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Bow and Stern - March 1, 2003

Bow and Stern - - March 2003

Bow and Stern

March 2003

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

Volume XXIX, no. 1

< < < Go with the Flow > > >

Just got back from the UVM pool roll session in a raging blizzard! What a great place we live in, skiing, paddling, sailing, hiking all wrapped up on one beautiful area! How lucky we are!

I am sitting here watching it rain/snow and dreaming of another run down the North Branch with Ray Ingram calmly telling me to "do it like this". Maybe next time Ray. Other thoughts drift by as I remember being told "don't let go of your boat...." as my boat drifted on down the Huntington with it's rescuer proceeding to get in a pickle!! (What did I learn?? Stay with your boat, and self-rescue).

I also learned that you can always learn in this sport as well as other activities! So go at it with optimism and a good spirit and get out and enjoy.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!!

Over again,
Fritz Senftleber
VPC president

With printing and mailing costs forever rising, the club will find itself increasingly reliant on e-communication. If you aren't already receiving VPCNews by email, join this unique email forum NOW by simply sending one email to with the word "subscribe" in the subject line. Your email address is kept secret and secure. You will be kept apprised of club events, club news, and impromptu paddling plans posted by other forum members. You can post paddling related messages and gear for sale at any time. And you can opt out of the list without hassle, if at any time you choose to do so.

UVM Catayak Club Liquidlogic is proud to sponsor an evening with a true original. Join Willie Kern, fresh off the plane from China, for a slideshow and an entertaining discussion about his latest adventures and life on the river.

March 24th, 7 pm
Lafayette 108
University of Vermont
(email Serena,, for directions)

One of the most accomplished and respected ambassadors to the whitewater paddling community, Willie Kern has dedicated his life to exploring the natural world from the seat of his kayak. With decades of experience gathered from first descents on nearly every continent, perhaps most notably a recent first descent down Tibet's Yarlung Tsangpo, Willie is recognized internationally as the voice on communication and safety on the river. His humble presence and relentless passion have influenced river education, instruction and conservation. Respected by generations of paddlers, Willie is committed to spreading his knowledge and love of water as an instructor for Tarkio Kayak Adventures. His determined and conscientious environmental spirit has enabled Willie to join the Nature Conservancy's Great Rivers Project, presently the largest Eco-Tourism effort abroad. Proceeds to benefit river conservation.

It is right and fitting that the Vermont Paddlers Club's first ever "Around Vermont in 30 Rivers" award goes to our crusty but illustrious president emeritus, Eric Bishop, who helped conceive and publicize this program in 1995. The fact that it took him 8 years to complete the odyssey of paddling 30 unique river segments, one in each of Vermont's 14 counties, is the only real surprise.

He is equally at home floating the Winooski through Richmond with his Angler (and did we mention angelic) wife Barb and their pup Molly in tow as he is bombing Lava Falls in the Grand Canyon. His zeal for exploring small steep creeks across Vermont and his aggressive approach to the daunting drops they sometimes contain is refreshing. Canoers don't rightly belong on Mill Brook (Jericho), Mettawee River (below Pawlett), North Branch Lamoille (into Belvidere), or the North Branch Winooski (above Worcester) - but don't tell Eric!

In the course of satisfying his own passion for natural surroundings which test his endurance, strength, and finesse, Eric had become a model for others in the VPC, and is a great resource if you're looking for off-beat places in Vermont to paddle. Congrats Eric!

