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Bow and Stern - June 1, 2000

Bow and Stern -- June 2000

Bow and Stern

June 2000

The Official Newsletter of the Vermont Paddlers Club
in partnership with the American Canoe Association

Volume ? + 2, no. 2

> >

Editorial Page

So here we are in the summer of a new year, one that has been graced (or cursed, depending) with quite a lot of water. I can't say I've benefited from it much, having been laid up with an injured ligament, but judging from the volume of trip reports I've received, there's been a lot of paddling going on.
The one thing I'd like to see more of is the sun! So a vacation sounds like a good idea. Too bad I picked Ireland!

Our next paddling clinic is about to get under way (or already has by the time you receive this) and for the first time we have ACA certified instruction. It looks like the club is experiencing a revival. Let's just hope that creaky old Waterbury dam doesn't decide to collapse and unleash its 30 foot wall of water while the clinic is going on! The clinic has not been real successful the last couple years and I, remembering the good ol' days of six groups of three boats with two instructor boats per group (freezing our tails off on the Mad) hope that it takes off again. A lot of new members came out of those clinics.

Here's an apology for a sort of dull looking issue. I've been real busy at work and didn't get a chance to collect any good photos. Here's a request to all who take pictures on the river. Scan a few (see Tony) and have them sent my way. The newsletter looks a lot better with some pictures here and there.

Let's also look for any other interesting material for this publication. I don't guarantee I can use everything I get, but I can't use what I don't get.


Who's Who in the VPC

who's who in the VPC


Directors: Appointed/Volunteers:
  • Paddling School: open
  • Safety Chair: John Wolfe 244-8673
  • Bow & Stern Editor: Mike Fullerton 456-8701
  • Publicity Chair: Randy Mead 849-2367
  • Conservation Activities: open
  • Message Phone: 899-1872
  • Website:
  • National Weather Service: 862-2475

A Note from the President

The Phoenicians believed that a day spent on the water did not count against one's lifetime allotment. If so, a few more years like 2000 and some VPC'ers can begin looking forward to the 22nd century (and even paddling in it!).

Late season snows and incessant rains through April and May left us 6 inches ahead of normal annual precipitation as of June 1. Non-paddlers were disgusted...while people like Faith Knapp were still leading trips on the White River from Stockbridge! I had a blast endeavoring to raise my paddling to the next level this spring (and I have the holes in my boat to prove it!).

Optimal conditions prevailed on VPC staple rivers like the Huntington, Mad, Black, White, Winooski, Lamoille, Moose, Hudson (NY), and Ammonoosuc (NH), and several descents were made on rivers seldom if ever run by the VPC (Lewis Creek, Jail Branch, Battenkill, N. Br. Winooski, W. Br. Ausable, among others). Thanks go to all those who organized these trips, and those who have documented their adventures in the pages which follow.

Publicity chair Randy Mead has done a stellar job making the club and its activities more visible in the community, and in response we have many new members among the fold. Included among them are several teenagers, all eagerly and systematically advancing their skills. I hope you'll take the time to greet and welcome new VPC members you meet, whether at the picnic today or on one of several upcoming summer/fall trips.

Thanks to all members whose time and energy has helped make the novice whitewater clinic a success, but especially to Ricky Battistoni, Eric Bishop, Faith Knapp, and John Wolfe.

I've had almost no feedback from members on the ACA Paddle America liaison undertaken in May, except that most folks notice the ...l...o...n...g... delay in receiving their member cards and confirmation. Expect this to take a month, at minimum. There are some new expectations for trip organizers and surely it will take a while to adjust to the new routine. Before spring 2001 we will have to have a forum (or two) for trip organizers to help clarify the initiative and the explicit expectations for trip organizers. As always, the VPC leadership will welcome any and all willing paddlers into their elite echelon. Preferred experience would include how to use a phone, fold letters, or lick stamps. At a minimum, please be sure Rich Larsen ( has your email address, which saves on all of the above.

Here's to making 2000 another great year to paddle!

Sales of the (not quite) new Century!!

Boats For Sale:

	Riot Hammer, yellow, $400.00
	Prijon Rockit, blue, $300.00
	Perception Pirouette S, white, $300.00
	Perception Supersport, tangerine, $300.00

	Tom Yurista
	Phone: 802-388-9750, please leave a message if I'm not home.

