a nice side- surfing wave -- which rolled him over and when he came up the hole still had him. After a little work he came free. After seeing that, a few of us went in to play as well.

All five chutes were runnable this day (I ran all five) with a nice wave above the center chute and a few below to play in. Peter perfected his C-1 roll here, almost out of necessity. A fabulous time had by all.

-- Ricky Battistoni

SACANDAGA RIVER : August 16, 1996

Participants: K-1: Becky Bates, Ricky Battistoni

Spent most of out time on a great wave at the beginning of the run. For this stretch, that was a lot of water they released. And a lot more fun than Becky and I expected. I would also like to make a public apology to Becky, who waited while I was lost ... Thanks.

-- Ricky Battistoni


Participants: OC-1: Randy Ailen; K-1: Becky Bates, Ricky Baffisioni

All three of us were fairly green on this stretch, so the abundance of warning signs and cautions in guidebooks left us a little tentative. All that concern seemed to disappear as we made our way onto the first surfing wave. Everyone played hard and each of us swam at one point or another. We all ran the right ledge drop.

We did notice the water level increase but nothing as scary as the notices...A great time was had by all.

-- Ricky Battistoni

WEST RIVER FALL RELEASE : September 21-22, 1996

Participants: K-1: Ricky Battistoni; OC-1: Randy Allen, Andy Meilleur, John Shroeder

Saturday. 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

This year the shuttle rates were raised to $10 per day or $5 per shuttle, but 4 shuttle teams made the operation efficient so the wait was shorter than getting onion rings at the food concession. It wasn't long before we found Tony Shaw and Mike Fullerton, who completed a trip through the lower section with us at the end. This was John's first time on the West, where he ran well at the Dumplings, almost catching the eddy behind the first rock, but gave up too soon and got swept through the middle of Pop Up Hole without incident. John's inexperience at the Campbell's potluck, however, did result in his missing out on the apple crisp.

Sunday. 10:15 AM to 2:30 PM

Ricky and I went with the main group for one run on the Upper West before breaking away to run the lower section just after the Dumplings. It was then that I got into a predicament while trying to run a narrow chute Mike had showed us the day before. I made the wrong approach, and because of indecision I became pinned at the top of the chute like a bridge over troubled water. Ricky was able to paddle over to me, get out of his kayak, and pull the stern of my boat to break the pin and allow me through the chute without further incident. I came to fully appreciate the benefits of canoeing with a partner.

-- Andy Meilleur

WINHALL RIVER : October 20, 1996

Participants: OC-1: Tony Shaw; K-1: Ricky Battistoni

Perhaps our first trip based on information directly off the WWWeb ... We saw two rain cells moving across southern Vermont, and that information, coupled with Tony's knowledge of how rivers would react and how quickly, led us to a great water level on the Windhall.

Forty degrees, cloudy, and Tony forgot his wetsuit. He gave it a go anyway, and it was worth it. The water seemed to stay a constant Class III for the full six miles, with a few of the drops demanding our full attention. We both carried Londonderry Rapids and were battling darkness by that point.

We then had to run the shuttle, which involved mountain biking back to the car in waning daylight. A delightful outing.

-- Ricky Battistoni

BLACK RIVER and WHITE RIVER : October 23, 1996

Participants: Andy Meilleur, Randy Allen

The Black was running at 2 feet after a weekend storm, a nice playful level. Great rock formations and sculpting. We finished the day by running the White River above Bethel. This river was higher and we cruised down through in a little over two hours.

-- Randy Allen

LOWER LAMOILLE RIVER : October 24, 1996

Participants: K-1: Dave Groening, James Raboin; OC-1: Andy Meilleur
Time: 3:30 to 5:30 PM
Water: 2.5 feet at Fairfax Bridge

It was great to discover this stretch of river at this level. I normally pick other rivers only because I have run this section so many times. What follows is a brief description of river features at different levels for those who are unfamiliar and are looking for a great river to have fun and practice skills. The readings are taken from a painted gauge at the Fairfax Bridge.

.5 ft. - 1 ft. Runnable but scratchy in spots. No push in the current and few play spots. 1 to 3 of the chutes will be too low to run at Five Chutes. Class I.

1 ft. - 2 ft. Great introductory level with many play spots for bow and side surfing. At 2ft. all five chutes are open. Class II.

2 ft. - 4 ft. Many features start to wash out but some still like the river at this level. Some of the chutes at Five Chutes have joined together. Class III.

5 ft.+ Ask Ray Ingram or Rich Larsen.

-- Andy Meilleur

HUDSON GORGE : October 26, 1996

Participants: K-1: Larry Estill; OC-1: Randy Allen, Mike Fullerton, Andy Meilleur
Time: 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Water: 3.8 feet. No bubble.

