The Vermont Paddlers Club

Meet new friends, and paddle better!
Home»Talk Paddling»Bow and Stern: 1975-present»

Bow and Stern - March 1, 1981

Bow and Stern - - March 1981

Bow and Stern

March 1, 1981

A Letter from the Editor

Dear Fellow Paddlers,

Well, the season's already begun. Last Sunday a group of intrepid cruisers ran the Huntington River. Although you have to be intrepid so much, when the sun is shining, it's 60 degrees, and the water level is terrific. They did find a lot more trees down in the river on that run, which is something to keep in mind as we run the Huntington in the next few weeks.

The next few weeks will also encompass the whitewater training, with a few extras thrown in this year. Our club continues to evolve and grow, and we will discuss some of the new ideas tonight.

With all this spring-like weather we've had lately, I'm sure you are all raring to go.

See you on the river,
Larry Thomson

Third Annual N.V.C.C. Limerick Contest

A call now goes to the artistic.
Who can write me a lunatic limerick?
We will judge them and see,
Which are the best three.
And enshrine them in a linguistic triptych.

Send all entries to: Larry Thomson, Box 45, Richmond, VT 05477

Winners will be announced, and prizes presented, at the June meeting.

Meeting Minutes

The June 11th, 1980 Pot Luck Supper/combination meeting was a success again thanks to the efforts of Len & Cindy Carpenter.

The meeting was called to order by President, Al Roberts at 7:30 p.m. with a fairly large attendance.

Minutes of the meeting and the Treasurer Report of 3/3 were published in the latest Bow and Stern for all membership to review and a Treasurer's Report as of 5/30 was read. All were approved.

Bob Dodds, Whitewater Training Chairman, gave a brief report on the whitewater training and its success.

Peter Alden reported on the white water trips and reminded everyone of safety. No one should be in any kind of boat without a life jacket on and it's so important to remember that in early summer, the water temperature is still quite low and the chances of hypothermia still a danger if one should fall in the water.

Larry Thomson spoke on the good turnout of limericks for the June's issue of Bow and Stern and prizes were awarded to the first three winners.

Summer Events - Bob Durkin, chairman, has listed in the B&S the dates of different trips.

Al Roberts mentioned his trip to the Allagash this fall if anyone is interested.


Dick Trudell reported on the Lower Lamoille dam project and that the state has decided to form its own group to oppose the building of the dam - should see more activity.


Al Roberts contacted Trout Unlimited to get their support to have the White River be put on the American Wild and Scenic River Act, which would protect this river from development and building of dams, etc. Al is planning to attend a session with Jeffords in Bethel on June 21st.

There will be another Winooski Park day July 12, rain date July 19. All canoes/kayaks welcomed, put in behind Forrest Hills and picnicking at the Ethan Allen Farms.

Bob Dodds indicated that although the NVCC are now members of the AWA (American Whitewater Association) that there would be advantages to joining the American Canoe Association:

As written in the brochure of the ACA:

  • The oldest continuous canoeing organization in the country, founded in 1880.
  • A national voice dedicated to preserving rivers, improving access and promoting safety.
  • The official sponsor for American participation in International and Olympic competition; the U.S. Team won the 1979 Whitewater World Championships!
  • A nonprofit organization whose purpose is to unite all persons interested in canoesport.
As a member, will receive:
  • Information to keep you up-to-date on new developments and issues.
  • Discounts on books and maps from the ACA Bookservice
  • Training services to increase your enjoyment, safety and skill.
  • Use of the association's private Island in the St. Lawrence River for canoecamping trips.
  • The 1980 Commemorative Yearbook and roster.
  • A regular newsletter, The American Canoeist, containing news of local and national events, committee information and a potpourri of the activities and concerns of the ACA.
  • Right to participate in all ACA sponsored events and activities/cruises, encampments, races and regattas, tours and training camps.
Dick Allen will be the recipient of all of the information as listed and will report at meetings. Dues are $20.00/year.

Dick Trudell made a motion that the club joins the ACA, it was seconded, no discussion and the motion was voted on and carried.

Meeting adjourned 8:00 p.m.

A spectacular slide show by Jim Henry was presented as the program for the evening.

Respectfully submitted,
Melinda Dodds

Charter for the N.V.C.C.