FOR SALE : MOHAWK XL-13 plastic L 13'3" W 32.5" $275 Andy Meilleur 878-3008

(Warning: That Mohawk has a tendency to face upstream!! -ed.)
Buy/Sell gear online!! Visit the VPC message board, where all kinds of boats and gear change hands (

Summer/Fall Trips Schedule

new line


new line

  1. ww = whitewater // FW = flatwater // Vt area code: 802 //message phone: 899-1872
  2. nov = max Class II, int = max Class III, adv = max Class IV, exp = Class IV+ See Intl River Rating Scale
  3. Contact the trip organizer for information about each trip.
  4. Listed trips may be changed or canceled as water, weather, or interest dictates.
  5. Plans for impromptu trips can be relayed thru the trip organizer ,message phone, or online.
  6. Please give 1-2 weeks notice for overnight trips to have a say in pre-planning.
  7. Car-pooling on long (and short) trips is encouraged!
  8. The AROUND VERMONT IN 30 RIVERS promotion is underway!!!
  9. Winter pool sessions continue through 3/00 (space lim., fee charged). Call 879-1655 (Tony Shaw) or online.

Danger exists for participants in canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and other activities organized or advertised by the Vermont Paddlers Club. Such participation may result in illness or injury due to accidents, the forces of nature, or other causes not foreseeable. Such illness and injury may include disease, strains, sprains, fractures, dislocations, paralysis, and/or death. Possible injuries may cause serious and permanent disability.

By your participation in any Vermont Paddlers Club activity you knowingly assume the risks arising out of that activity. In so doing you release, hold harmless and indemnify the Vermont Paddlers Club and its agents, officers and employees from any and all claims and suits for bodily injury, property damage, wrongful death, loss of services or otherwise which may arise out of your participation in canoeing, kayaking, tubing and other activities, whether or not such claims or suits arise from negligent acts or omissions by the organizers and conductors of this activity, their employees or volunteers, another participant, any other person or from any other cause.

NH AMC Paddlers Trips Schedule

To increase paddling options for our members and foster cooperation with the NH AMC Paddlers, we have begun sharing our trips schedule with them, and vice versa. NH AMC runs trips on many rivers that we seldom paddle.

From the archives...Randy Allen, on his 'favorite river in the state' (North Branch of the Lamoille, 4/20/1999)

Dam Release Schedules around New England

Deerfield Dryway (MA) Release Schedule 2000*

Call 1-888-FLO-FONE (1-888-356-3663) for schedule changes


*Proposed releases are subject to change without notice, due to current availability of water and anticipated weather/water conditions.
  • Friday releases are 4 hours beginning 11 a.m.
  • Saturday releases are 5 hours beginning 10 a.m.
  • Sunday releases are 4 hours beginning 10 a.m.
May June July August Sept. Oct.
Sat. 27 Sat. 3 Sun. 2 Sat. 5 Fri. 1 Sat. 7
Sun. 28 Sun. 4 Fri. 14 Sun. 6 Sat. 2 Sun. 8
Sun. 11 Sat. 15 Sat. 12 Sun. 10
Fri. 16 Sat. 22 Sun. 13 Sat. 23
Sat. 17 Sun. 23 Fri. 18 Sun. 24
Sat. 24 Fri. 28 Sat. 19
Fri. 30 Sat. 29+ Sat. 26
Sun. 30 Sun. 27
+Deerfield River Festival, Sat. July 29

Deerfield Fife Brook/Zoar Gap (MA) Release Schedule 2000*


Call 1-888-FLO-FONE (1-888-356-3663) for schedule changes
*Proposed releases are subject to change without notice, due to current availability of water and anticipated weather/water conditions.
Releases start between 9:30 a.m. and 12 noon. Minimum flow 700 cfs.
April May June July August Sept. October
Sat. 8 Sat. 6 Thu. 8 Sat. 1 Thu. 3 Fri. 1 Wed. 4
Sun. 9 Sun. 7 Fri. 9 Sun. 2 Fri. 4 Sat. 2 Thu. 5
Wed. 12 Thu. 11 Sat. 10 Wed. 5 Sat. 5 Sun. 3 Fri. 6
Thu. 13 Sat. 13 Sun. 11 Thu. 6 Sun. 6 Wed. 6 Sat. 7
Fri. 14 Sun. 14 Sat. 17 Fri. 7 Thu. 10 Thu. 7 Sun. 8
Sat. 15 Wed. 17 Sun. 18 Sat. 8 Fri. 11 Fri. 8 Wed. 11
Sun. 16 Thu. 18 Wed. 21 Sun. 9 Sat. 12 Sat. 9 Thu. 12
Wed. 19 Fri. 19 Thu. 22 Sat. 15 Sun. 13 Sun. 10 Fri. 13
Thu. 20 Sat. 20 Fri. 23 Sun. 16 Thu. 17 Wed. 13 Sat. 14
Fri. 21 Sun. 21 Sat. 24 Wed. 19 Fri. 18 Thu. 14 Sun. 15
Sat. 22 Thu. 25 Sun. 25 Thu. 20 Sat. 19 Fri. 15 Wed. 18
Sun. 23 Fri. 26 Wed. 28 Fri. 21 Sun. 20 Sat. 16 Thu. 19
Wed. 26 Sat. 27 Sat. 22 Thu. 24 Sun. 17 Fri. 20
Thu. 27 Sun. 28 Sun. 23 Fri. 25 Sat. 21
Fri. 28 Wed. 26 Sat. 26 Sun. 22
Thu. 27 Sun. 27
Fri. 28 Wed. 30
Sat. 29+ Thu. 31
Sun. 30