1995: Clyde R, Upper Lamoille R.
1996: New Haven R., White R., N.Br. Lamoille R., Huntington R., Mad R., Browns R.
1997: Winooski R., Green R., Dog R.
1998: Mill Brook(Jericho), Rock R.
199?: Connecticut R., West R., Black R., Seymour R., East Creek
2000: Lewis Creek, Tweed River, North Br. Winooski R., 3rd Br. White R.
2001: Lee R., Moose R., Poultney R., Little R., Otter Creek
2002: Minister Brook, Mill Brook(Fayston), Gihon R., Joe's Brook, Missisquoi R., Mettawee R., Battenkill R., New Haven Ledges

Visit for river reach info sorted by name, county, or difficulty. Visit the paddlers' 30 Rivers Log Book where you can keep your personal "30 Rivers" list up-to-date! The rules (in brief):

  1. Register as a participant online ( or with the VPC secretary.
  2. Cover 6 miles or more per river segment, when possible.
  3. Paddle at least one river in each county.
  4. Report your progress annually to the VPC secretary or via the 30 Rivers Log Book online.
  5. No time limit, but only count trips after June 5, 1995 (when the 30 Rivers program came into being).
  6. VPC will recognize 30 Rivers qualifiers at one of the dinner meetings.

This year like all the other years the Fiddlehead Slalom will be held on Mothers Day, the weekend of May 11. Anyone who knows they are going to sign up to race, please do it as early as possible. Anyone who is not sure can sign up on Saturday; late registration will be available until Saturday mid afternoon. Again this year the race organizer is going to have one class which will be free, Open Canoe Rec. solo. All you need to do to qualify is fill out and sign the ACA waiver. Anyone who is an ACA member must know their membership number and anyone who is not a member will have to paid $5 for a one time event.

There is one more requirement to qualify for the free class. You have to have a mindset of having a good time and do not expect to be the best, just do the best you can and improve your whitewater paddling technique. Don't let the word RACE manipulate your mind set. If you make a mistake out they on the course, so what, its not the same as making a mistake in a class four drop where your life could possible be put in danger.

Volunteers are always needed on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so if you have some free time on any of those days (5/8 thru 5/11) and are willing to come out and enjoy the outdoors feel free to call Ray Ingram (802-879-4286). It is a four-day event for Ray, and he can use all the help he can get for setting up and running the race. Thanks for reading and hope you all have a safe run-off this spring.

VPC's own Eric Rossier was among the more than 3,000 canoe/kayak safety instructors to receive ACA certification in 2002, and has been sharing his expertise with kayakers during this winter's pool sessions. Faith Knapp and John Wolfe once again led a successful Novice Whitewater Clinic at Lake Elmore last July, putting their ACA instructor certificates to good use. The VPC can (and should) be proud of it liaison with ACA as a Paddle America Club (PAC)!

Members seem to really enjoy receiving Paddler Magazine bi-monthly, and some have taken advantage of discounts for ACA PAC members on book and/or gear purchases at or

And of course, there is the ACA's legal representation and liability insurance for trip organizers if ever they are sued in connection with VPC events they helped organize. Though some pine for the "good ol' days" when waiver signing and membership checking was lax, in our litigious society it would be Pollyanna to volunteer to organize whitewater outings without indemnity waivers and liability insurance. Even our pool hosts MAU and UVM now expect us to show proof of insurance to use their facilities.

Remember, the ACA expects near 100% ACA membership among members of its Paddle America Clubs. VPC members who have failed to join the ACA or send in their ACA renewal fee should get this done before our whitewater season gets underway!!!

Just to clarify how ACA enrollment and renewal works, identify yourself with 1 of the 4 statements here:

  1. I was an ACA member before joining VPC.
    You are entitled to lower ACA member rates 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).
  2. I was a VPC member before joining ACA.
    Henceforth your yearly VPC renewal ($8) and ACA renewal ($15 or $20) will be billed separately. Watch your mail for renewal notices from each club (Jan. 1 from VPC, anniversary date from ACA).
  3. I joined VPC/ACA simultaneously at the $23 (individual) or $28 (family) rate.
    See #2 above.
  4. I have not joined the ACA.
    Please use the enrollment form at the back of this newsletter and JOIN TODAY!