  1. Offices And Elections
    1. Elective Offices
      1. President
      2. Vice President/Activities Chairman
      3. Secretary/Treasurer
    2. Appointed Offices by the President
      1. The president will appoint a chairman for each of the separate activities of the club.
    3. All offices will be elected or appointed for two years.
    4. The elective offices will be by club membership at the Fall Business meeting.
    5. All members 14 and above are allowed one vote.
  2. All functions and activities will be discussed by the Executive Committee.
    1. The Executive Committee consists of both elective offices and appointed offices.
    2. Quorum is five members.
    3. Executive Committee will determine club affairs between meetings and report their activities to the membership.
  3. Chairperson Responsibilities
    1. All chair people must keep the president informed at all times on their activity or function.
    2. All chair people have full responsibility for recruiting workers, scheduling and whatever else has to be done for the success of the activity.
  4. Activities
    Activities will consist of an annual winter meeting and a biannual fall meeting and such other activities as authorized by the Executive Committee.
  5. Executive meetings are called at the President's discretion.
  6. All expenses must have prior approval by the Executive Committee.
  7. The checking account will be in the President's name and/or the Secretary/Treasurer's name.
    1. The President will be in charge of all meetings.
    2. If absent, the Vice President will conduct the meetings and all their functions.
    3. Special meetings may be called by a petition of at least 15 members.
  8. Secretary/Treasurer will report to the club members on the financial status at all meetings.
  9. The Quartermaster will be responsible for all club equipment, safety gear, throw bags, etc.
  10. Membership
    1. Membership is from January 1st to December 31st.
    2. All dues are to be paid by the June meeting. Dues notices will be included on February's meeting notice.
  11. This charter can be amended by majority vote of the membership present at any duly called meeting.

Treasurer's Report

Beginning Balance as of 5/30/80 $557.91
Dues and income from supper $198.00
Typing B&S & Office Supplies $36.75
Limerick Prizes 31.75
Rental of Church 25.00
Supper Expenses 102.06
Postage 66.47
ACA Membership dues: 1980+1981 40.00
Phone reimbursement to R. Allen 7.60
Check charges 2.50
Balance on Hand January 31, 1981 $433.78

Minutes of Executive Committee Meeting

An executive meeting was called to order by President Alan Roberts February 1981 with the following people in attendance:

Melinda & Bob Dodds
Dick Trudell
Norm Lavoie
Bob Durkin
Rosie and Allen Stirt
Larry Thomson
Dick Allen
Ray Gonda
Bob Schumacher

Treasurer's Report and the minutes of the June meeting were read and approved. A bill was presented to remain a member of the American Canoe Association for another year. Peter Alden made a motion to maintain membership. Motion seconded and passed.

Old Business:

Dick Trudell reported on the status of the darn proposal on the lower Lamoille. Opposition at the state level continues with no new significant developments.

Alan Roberts reported he attended a public hearing with Senator Jeffords present with regard to the proposal of having the White River be placed under the Wild and Scenic River Act. No real developments.

New Business:

Alan Roberts announced the chairpersons for the following activities:

Whitewater Trips: Peter Alden
Whitewater Training: Ray Gonda & Dick Allen
June Dinner Meeting: Mclntyre/Zeller
Summer Events: Rosie Stirts
Bow & Stern: Larry Thomson
Quartermaster: Norm Lavoie

Discussion was held on the continuance of a spaghetti dinner for the annual March meeting. A motion was made by Dick Trudell to continue, Norm Lavoie seconded with both Dick and Norm volunteering to coordinate. Motion voted on and passed.

Dick Allen announced the program for the March meeting will include two movies he has ordered with the prospect of the club purchasing these movies to use in the training program.

A motion was made by Peter Alden for Bob Schumacher to provide to the club basic books on canoeing and kayaking which the Whitewater Training Committee will select to purchase and sell at the training sessions. Motion seconded and carried.

Ray Gonda asked for new ideas for the Whitewater Training Program and after a lengthy discussion, it was decided to take the matter off line. Ray and Dick Allen will call a meeting of all interested parties.

Bob Schumacher asked if the club would consider setting up a separate whitewater schedule for kayaks. After much discussion, it was decided that Dick Trudell's name would be put on the whitewater schedule as a contact. He would decide if a person is experienced enough to go with him. If not, he will encourage them to go on one of the regular scheduled canoe trips.

A motion was made by Ray Gonda to set up a second pool session for kayaks. Motion seconded and passed.

Peter Alden reported that the present policy of water releases on the ??? is dangerous for boaters who have started down the river. He will check into it and report at the March meeting.

Discussion on having war canoes at the picnic. It was decided that they were a lot of fun, but the hassle to go and get and transport was too much.

Motion made to adjourn, seconded and passed.