Dead River (ME) Release Schedule 2000*

In cubic feet per second /// source:

*Proposed releases are subject to change without notice, due to current availability of water and anticipated weather/water conditions.
7000 cfs | 5500 cfs | 3500 cfs | 2400 cfs | 1800 cfs | 1300 cfs
May June July August September October
Sat. 6 Sat. 3 Sat. 1 Sat. 5 Sat. 2 Sat. 7
Sat. 13 Sat. 10 Sun. 2 Sun. 6 Sun. 3
Sat. 27 Sat. 17 Mon. 3 Sat. 12 Mon. 4
Sun. 28 Sat. 24 Tue. 4 Sun. 13 Sat. 16
Mon. 29 Sun. 25 Wed. 5
Fri. 30 Sat. 15
Sun. 16
text version here

Entrance fee will remain $3. Please note that starting this year, because of installation of a stream gauge on Spencer Stream we will be releasing water from Long Falls dam as necessary to provide the above flows as minimum values directly below the confluence with Spencer Stream. Also this year we are pleased to provide the 1300 cfs flows on June 30 through July 5 in support of The Maine Canoe and Kayak Racing Organization's (MCKRO) hosting of the 2000 White Water Open Canoe National Championships on the Lower Dead River. Best of luck to all the contestants!

Kennebec River releases are scheduled each day of the week, at least 10 am to 12 noon. Call 1-800-557-FLOW. Entrance fee is $1 per person per run. Kennebec Turbine Test (8000 cfs!!) Mon. July 10, 2000

Androscoggin River (NH) 2000 - Pontook Dam Release Schedule

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

1 350 CFS for 24 hours*
2 500 CFS 9am 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 rate 1 applies to times, days, and months not noted on this schedule

Release info. for the Indian/Hudson (NY) is available: (518)648-5303

Summer 2000 Whitewater Injury Survey

We are a Family Physician, and a Physical Therapist interested in whitewater paddling injuries. We're both members of the Washington Kayak Club, and active paddlers here in Washington State.

We are asking the WKC and the whitewater community to participate in developing good data on paddle injuries. We have found relatively little information on injuries in whitewater paddlers. The AWA keeps information on deaths or near death accidents.

There is especially little information on chronic overuse injuries in paddlers.

For several reasons injury patterns may be changing. Here's a few:

  • The sport is growing quickly, and novices are advancing more quickly than in the past.
  • Harder runs are being run more often, and by more people.
  • Creek boating.
  • Kayak design and play boat mania. Boats are smaller; and smaller boats are used on more rivers.

Our goals for this survey are:

  • Evaluate the type of boating done by respondents.
  • Evaluate acute and chronic injuries by area and severity.
  • Compare injury rates/ severity by age, sex, boat type, experience, and difficulty of river run.
  • Evaluate the incidence of giardia .
  • Evaluate the use of face guards, and bent shaft paddles.

What other questions could be studied? We're sure we all could come up with some.

The survey is meant for whitewater kayakers, C-1, C-2, and open canoe. It is not meant for those who paddle only flat water, rafts, or inflatable kayaks. The more people willing to do the survey, the better the data. We will do our very best to keep it simple, and to keep it confidential! Personal contact information will be protected; but it would be nice to be able to call for further details if needed. The survey should take 10-15 minutes of your time.

It may be filed on line at our web site:, or the survey may be printed and mailed back. The info will not be kept at the web server, but e-mailed to us! We would hope to have copies of the survey at local Washington races, and events, at river take outs, and perhaps at retail stores. We plan to collect the initial survey data over the summer, 2000. We believe it would be of use to all of us, and to medical personnel.