100% ACA participation is expected of PAC's. Until you join the ACA you (and each member of your family) will be required to pay the $5 fee each time you join a VPC trip or pool session. Moreover, ACA non-members are precluded from coordinating any club trips or teaching in our annual whitewater clinic. Please take a minute to complete the form at the back of this newsletter and mail your $15/$20 directly to the ACA ASAP. Your membership card(s) and window sticker will arrive in about 4 weeks.

On Feb. 20th, twenty middle-schoolers in Williston enjoyed a paddling primer with VPC guest speaker Tony Shaw. He was joined by Matt Davis and Cris Toomey from the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's Champlain Discovery Program, and this trio provided hands-on learning for these youth in activities such as chart reading, packing a kayak, and negotiating obstacles on a river. The kids especially enjoyed the chance to climb into a kayak and canoe, and imagine themselves bombing down a whitewater river!

Tony's whitewater and flatwater slideshow was topped off by the 9 minute Vermont ETV Outdoor Journal episode in which our own Eric Rossier teaches reporter Marianne Eaton how to paddle a class II rapid on the Lamoille, first aired in the summer of 2002. Great work Vermont ETV and Eric!

VPC's Dick Allen organized speakers for this weeklong school workshop to introduce the children to healthy outdoor activities, calling this particular session "Paddle your way to Happiness!"

Eric's Vermont ETV video is available for loan if others in the club get similar opportunities in their local schools, and the ACA just sent a couple of paddling primer videos to Fritz. I think the plan is to donate the ACA tapes to Canoe Imports' video lending library.

Trip Reports

Magalloway R. (ME) Saturday-Sunday July 6-7, 2002
Organizer:Tony Shaw
Participants:(K1):John Barrows, Rick Covill, Ms. Covill, Georgia Myer;(OC1):Randy Allen, Faith Knapp, Andy Meilleur, Sam Nijensohn, Tony Shaw
Water: USGS = 900 cfs (medium)
Character: intermediate WW

This second annual funfest featured affable friends, appetizing fare, and aquatic frenzy. Diane joined Sam to keep him company and to chronicle the trip as our personal bankside photographer. The overnighters gathered Friday evening at Sams (a remote College Grant cabin north of Errol), where Diane kept the rest of us entertained through dinner and beyond sharing her passion for wildlife biologyand birding in particular. Sam and Randy found common interests in forestryand woodworking in particular. Georgia, Faith and Tony just seemed happy to be out of the fast lane, however briefly. Sam Brungot (longtime Dartmouth College Grant Caretaker and namesake for the cabin we rented) would have enjoyed this night of woodsy conversation in the quiet surroundings he so loved.

The chemistry through dinner and Saturday evening with Sam and Diane back in Vermont was decidedly more unabashed and would have most likely had ol Sam blanching. Everyone pitched in with meal preparation and clean-up, leaving time for exploration on nature trails nearby on bicycle and even a hike up the Diamond Peaks.

Oh did I mention we paddled? Well we paddledhard! Never mind that drought conditions prevailed across New England. The Azisocohos Lake dam release provided spring-like water levels both days. The play-friendly 900 cfs level inspired many surfers and even some side/back surfing at the final rapids big hole on river right. Tony misguidedly tried to run the big class IV put-in drop on the far right on the last run Sunday, and learned the hard way it is every bit as turbulent as it appears from the shore.

Call me if you are interested in joining us for a repeat, July 2003, when the Grant cabin is again reserved and the water will be swiftly flowing (802-879-1655).

--Tony Shaw

West R. Weekend Saturday-Sunday September 21-22, 2002
Participants:(K1):John Barrows, Rick Covill, John Floyd, Scott Hayden, Mike Henry, Eliot Lothrop, Rod Wentworth;(OC1):Pat Cleary and Ray Ingram, Faith Knapp, Tony Shaw
Water: USGS = 1500 cfs (medium)
Character: intermediate WW

All week the weather forecast for the infamous West River release called for heavy downpours both days. E-mails and phone calls went back and forth; "D'ya think you'll go?"