Respectfully Submitted,
Melinda Dodds

Trip Reports

Hudson River: April 27, 1980

Leader: Fred Jordan (with much help from Peter Alden)
Participants: Jay Philoon, Wayne Ellis, Janet Brunet, Len Carpenter, Ray Gonda, Al Roberts, Bob Schumacher, T. Driscoll (1-C2, 2-K1, 4-O.C.)

This trip left Wesson's Diner in South Burlington at 7:15 a.m. and headed. for the Hudson River in New York State. The original plan was to split into two groups. One to do the gorge and one to do the lower Hudson. The gauge was at 5.0, not the 4.1 that was expected and all did the lower trip.

We loaded canoes on the rail yard in North Creek and started down the Hudson under clear skies. Spruce Mountain Rapids was our playground for awhile, but at last we washed under the bridge in Riparius.

We ate lunch on a large rock one mile below the bridge on the right. After lunch we came to the "Hook of the Hudson" and could not see a horizon line and ran it the easy way just left of center.

Soon we were in Horse Race Rapids, which is just a lot of medium waves and continuous rapids.

The rain started just before the end, but all thought the trip was a success.

Androscoggin River Trip: Sat.-Sun., August 25-26,1980

Leader: Al Roberts
Participants: George McIntosh, Doug McIntosh, Margaret Zeller, Karen Zeller, Janet Brunet, Fred Jordon, Andy Nuquist, Joe Gosselin, Emelle Gosselin, Larry Thomson, and Larry Thomson, Sr. (6 canoes, 3 kayaks)

This trip did not begin auspiciously. Before the "Burlington contingent" had driven down the interstate to meet the "Montpelier contingent", we had had a number of pieces of equipment come loose from cartops. The worst being a brand new double paddle which was demolished in the passing lane.

Once we got these mishaps out of our system, the rest of the trip was great. Sunny weather, and a moderate level of water in the Androscoggin were ours to enjoy. We reached the campground near Errol at midday and found Joe and Emelle Gosselin had secured the island campsite for us. We set up camp, paddled back to our cars and roared off for "the Bridge". On such a great weekend, Errol looked like a paddler's convention site. We ate lunch while watching the rapids and the boaters running them, then drove upriver to put in. Everyone had a great run, so we did it again - three more times. Not too many rocks, but plenty of waves and a few holes to be negotiated. Just great!

We then ferried the cars to the bank near the island, and the canoes and ourselves to the campground, upriver. We ended this day's paddling with a leisurely float through Campground Rapids to Seven Islands bridge and on to the island.

Dinner was, as usual, excellent. Al and the staff making shish kebab, with rice, etc., and Janet surprised Al with a homemade birthday cake for dessert. Happy birthday was the first of a number of songs, sung that night around the fire.

On Sunday, we drove downriver to Pontook Rapids, the longer portion of river we would run. Here, the rapids vary more, with rocks, ledges, waves and channels providing a lot of great fun and "river reading" opportunities. This was so good, we ran this section three times, until lagging energy told us it was time to head home.


  • The great weather and water.
  • The two million canoes and kayaks in Errol.
  • The zany chatter on the CB radios.
  • Al's birthday cake.
  • Singing around the campfire, and (for me) taking my dear old Dad on his first whitewater trip.
Larry Thomson

A trip on the Allagash with Allagash Al, alias St. John's Al 

Leader: Al Roberts
Participants: Al and Rosie Stirt, Dick Trudell, Margaret Zeller, Jack Harrington, Joe Gosselin, George McIntosh

Although we did not leave until Saturday, September 13, this trip started early in the spring when Al R (of St. John fame) first announced his plans to do the Allagash in the fall. Two weeks prior to the trip, planning rolled into high gear with our organizational meeting. We all enjoyed Al's slides of previous Allagash trips and settled other important items, like who would help with the shopping, packing, and driving.

Finally, Saturday morning arrived and the group, with the exception of the Stirts, met at Al's house and was on the road in the pouring rain about 6:30 a.m. We met Al and Rosie about 8:00 a.m. in St. Johnsbury. The weather from that point on improved until it finally was a beautiful, clear, warm day in Maine. We stopped for lunch in Skowhegan and later at the west branch of the Penobscot River to look at the little Ambejackmockamus Falls, a class IV rapid, which looked pretty hairy to me. Our first night was spent at Duck Brook campsite, about a hour and a half from our put in at Chamberlain Bridge. After dinner, a "Buffalo Throw" (big beef steaks cooked right in the fire), we admired the crystal clear sky knowing the rainstorm we had left behind in Burlington would soon catch up to us.