Results of the initial survey could be published in the WKC bulletin and web site.

Future surveys could look at the incidence of giardia, illnesses, and travel related problems of paddlers. We may want to establish an ongoing injury registry. For more details, please check our web site or contact one of us. And thanks for your time.

Support Paddle Injury Research!
Rick Schoen // Mike Stano
253-549-4147 // 425-369-0664 //

News and Such

River Leader Workshop -- By Peter Downey

On April 16, 2000 Tony Shaw and Peter Downey attended an AMC River Leader Workshop at the home of Faith Knapp in Norwich, VT. Faith, who led the discussion is also a member of the VPC, had invited VPC trip leaders to the meeting to share ideas and discuss leadership issues. The meeting was held after a trip on the lower White River and included a delicious pot luck supper. The goals of the meeting were to share information from the experienced trip leaders, leaders in training, and potential trip leaders.

The AMC in general has a more formal structure for its trips with every trip having a rated leader and co-leader. The workshop included a discussion of overall roles and responsibilities of the trip leader, arranging the trip, organization at the river, on the river issues, and after the trip reporting. I found the meeting very informative; it was interesting to see that on many issues there was a lot of disagreement especially dealing with screening people for trips.One of the pointed questions that was asked was why the trip leaders did this when there was so much work involved. The general consensus was that we wanted to give back to the community; share something we enjoyed doing with others; having friends to paddle with; and, of course, to encourage others to become trip leaders so that we might go on their trips. The VPC someday may want to also engage in such a meeting.

Real-time Funding Drought

"Funding for the Lake Champlain monitoring program has been reduced to a point where the U.S. Geological Survey is unable to continue to operate all of the gages." This WWW notice was brought to my attention by Chris Weed in June, and it goes on to say: "If you are interested in continuing these gages and would like to contribute funding to re-establish operations, please email us at or call (518) 285-5665." The ACA ACTION NET is making an effort to mobilize its paddling constituency to fight this sad trend, and Vermont Senator Jeffords among others is getting the message. Visit ACA ACTION NET ( to make your voice heard.

VPC Site Upgrades

Traffic on the VPC website steadily increases, with almost 1000 hits per month during the spring. The latest addition to the VPC website is a place to post and read trip reports ( You will need a contemporary browser (NN3, MSIE4, AOL4, or later) to play. These reports will be included automatically in a forthcoming Bow and Stern. Let me be the first to encourage you to begin submitting trip reports in this way. As more and more trippers do so, access to these recently published reports will enhance awareness of changeable river conditions and heighten safety on subsequent outings.

Sister Clubs Go Online

The Champlain Kayak Club and the New Hampshire AMC Paddlers recently launched their respective home pages. Both promise to provide a wealth of information and entertainment to the New England paddling community. Logon to (CKC) or (NH AMC PADDLERS) and check 'em out!

Important Note!

In Re; Matter of Application for     )
Relicensing of Waterbury           )              FERC Project No. 2090-003
Hydroelectric Project            )

Pursuant to Rule 214 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission), 18 C.F.R. 385.214, The Vermont Paddlers Club (Club) hereby moves to intervene in the application for relicensing.

The Vermont Paddlers Club will submit comments and recommendations upon the FERCs notice that the license application is ready for environmental analysis.

Statement of Interest

The Vermont Paddlers Club is a local non-profit organization with over 200 members who engage in whitewater paddling. The Vermont Paddlers Club maintains an interest in conserving and restoring whitewater paddling resources and creating opportunities for their safe recreational use. The Waterbury Project offers these recreational opportunities for our members, most of whom live very near to this hydroelectric project. For this reason the Vermont Paddlers Club requests intervener status in this license proceeding.

Respectfully submitted April 13, 2000
Randy Mead, Executive Committee Member
The Vermont Paddlers Club
P.O. Box 184
Fairfax, Vermont 05454=0184
(802) 849-2367
N.B: Any club member(s) with an interest in helping to shape Little River accessibility as a paddling resource should contact Randy Mead ASAP. This is a great opportunity for VPCers at-large to do something worthwhile for present AND future generations of paddlers!