The drive down to Jamaica Saturday morning was under low clouds, occasionally spitting drizzle. But by the time we were on the water, the sprinkles had stopped, the air was warm, and the sun even came out now and then. With 1500 cfs released from Ball Mountain Dam, it turned into a great day of paddling.

There was lots of envelope-pushing going on, including John Floyd and Eliot running the upper section for the first time. Eliot swam the entire III-IV rapid below the dam; John swam the Dumplings, getting up close and personal with the boulders river right. Lots of playing going on, too. Scott couldn't wipe the grin off his face after launching off the rock below the Dumplings. We hope he was still smiling at home Saturday night, having chosen familial harmony over a second day on the river.

Many of those who stayed over were at Winhall Brook campground (hosted by some very laid back park employees). Tony, Rod, Eliot and John Floyd shared a site. Just as we were turning in for the night, a light sprinkle started. It wasn't long before the rain picked up, and the promised downpour fell off and on through the night. Morning light brought huge puddles (one in Tony's tent) and some talk of running Winhall Brook. Conversation over a Dunkin Donuts breakfast revolved around whether the rain still falling on the tent would let up. By the time the subject was beat to death, the rain let up and, when we reached Jamaica State Park, it stopped altogether.

Sunday turned out to be another fine day for paddling. The clouds, often barely above the river, drizzled now and then, but no one cared (some didn't notice!). All together, it was another fine West River weekend.

We should acknowledge all the great park staff, elementary school boosters (i.e. parking attendants), the dam operators and the vendors who make it all happen for our benefit.

--John Floyd

New Haven Ledges Saturday September 28, 2002
Organizer:Tony Shaw
Participants:(K1):Nolan Burkhouse, Robert Fuller;(OC1):Eric Bishop, Tony Shaw
Water: riverside = .75 ft. (medium low)
Character: advanced WW

Nolan followed his nose from Tunbridge to the fabled New Haven, and looked relieved to meet up with strangers who professed to be familiar with the run. But only one in this local trio had ever completed a "ledges" run from top to bottom. Fall New Haven trips are impromptu of necessity, and the window of opportunity after a soaking ran can be short indeed. The notorious "playpen" proved to be as tricky and sticky as its reputed to be, and 2 of our foursome would have faired better taking the sneak route on river left. Eric's stern delaminated somewhere along the way to the take-out, enough to need ABS welding in NH this winter.

I learned later I was in the doghouse for passing up the opportunity to paddle with Fritz on his first North Branch Lamoille trip, or at least for failing to communicate my alternative paddling plan. To wit, any way you slice it, we all had a super day of whitewater.

--Tony Shaw

No. Br. Lamoille Saturday September 28, 2002
Participants:(OC1):Paul Carlisle, Pat Cleary, Ray Ingram, Fritz Senftleber
Water: medium
Character: int-adv WW

The trip started out on a beutiful warm fall day. A definite plus, the weather was good. The crew was up for it, Paul Carlisle, Ray Ingram, Pat Cleary and myself: "no brace" Fritz. We were headed for the Gem, the North Branch of the Lamoile. I heard about it, read about it, I was scared to death. The weather was good, the crew good, the gear was set, the level was perfect.

I can't really remember what happened next. Lots of rapids, hard work, high levels of paddling demanded, lots of finding that eddy to pull into for a breather. It was all good/exciting/paddle clenching fun. I did not dump, but Ray wasn't sure if I might rather swim though!! "I told you how to do that..." Well Ray I was at my skill levels end, maybe over it, my bailer in my mouth, stuck in an excuse for an eddy in the middle of a roaring river with no spot to pull over with my half full boat. I was just surviving!!

I did survive and learned a lot, go with a good group, have good weather (not too cold) have your gear set, use common sense and be cautious when need be (say no if you really do not feel comortable). This trip would not have been a pleasure, with 10 degree colder water or air temp, or had I dumped at the begining and had to shiver through the rest. Use common sense, have fun! "How do you get out of a side surf anyway, Ray?"