Sure enough, when we woke up it was raining and we drove the remaining distance to Chamberlain Bridge and put-in in the rain. Fortunately, there was very little wind and the paddle to our lunch stop at Gravel Beach was not too bad. From there we headed across Chamberlain Lake, still in the rain, with a light easterly wind at our side, to Lock Dam. We made camp in a light intermittent rain and had chicken cooked over the fire; delicious: The entertainment for the night consisted of drying out clothes around the fire and sealing seams. Jack's duct tape covered rain pants were fine, but Margaret's rain pants and Joe's jacket needed some attention. It started raining again about 8:30 and we all hit the sack early. During the night some little animals found our food and nibbled some holes in the plastic bags.

Next morning it was still raining, but cleared around breakfast time leaving us with a clear blue sky. We headed through the stream from Lock Dam to Eagle Lake where the wind picked up from the north and the sky became somewhat overcast. Out on the open water of Eagle Lake, Al and Rosie soon established themselves as the super person paddlers of the group and left the rest of us behind. Al and Jack managed to keep up for a while, but they too eventually fell behind. No matter what the map says, Eagle Lake was about 50 miles long. After paddling for an eternity and getting a tow from the ranger; who was worried about us being so spread apart, we stopped for lunch, exhausted, at Pump Handle, where we all stretched out on the shore in the sun.

Lunch became a routine of moldy bagels with jam and peanut butter. The moisture from the first day must have turned the bagels moldy. We cut the green off and ate them anyway. Dick would give us his sales pitch trying to get rid of the canned food that he and Joe were carrying in their canoe.

Cheese, beef stick, Lite-lunch, soup and hot chocolate, tea or coffee rounded out the meal. Following lunch we decided to go on to Scofield point in Churchill Lake, which took us another eternity. Finally we made it, then the wind died and the sky cleared up. The wind always dies down after you stop paddling. Scofield point was a beautiful campsite, but I was so tired I couldn't really enjoy it. Early to bed again.

Before going to bed, Al R had set up an ingenious alarm system to warn of animals at our food; an aluminum plate on top of each pack basket. It worked so well it kept us awake chasing off the raccoons. Al S and Joe did most of that duty. Even so the raccoons got some of our 50 bags of bannock and some other food, but we still had plenty.

Tuesday morning we woke up in the fog, had breakfast and left with high hopes for a great day. Not long after leaving, we spotted a moose on the shore through the mist and paused to take some photographs. The fog soon burned off and we had a cloudless sky and a light wind from the south. At Churchill Dam, we decided to run Chase Rapids with loaded canoes. No one had any problems and we all enjoyed the several miles of class II rapids. During this stretch we came across another moose, they seemed very used to seeing canoes drifting by with cameras clicking. At the bridge we stopped for lunch, good old moldy bagels again, and then on to Umsaskis Lake. As we entered the lake, thanks to Al R, we rigged a sail. The wind had picked up out of the south, and the four canoes, side by side sailed through Umsaskis Lake, the Thoroughfare, Long Lake, all the way to Long Lake Dam without taking the sail down. That day we had covered 23 miles with very little effort. What a way to go: Tuesday will be long remembered as a super day.

We reached Long Lake Dam about 5:00 p.m. and after getting tangled and untangled from the sail a few feet above the dam, we reached shore and set up camp. Supper was "Ala Carte" on rice and it tasted great.

One of the amusements was trying to forecast the weather. Al R brought a 'weather forecaster' in which you decide what types of clouds, wind, etc., and it tells you what the weather will be. It seemed to work fine but that night no one had a good forecast, we were all afraid of the south wind.

Wednesday morning with the wind still blowing from the south, I crawled out of the tent to the sound of "Happy Birthday" being sung by the gang. Thanks! After breakfast we ran the Long Lake Dam, but that didn't work out too great. I put a hole in my canoe on the infamous spike, Al R and Dick in Al R's canoe tore the outer layer of ABS down to the foam and Al and Rosie dented their canoe all on the same (?) spike. My advice is carry or line the dam. So far my birthday was off to a great start. One I won't forget for many years. Thank goodness for duct tape.