Trip Reports - March-June 2000

Lower Lamoille: Sunday March 26

Leader: Randy Mead
Participants: (K1): Randy Mead, Wendy Blay, Paul Kempner, Chris Weed; (OC1): Peter Downey; (C1): Ray Ingram
Weather: Air: 45 deg. Water: ~36 deg.
Water: USGS = 3350 cfs (medium)

This was a typical Lower Lamoille trip. We had plenty of water for surfing and playing, but as it was rather chilly, we played conservatively. We ran into three other paddlers well known on the river. The quote of the day was from Ray who said: "Old bones don't like cold water!"
-- Randy Mead

Lewis Creek: Saturday April 8

Leader: Tony Shaw
Participants: (K1): Ricky Battistoni; (OC1): Eric Bishop, Tony Shaw
Water: medium

This Sunday trip was moved to Saturday at the last minute on account of inclement weather in the Sunday forecast. It turned out inclement, AND HOW! Water from Sunday's blizzard was still making its way into rivers a week later (see below). Saturday, in contrast, was balmy and glorious. With 3 capable paddlers in the group we chose to start higher than usual (at the next farm road bridge above the 1st covered bridge) and finish further down (below the Rt. 7 overpass). Ricky brought along his HandyCam so we have proof we ran all the big drops, including the concrete dam (river right) and the double drop in Ferrisburgh (river left). Only the steep embankment at the put-in gave anyone (me) trouble! By and large, though, Lewis Creek is a dandy little class I-II stream in a remote valley with lots of wildlife, made even nicer this day by warm sunshine.

Regrettably, only one of the many folks who inquired about the trip was free to go Saturday instead. I called to invite Eric late Friday night, knowing he would be interested. He and Ricky are now both one river closer to their 'Around Vermont in 30 Rivers' awards.
-- Tony Shaw

North Br. of the Lamoille: Saturday April 15

Leader: Randy Allen
Participants: (K1): Chris Weed, Jesse Bushey, Jamie Dolan; (OC1): Tom Jones, Tony Shaw, Fred Glanzburg, Kevin Eaton, Mike Smorgans, Randy Allen
Water: medium

Sunshine, warm winds, temps in the 60's and snowmelt from a local storm all conspired for optimum levels and a great day of paddling. All that on a scheduled trip! We put in at the covered bridge on Back Road (water level 2') and several people ran the slide and ledge drops to the left. Tony was particularly pleased with his successful run of the slide. By the time we reached the gorge the water had risen to nearly 3 feet. This was a new river for 6 members but everyone was paddling admirably. We did encounter two new strainers and were able to remove one. Because of the level, we opted not to continue to Waterville. Chris, Tony & I couldn't resist the great (rising) level and decided to do the upper section. One would think all the bogs of Canada were at the put in. This deep, beautiful meandering brook of oxbows and alders gradually gains gradient and speed to become a challenging class III run among the boulders and ledges.

One boater got endered at a 4 drop and had to bail out and swim some distance, but made it to shore but his paddle wound up in a nasty river wide strainer some 50 yards further down. (we retrieved it). The strainer is in sight of the first house you come to on the right in Belvedere. We completed the run as darkness set in, electing not to attempt the class IV ledge drop right beside the road.

This is my favorite river in the state for continuous class III+ whitewater. If you haven't paddled it, check it out!
-- Randy Allen

Tweed River: Saturday April 15

Leader: Eric Bishop
Participants: (K1): Dave Boedy; (OC1): Eric Bishop, Peter Downey, Andy Meilleur
Water: medium low

We added a few miles of the Tweed River onto Rich Larsen's White R. trip on this lovely spring day. We put in just upstream from Pittsfield and paddled easy water through pretty countryside to the confluence with the White. Just upstream of the junction was the only true whitewater, a class III shute that was run without any trouble. One could start higher up with more water, but my guess is it isn't worth it.
-- Eric Bishop

White & Tweed Rivers: Saturday April 15

Leader: Rich & Sheri Larsen
Participants: (K1): Dave Boedy, Lori Barg, Gary Hafer, George McIntosh, Matt Stacey; (OC1): Rich Larsen, Sheri Larsen, Eric Bishop, Andy Meilleur, Peter Downey; (OC2): John King & George Agnew
Water: USGS = 3400 cfs (medium low)

We had an excellent day with clear sky and highs in the 70's. Burlington tied a record at 77! The water was medium low, not as high as normal for the date. The gauge below W. Hartfort confirmed this showing 3400 cfs as opposed to the usual 4000.We had a total of 11 boats and split into two groups as some wanted to paddle the Tweed. Eric Bishop, Andy Meilleur, Peter Downey and Dave Boedy put in south of Pittsford adding another hour to the trip. Rich Larsen , Sheri Larsen, Lori Barg, Gary Hafer, George McIntosh, Matt Stacey, John King and George Agnew put in at the usual spot. The only excitement was watching a beaver surf through one set of rapids and watching gear get blown into the river at the lunch spot!
-- Rich Larsen