It was early morning and I was driving to our predetermined meeting place where I would join Randy and Mike. The sun was rising to my left and a full moon was setting over the Adirondack Mountains to my right. The day started to look less than perfect, however, when 1/3 of our group did not show up. Because we had a minimum sized group we discussed alternative activities to running the gorge, which ranged from hiking to doing chores at home.

We regained our enthusiasm upon the sight of the needed third boat, which was simply late. This turned out to be a needless worry as we were later joined by Larry, who was hustling to get into a group at the takeout. There was no release on the Indian River so the main challenge was making it to the Hudson without having to get out of the boat.

The sun was blinding us on our way to the Narrows but the rapids were Class II or less at this level. After the Narrows the river was split by the contrast in light. The rapids here were Class II and III. Because there was no release on the Indian and the Hudson was between 3.5 and 4 feet, the Hudson Gorge became accessible this day to boaters wanting to avoid Class IV water.

-- Andy Meilleur


Participants: OC-1: Randy Allen, Paul Carlisle, Tony Shaw

At a medium level of 2 feet, the upper gorge was lower and the lower gorge higher than my previous descents here - with Eric. Consequently, the drops on the upper were just hairy - not ferocious. Then below we played a good deal, as a choice of routes opened up which were non-existent last April. Paul and Randy shot the "big" drop in Belvidere Center without breaking a sweat while I watched from Route 108. Only Paul attempted "the slide" at the second covered bridge, which after much fanfare and readying of throw ropes was (for the onlookers, at least) anti-climactic. Next time, maybe I'll try it.

-- Tony Shaw


Participants: K-1: Ricky Battistoni; OCA: Randy Allen, Andy Meilleur, Tony Shaw.

This trip was a fitting finish to a paddling year, which started for me January 18, on the Upper Browns in Underhill - with Eric. In between I managed to paddle in every month of 1996. Today the Lower Browns was medium, making its Class I and II stretches playful. Randy ran the dam in Westford, a novelty, zigging and zagging through the slot on river right, and making it look easy. Ricky took pictures here, at the two ledge drops farther down, and then at Five Chutes on the Lamoille. It was a cold but bearable trip spanning three hours or so.

-- Tony Shaw

LOWER MAD RIVER : December 29, 1996

Participants: Andy Meilleur, Randy Allen.

With the river at a medium/low level (rocks and rebar showing on island above iron bridge) and temperature in the 40s, we were feeling rather balmy and confident, and didn't hold back much -- which is why Andy took one of his rare swims, and I also at the falls. Thank God for paddling partners and throw ropes.

We also looked over Moretown Gorge, but with temperatures failing (and also darkness) we called it a day.

-- Randy Allen

Trip Schedule - spring 1997

WW = whitewater /// FW = flatwater /// message phone: 899-1872 PIN 95 /// see schedule notes(below)

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  • 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, 899-1872 PIN 95.
  • 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.
  • Volunteers for the Fiddlehead Slalom Race 5/3 and/or 5/4 are needed. Volunteers are welcome to run gates on Saturday. Call Ray Ingram to lend a hand (879-4286).
  • Be your own boss April 1-4 (Tues-Fri) touring New England for prime int/adv WW with Tony Shaw (879-1655).
  • Insatiable paddler (aka Andy Meilleur) seeks any number of same for weekday outings on local rivers 4/9, 4/10, 4/15, 4/24, 4/29, and 5/8. Call 878-3008 to enlist.
  • Wednesday evening trips on the Lower Lamoille are planned for 4/23, 4/30, 5/7, and 5/14. Contact Rich Larsen (878-6828).
  • Flatwater Canoeing Clinic with Peter Briggs Thursday June 12 @ 6 PM. Call 985-3084. Space limited. Raindate Fri. 6/13.
  • Fish Creek NY (remote class III) is on a shoestring for the May weekend when runoff is prime. Give Eric Bishop notice in advance (899-1865) if you're tempted to go, and he'll take care of the rest.
  • Randy Allen's the guy to keep you company on the Mad R. or Winooski R. where they're steepest. Call him any time they're up, 223-3771.
  • Paddling southern Vt rivers is a favorite April pastime of Bob and Marvie Campbell (875-2235). Interested parties should inquire and tag along.
  • Mike Russom might coordinate additional Adirondack wilderness overnights (Cedar R., Raquette R., etc) if folks are interested. Call Mike at 985-9383.
  • Mark Willett (654-8042) can sneak off to run the Huntington (Int WW) when it rains - and yearns to do so. Inquiries welcome.
  • Online members, find the VPC website (indexed by Yahoo, Excite, Web Crawler, etc.) and take advantage of the message'board, slide sbow, real time river stage forecasts, freeware, and paddling links worldwide.
  • The AROUND VERMONT IN 30 RIVERS promotion is underway!!! See the VPC web site for details or ask a VPC officer how you can get started.

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 (

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