Shortly after leaving camp, with the wind still at our backs we passed a moose having breakfast, later on another moose. We came within about 15' and they didn't seem at all concerned. This was a short day, we had lunch at Inlet on Round Pond and then moved on to Turk Island, previously known as Jalbert Island, to try to avoid the wind. The move didn't help much, however. We put up two tarps to try to break the wind, but they didn't help much and then tore. Dinner was ham cooked in maple syrup and hash browns. Dessert of birthday cake complete with Oscar the Grouch candle topped off another super meal. By the time the cake was cooked in Al's reflector oven, (or should I say Dick Allen's, thanks, Dick, we appreciated it) we were getting tired.

While we were cooking the meal, a deer walked up to within 50' of our camp, watched us and then wandered off. Each night since the raccoons raided our camp at Scofield point, we hung up our food at night. This was quite a feat, as anyone who has gone on a trip with Al R knows. One thing we did was eat very well. The 3 pack baskets, insulated bag and Al and Rosie's frame pack made quite a sight hung in the air. After dinner and cake it started raining, really pouring so another early night.

We got up about 6:00 a.m. each morning, partially due to bladder capacity. This was quite an effort since most mornings the temperature was about 350, and that warm sleeping bad sure felt good. The pressure in the bladder usually won out. The rain and wind finally stopped sometime in the night when a cold front passed through. At that point, we all snuggled deeper into our sleeping bags, quite a temperature drop.

In the morning we had a hot water breakfast and paddled on into a cold north wind. After paddling the dreaded (?) Musquacook deadwater, we stopped at Cunliffe Depot for lunch. Some of us were cold so we put on extra clothing. The river by this time was relatively shallow and reading the gravel bars became a challenge. Our leader Al started foaming at the feet at some of these gravel bars, since the dish soap opened in his pack and saturated his sneakers. I don't think any of us escaped with dry feet, or cleaner feet than Al's. After Cunliffe Depot the river turned east and the wind was not as bad so some of the extra clothing came off. We reached Allagash Falls about 3:00 p.m., set up camp, explored the falls and then washed, generally for the first time this week. The sun was really quite warm out of the wind. It felt good to be rid of 5 days dirt and to put on some clean clothes.

While we were cooking supper, some Canada Jays decided to take some of the food. They were very tame and would take saltines out of hands and off hats. Someone substituted an onion for a saltine, but the jay didn't want that. It sat on Al S's hat looking around the table and decided to sample Rosie 'S smoked oysters.

Supper was noodles with spaghetti sauce. This was, as usual, great. Then with some leftover sauce, Al made a bannock pizza, also very good. That night we had 2 cakes, one from the reflector oven and one from Rosie's new dutch oven. Both were delicious. Rosie decided the hot coals from the fire were definitely better than the sterno provided with the oven. This evening, like the evening at Scofield point, was perfect. No wind and a good fire. We stayed up late in front of the fire, at least until 8:45!

The portage around Allagash Falls turned out to be pretty easy. We took the canoes around at night and the gear in the morning, and were away at our usual time, about 8:30. The river continued wider still and gravel bars became more numerous. At Allagash Village we had lunch, the last of the moldy bagels and canned lunch food. Joe decided his blisters could use a rest, so Al R arranged for Joe's truck to be brought up from St. Francis. We unloaded all our gear and ran the St. John empty. After a week of paddling with 200 extra pounds of gear, it felt good. We reached Pelletier 'S in St. Francis about 3:00 p.m. Joe already had our tents up for us and met us at the river's edge with his truck to help get our gear up to the camp.

Supper in Fort Kent, at Dubois restaurant, was good but not necessarily better than the great meals on the river. We all said our faces felt hot, probably because this was the first time we had been out of the wind and the cold in many days. Next morning we had the first frost of the trip and getting out of that warm sleeping bag was extra tough. The trip home was long, certainly not the high point of the trip.

When I think back to this trip I will remember:

  • Sailing through Umsaskis and Long Lakes
  • Waking up to the sound of raccoons playing drums with the plates
  • The great food Al R and his assistants prepared for us each day
  • The gang singing Happy Birthday to me as I crawled out of the tent
  • Paddling 68 miles down (or was it up) Eagle Lake
  • The cakes we had every night
  • The water coming into my canoe after hitting the spike
  • The Canada Jays taking the crackers off Al's hat
  • Watching as Al and Rosie paddled ahead of us
  • Joe's longing for the Molson that he never did find
  • A great bunch of people who made the trip a great success despite the mediocre weather.
George McIntosh

West River (Ball Mountain Dam Release): Sat.-Sun., October 11-12,1980

Participants: Saturday-Dick Allen, Arthur Allen, Greg Lough, Janet Brunet, Al Roberts, Al and Rosie Stirt, Alison Hill, and Mary Woodruff (4 kayaks, 1 Cl, 3 canoes)
Sunday-Dick Allen, Arthur Allen, Greg Lough, Alison Hill, and Mary Woodruff (2 kayaks, 1 C1, 1 canoe)

This truly was a weekend of wondrous experiences.