--Over again Fritz Senftleber

West branch of the Little river Saturday December 21, 2002
Participants:(K1):Bob Marshall,John Wolfe
Water: low boatable
Character: nov-int WW

Bob and I put in at Percy's garage in Stowe and took out at The Stowe police station on route 100. There is a fun wave/hole behind the Blacksmith shop on 108. The drop at the police station was a great ending. The river was coming down and freezing up. Fun section if short on time or want a warm up.

--John Wolfe

I just got this mailer from the ACA and I thought I might pass some of it on as we head into the paddling season.

  • Avoid extremes of weather and water! Sounds good to me.
  • Wear your life jacket! 50% of drownings happen because of no PFD!
  • Paddle smart, know your limits!
  • Spot potential hazards, be they human factors, equipment factors, and/or environmental factors. Any of the above can lead to a problem. These might include: no PFD, not familiar with river, paddling alone or too small a group, no flotation, no spare paddle, inappropriate dress, high and cold water, strainers, remoteness etc.
Over again, Fritz

FriMar 28 Lewis CreekEric Rossier802 453 7879int-adv WW Monkton, to Ferrisburg
SatMar 29 Upper Mad River*Tony Shaw879-1655nov-int WW sun-to-rain, 60 degrees!
SatApr 5 Mascoma R. (NH)Tony Shaw879-1655int WW dam release
SunApr 6 Willoughby R.Tony Shaw879-1655nov-int WW 30 Rivers!
SatApr 12 Black River*Allan Berggren603-543-3691nov WW Scheduled trip cancelled, unless other can lead.
SatApr 12 Black River (VT)Allan Berggren603-543-3691nov-int WW
SatApr 12 White RiverRichard Larsen878-6828int WW
SunApr 13 Upper LamoilleMichael Fullerton456 8701int-adv WW
ThuApr 17 Mad RiverJohn Wolfe244-8673nov-int WW Thu. evening
SatApr 19 Black River (VT)Faith Knapp649-5106int-adv WW
SunApr 20 Moose River (VT)Faith Knapp649-5106int-adv WW
WedApr 23 Lower LamoilleRich Larsen878-6828nov WW Wed. evening
ThuApr 24 Mad RiverJohn Wolfe244-8673int WW Thu. evening
Sat-SunApr 26-27 West River Weekend*Jamaica State Park800-299-3071int WW release weekend - no shuttle
SatApr 26 Browns / Lamoille R'sTony Shaw879-1655nov WW
SunApr 27 Run of the Charles Race*Janice Halpern800-969-RACEFW 19, 9, & 6 mi races.
WedApr 30 Lower LamoilleRich Larsen878-6828nov WW Wed. evening
ThuMay 1 Mad RiverJohn Wolfe244-8673int WW Thu. evening
SatMay 3 2nd Br. White RiverEric Bishop899-1865int-adv WW
SunMay 4 Ammonoosuc R. (NH)Tony Shaw879-1655int-adv WW
WedMay 7 Lower LamoilleRich Larsen878-6828nov WW Wed. evening
ThuMay 8 Mad RiverJohn Wolfe244-8673int WW Thu. evening
Sat-SunMay 10-11 Fiddlehead Slalom RaceRay Ingram879-4286nov WW volunteers needed, call pls!
SatMay 10 Joe's BrookTony Shaw879-1655adv WW don't miss this!
SatMay 10 Lower HudsonRichard Larsen878-6828int WW
WedMay 14 Lower LamoilleRich Larsen878-6828nov WW Wed. evening
ThuMay 15 Mad RiverJohn Wolfe244-8673int WW Thu. evening
SatMay 17 Schroon RiverEric Rossier453-7879int-adv WW
SunMay 18 Hudson GorgeTony Shaw879-1655int-adv WW
WedMay 21 Lower LamoilleRich Larsen878-6828nov WW Wed. evening
ThuMay 22 Mad RiverJohn Wolfe244-8673int WW Thu. evening
SatMay 24 Mettawee RiverEric Bishop899-1865adv WW
Fri-SunJun 6-8 White/Pemi WeekendFaith Knapp649-5106nov WW Roch. lodging fills fast, call NOW
SatJun 14 Hudson GorgeEric Bishop899-1865int-adv WW