Lower New Haven: Sunday April 16

Leader: Jamie Dolan
Participants: (K1): David Hill, Joe Bromka, Megan O'Rielly; (OC1): Tom Jones
Water: medium

The first swim occurred before anyone even entered a boat! Would be participant Tina Scharf, scouting the river, slipped on a rock and fell hard. This ended her paddling before it started. The water level was real fine and all boaters took advantage of it to play frequently. One other swim occurred with no consequence. The only strainer was just above the confluence of the New Haven with Baldwin Creek. Tom and Jamie took out just above the mill while the rest ran the rapids behind the mill. Another good day on the New Haven.
-- Jamie Dolan

North Br. of the Winooski: Saturday April 22

Leader: Eric Bishop
Participants: (OC1): Eric Bishop, Tony Shaw, Randy Allen
Water: medium

On this spring day it was snowing when we put in from Rte 12 near the Worcester/Elmore town lines, north of Worcester. Words would hardly do this short stretch ( 2 miles or so) of class IV pool-drop paddling justice. We did not finish the run as it took over 2 hours to go about 11/2 miles, over about 10 drops ranging from 3' to around 20'. We did not attempt the 20' , nor another three part drop of about the same size, but we felt they were both runnable in open boats with the proper group and courage. If you like tiny rivers with waterfalls, the North Br. Winooski is for you.
-- Eric Bishop

Upper Lamoille: Sunday April 23

Leader: Andy Meilleur
Participants: (K1): Georgia Myer, Ryan Moore, Jeff Fletterick; (OC1): Randy Allen, Andy Meilleur
Water: riverside = 3.5 ft. (medium)

It was overcast and rainy with the water and air temperature combined barely 80. The river was at 3-1/2 feet. Three members were new to this trip but there were no mishaps and everyone was exhilerated by the water. We spent 2 1/2 hours playing from East Hardwick to Hardwick!
-- Andy Meilleur

Lower Mad River: Sunday April 30

Leader: Randy Allen
Participants: (K1): Steve Lawson; (OC1): Andy Meiller, Eric Bishop, Tom Jones, Randy Allen
Water: riverside = 4.75 ft. (medium)

The Moose was scheduled but because of low water we moved to the lower Mad which was running at 4-3/4. The Mad is always a good standby and this time we spent a little under three hours playing on it.
-- Randy Allen

Contoocook River (NH): Sunday May 7

Leader: Tom Jones
Participants: (K1): Becky Bates, Roger; (OC1): Tom Jones
Water: riverside = 6.7 ft.; USGS = 6.7 ft. (medium low)

Becky Bates, Tom Jones and Roger from the Merrimack Valley Paddlers put on the Contoocook above S Turn Rapids in a large slow moving pool. A friendly place to practice rolls and to loosen up for the fun to come.

The day was warm, 80 degrees, and sunny. The river level was 6.7', a good level for play and a great level for an introduction to this big water river. Ray Gabler lists this level as low, but do not be fooled. There is plenty of action in Freight Train rapids at this level and S Turn is fun. I would call the run Class III. Most of the rapids are easy to read on the fly. Some boaters may want to scout Freight Train to pick out the most interesting or safest routes.

The run starts with some mellow surfs and easy Class II rapids. No big deal although I took it too easy and found myself swimming. After that I woke up and paddled with authority. As the action picked up there were lots of pour-overs for surfing and some submerged rocks waiting to dump the inattentive. S Turn has many possible routes at this level. Catch the eddies and surfs, scout, and position your boat for a clean run. Near the bottom of S Turn is an island on the right. You can run right or left. We chose to run left because it was easier to scout on the fly. At the bottom of S Turn is a large eddy and the gage is on river right.

Our MVPC friend left the river at the quiet water just before Freight Train. Time to catch your breath and to let the timid head for their cars. The entrance to Freight Train is mellow with many places to eddy and scout. The classic move is to make the first eddy on the right in the fast moving part of the rapid. It is small and is guarded by a strong eddy line, but has a nice rooster tail to help you over and in. I could not hold position in the eddy, but not to worry, I found some friendly surfing room just beyond it. Time to look around and quickly plan the next move. I needed to make the next move a good one because several three plus foot drops with stopper waves and heavy volume were waiting for me. A real blast.

Hope we can entice a few more VPC members to try the Contoocook. It is only an hour from Lebanon NH. It has a large drainage area so the season is a bit longer and it comes up after a good rain. Early season we can expect 8+ foot levels and Class IV action.