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new line

  1. Asterisked trips (*) are unofficial trips and as such are neither sanctioned nor insured by the VPC.
  2. ww = whitewater // FW = flatwater // Vt area code: 802
  3. nov = max Class II, int = max Class III, adv = max Class IV, exp = Class IV+ See Intl River Rating Scale
  4. Winter pool sessions begin soon (space lim., fee charged). Call 879-1655 (Tony Shaw) or signup online.
  5. Contact the trip organizer for information about each trip.
  6. Listed trips may be changed or canceled as water, weather, or interest dictates.
  7. Plans for impromptu trips can be relayed thru the trip organizer or online.
  8. Please give 1-2 weeks notice for overnight trips to have a say in pre-planning.
  9. Car-pooling on long (and short) trips is encouraged!
  10. The AROUND VERMONT IN 30 RIVERS promotion is underway!!!

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.

We somehow managed to bury here in the back of the newsletter an important plea, that being a call to aspiring and/or future VPC leaders. Somehow agreeing to take on ANY additional responsibility seems daunting. But however trite it sounds, the club does indeed need you!

Start off by introducing yourself to one of the VPC officers. Tell her/him you intend to paddle as much as possible, and might be able to help in some way now and then.

If that sounds too open ended, try something more finite and manageableoffer to write the trip report for the next VPC trip in which you participate. Beyond endearing yourself to the trip's organizer, this will put your name in the spotlight in the June Bow and Stern, and most importantly you will have made a statement of support for the VPC and the activities it promotes. We are counting on a few members to move in this direction during 2003!

By November we are hoping to have some fresh recruits for the officer election meeting. A two year term brings some added responsibilities but also a unique opportunity to get to know some really great people (who also love to paddle)!

Release information for the Indian and Hudson (NY) is available: (518) 648-5303

The Mt. Washington Valley Paddlers website has tentative release dates online for rivers throughout the east, including the Androscoggin (Errol Dam), Androscoggin (Pontook Dam), Ashuelot, Blackwater, Magalloway, Rapid, Dead, Kennebec, Lower Otter Brook, Mongaup, Millers, Esopus Creek, Farmington/Fall River, Gauley, Pemi in Bristol (Ayers Island Dam), Salmon, Deerfield Dryway, Deerfield Zoar Gap/Fife Brook, West, and Ocoee.

It would be great to see some impromptu trips posted to the VPCNews email forum ( or in the June Bow and Stern by folks interested in hitting some of these releases!

Last summer, I spent most of my time outdoors, photographing the landscape of Southeast Alaska. I feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity, and I want to share just a portion of the experience with all of you. Together we can blow off some "cabin fever" steam and usher in spring!

March 26th, 7:00pm
Climb High Shelburne Rd.
Matt Kiedaisch

ACA Membership Form

VPC Members are eligible to join the American Canoe Association at a substantial discount! An ACA enrollment form customized for VPC members is online --

VPC Membership Form

  • Joining for the first time??
    Print and mail in the VPC Member Enrollment Form --

  • Renewing member??
    Send VPC $8/household, due Jan. as of 2003 (address below, [format to print]); the ACA will send renewal notices before your anniversary date, and send you a replacement ACA card once you renew your membership.


A printable waiver is online -- ()

Please log in.
For Username, enter either 1) the primary email address you've specified in your member profile, or 2) the Username assigned to you upon joining the VPC.

Once you are logged in as a VPC member, you will have access to your member profile, and members-only content on the website. If your login attempts fail, please email the webmaster. Include your name, and (if you know it) the username you were assigned.

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