Happy Paddling.

Editor's note: A lot of us know about this one. Freight Train is a nifty swim!
-- Tom Jones

Ammonoosuc River (NH): Tuesday May 9

Leader: Andy Meilleur
Participants: (K1): Greg Decell, Ryan Moore; (OC1): Andy Meilleur, Mike Smorgans
Water: riverside = 4.7 -> 5.5 ft.; USGS = 4.7 -> 5.5 ft. (medium high)

We started at 1:30pm at a level of 4.7 ft. fueled by a rainy night with thunderstorms still lurking. The river had a thick blanket of fog that was not warm and fuzzy and made water reading difficult. The river was rising and was capable of rising 2 more feet in a matter of hours. The roar at the Powerhouse Rapid beneath the fog was too much for me so I found a good carry route on river right 150 ft above the dam along an abandoned access road to the power house. Greg and Ryan ran left for the full effect and Mike found a channel on the right side of an island that forms at higher levels. We regrouped at the powerhouse and continued down a mile long class 2/3 stretch where we were oppressed by a thunderstorm which at least cleared the fog out. Even though I could see Alderbrook Rapid it did not diminish my need to carry one more time. I found a well worn path on the river right just beyond the gray house. Greg joined me in the carry as we watched Mike tangle with a large hole at center where some brace and roll action was timely. This trip was great learning for me finding the wide range (2.5-5.5ft) that the river can be run. At 5+ feet the river was just beginning to wash out but was still well below flood. Given the two relatively short class 4 rapids making the carries would make this great river accessible to those wishing to avoid class 4 water.
-- Andy Meilleur

West Branch Ausable (NY): Saturday May 13

Leader: Tony Shaw
Participants: (K1): Ricky Battistoni; (OC1): Andy Meilleur, Tony Shaw
Water: riverside = 1.25 (Hazelton) ft.; USGS = 3.3 (E. Branch) ft., 6.6 (Saranac) ft. (medium)

May rained and rained and rained some more -- 4 inches had fallen by May 10. So we weren't surprised to find the Saranac below Union Falls dam at a medium-high 6.6 feet, higher than any of us had ever run it (or cared to on this occasion). So we probed Jamieson for a suitable alternative, and opted for the Ausable, West Branch.

Over in Ausable Forks, our initial bewildered search for the take-out was aided by a friendly local who showed us where to park and take out, as well as a shortcut to the Wilmington put-in (both via Ausable Drive). Then, in Wilmington, another local gave us permission to ignore a "No Trespassing" sign at the put-in (Lake Everest outlet, river left). It looks as if a river right put-in would be possible/preferable, behind the public library.

The 9 mile run to the backwater of the high dam in Ausable Forks is a delight at this medium level, with 2 long stretches of continuous class II-III water and a scenic stretch of quickwater in between. Weather was hazy and warm, with no black flies out yet. Ricky had the audacity to comment on the lack of predicted afternoon thunderstorms, but they held off anyway! The banks (aside from "POSTED" signs) are largely unspoiled, and the views up-valley to Whiteface Mt. and its kin are captivating. We intend to paddle here again, and perhaps next time add the East Branch (as a chaser).
-- Tony Shaw

Jail Branch: Tuesday May 16

Leader: Randy Allen
Participants: (OC1): Randy Allen, Mike Smorgans
Water: medium low

Some of us have been eyeing this river for some time now and an impromptu scout and phone call put us on the river the next day. We put in at the spillway below the dam in East Barre and pulled out at the Rte. 302 bridge just above the Dugout restaurant, probably a mile and a half or so. The water was low making it a challenge to find a clear line (even in a 9' 6" C-1) and to get some purchase with the paddle. Where the river narrows it becomes a challenging class III run, steep, fast and continuous with only occasional eddies. We portaged some drops and some nasty looking rip-rap at an outside bend near a big granite shed and a log strainer about two thirds of the way down.

This is an exciting run. The look on Mike's face after some of the drops attested to that! It would probably be class IV in high water. The gorge further down would be another challenge and the beauty of this river is that the marshlands and dam temper the flow so it could be run almost anytime there s water, just pick your flow.
-- Randy Allen

New Haven Ledges: Saturday May 20

Leader: Tony Shaw
Participants: (K1): Ed Clark,Chad Chamberlain,Jamie Dolan; (OC1): Tony Shaw; (C1): Randy Allen
Water: riverside = 12 in.; USGS = 4.4 ft.

Mike Fullerton asked me if I'd lead his Hudson Gorge trip while he nursed a back injury, but only one person called to inquire about the Gorge so I began contemplating local options.

Based upon Tom Yurista's USGS correlation table for New Haven Ledges levels ( I surmised that the Saturday level would be ideal for this challenging run. It was. Unfortunately Tom was heading to New York to run the lower Moose, but I managed via phone and email to find 4 willing paddlers for the trip.

Jamie and Randy (like myself) had never run the ledges before, while Chad and Ed had each logged over a dozen descents this year alone. With river gods...uh, this we were well prepared for each challenging drop. With the exception of Randy (who blew out a D-ring at the put-in but completed the trip at a disadvantage anyway) we got down with little difficulty. At times we were like ducklings in a row...behind Ed and Chad...but hey, whatever works! Bartlett Falls (aka 'Toaster') is quite the adrenaline rush, though technically one of the easiest drops on the river. Chris Weed came along to spectate and took a roll of great panoramic photos, which I still show off every chance I get.

I can't wait to try this again!
-- Tony Shaw

Lower Mad: Tuesday May 23

Leader: Bob Marshall
Participants: (K1): 7; (OC1): 1
Water: riverside = 4 ft. (medium low)

This trip went off without a hitch. The water level at the Randy Allen gauge was just under 4'. We had 7 kayakers and 1 open boat. Three of the kayakers were beginners. Of the 8 boaters,4 of them were 13 yeas old. I would like to thank Andy, Scott and Tor for putting up with the high energy level of the kids. I would also like to thank the kids for a hassle free trip! We had no swims until it was play time at the bottom rapids.
-- Bob Marshall

Battenkill River: Sunday May 28

Leader: Tony Shaw
Participants: (K1): Mary - in a Keowee; (OC1): Faith Knapp, Julia; (OC2): Mary and Al, Naomi and Murray, Karen and Holly, Tony and Emily Shaw
Weather: Overcast
Water: USGS = 4.0 ft. (medium)

We had 7 boats on the Battenkill (Emily and myself, along with Faith Knapp and 5 boats she recruited from the NH AMC). Emily had a really great time, as did her dad. The folks Faith brought were very pleasant company, the weather was overcast but warm enough, and the river was (as always) an absolute class I delight. We covered about 9 miles in 3 1/2 hours including a stop at the Arlington covered bridge for bankside picnic lunch. The take out at the first covered bridge in NYS (Eaglesville) makes a perfect length trip. None of the paddlers in our group had any trouble, however the neophytes we observed in rental canoes were having a tough time with the unusually fast water (4.0 feet WWW gauge), including a number of swims and one wrapped canoe.

Do yourself a favor and plan to run the Battenkill the next time it appears on the VPC schedule.
-- Tony Shaw

Third Br. of White River: Saturday June 3

Leader: Eric Bishop
Participants: (K1): Lori Barg, Tim Parsons; (OC2): Eric Bishop, Barb Frankowski, Tater
Water: low boatable

We put in just south of W. Braintree on Rte 12A and dragged, scraped and paddled almost 8 miles to the Recreation Field take-out on the north side of Randolph. This trip took over 4 hours because of the low water level, but the afternoon was sunny and warm, the water generally clean and the scenery rural Vermont. There were a few small drops that with water would be class II or III but in general this would be class I-II even with a fair amount of additional water.
-- Eric Bishop

Hudson Gorge: Saturday June 24

Leader: E.Bishop, A. Meilleur
Participants: (K1): Georgia Myer; (OC1): E.Bishop, Andy Meilleur, Randy Allen
Water: USGS = 3.7 ft. (medium)

This trip came together at the last minute, even though I had added it to the schedule the week before. The weather was great, warm with intermitent sun; the water level was a little over 4ft with the bubble, and warm. Everyone paddled well- warm water and sunshine does that to you- and we had no trouble at all. We even outran the raft horde until Harris rapid were we stopped for lunch- and it was a horde. Perhaps it was just that they were all together, but I have never seen so many rafts on the river, all visible at the same time.
-- E.Bishop

Tor Bortz (?) at Chace Mill on the Winooski (in Winooski)

VPC/ACA Membership Applications & Waiver(s)

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...
  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. ACA members, joining the VPC...
    Use the form referenced in #1 above, but send only the VPC portion ($8/household). Henceforth, you are entitled to a lower ACA renewal rate than you have been paying, so long as you remain an active member in a Paddle America Club. Just write "Vermont Paddlers Club PAC" on your next ACA renewal notice and pay the discount renewal rate ($15 individual or $20 family).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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