Plans were made by the overnighters ten days before our trip. We quickly learned that we were about a month late for campground reservations. We did, however, arrange for a site at Bald Mountain private campgrounds in Townshend, which worked out satisfactorily.

Saturday: The weather was a bit chilly and rainy but that did not dampen our spirits, only our peanut butter sandwiches.

We arrived at the Jamaica State Park Campgrounds around 10:30 and quickly melted into the colorful throng of boat toting paddlers. A quick scan of the many license plates convinced us we could not complain about our 2 1/2 hour drive.

We quickly suited ourselves, checked gear and put in right in Jamaica State Park at Salmon Hole. There was a ferry service up to Ball Mountain Dam, the upper section of the river, but our group was not interested.

We had an entertaining run to the Rt. 30 bridge beyond Salmon Hole with lots of rapids, waves, and a few challenging drops. This was Rosie's first river in a kayak and Alison's second white-water.

We took out for lunch, easily thumbed back to the park for cars, ferried boats, ate lunch amid sprinkles (those soggy sandwiches) and put in again at Salmon Hole for a second run. This trip we took out at the Rt. 100 bridge.

The river was buzzing with activity with the Ball Dam paddlers taking out at Salmon Hole, but once we moved down river, the congestion thinned out and any paddlers encountered provided some friendly exchanges.

During our afternoon run, there was time to play in the waves or in Janet's case, time for a swim.

The general consensus was that our day was well spent and even though we were cold, tired and hungry, the overnighters were glad of a second day to run the river on Sunday.

Sunday dawned beautifully bright, but bitterly cold and windy and no one was anxious to get on the river. So, after a leisurely breakfast and breaking camp, we headed for Jamaica State Park and walked along the river just short of Ball Dam. The sights we observed provided much more motivation than was necessary.

First there was a slalom course with kayakers gracefully swishing their way in and out, around and through, with inspirational ease. Just up river was a tremendous hole, which provided experienced paddlers with a chance to do countless enders, pop-ups and interrupted pirouettes which were a delight to observe from dry ground.

After this appropriately motivating morning, we finally put in below Salmon Hole. We observed a few people swimming the rapids and helped rescue some of their gear, which was not tied down. How they got their boat out with only one rescued paddle is unclear. We heard several comments that the river seemed high and faster than the day before.

Again we had an enjoyable run, took out after the Rt. 30 bridge for lunch and then proceeded down the river to the Rt. 100 bridge.

It was during the last leg of the trip, on the last drop that Alison and I got caught where only a closed boat should have been. (At least that's our story.) The waves truly were higher than Saturday so high, in fact, that they came in the boat . . . all 5 of them. So after an exhilarating swim ashore, with our boat, we got things righted and paddled to our take out and dry clothes.

This was a weekend of wondrous experiences.

Mary E. Woodruff

Gauley River-West Virginia: October 1980

Participants: Dick Trudell, Paul Pribula, Dave Stanley, Jim Michaud

This trip was scheduled for the release from Summersville Dam. During the release period, water levels are "guaranteed" on the Gauley and, as such, it attracts hundred of boaters and rafters.

I left Burlington on Friday noon and met my buddies near Pennsylvania. By switching drivers and driving all night, we arrived in Summersville at 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning (obviously well rested for this class V run) . At the base of the dam there is a large parking area which was packed with kayakers and rafting companies. We had hoped to meet up with a couple of guys we had paddled with on the spring trip to West Virginia, and after searching for a while, found them in the crowd. We ended up with about 10 in our party and as I learned during the trip, I was in good company. Two of our group had made the 1st descent on the Gauley in 1968, we had the former and current C-l champs, the AWA safety chairman, and a couple of the strongest paddlers I've seen.

The first noticeable thing about the Gauley is its temperature - no, not cold, but warm - lukewarm, in fact. The water sits in the Summersville Reservoir in the West Virginia sun until the fall releases, and by that time, has soaked up plenty of warmth. A pleasant difference from paddling between ice flows up here The second thing you notice is the bronze plaque to Bob Taylor who died on the Gauley a few years back.

The Gauley quickly lives up to its nickname - the "Golley". It is a drop-pool river with everything from huge crashing waves to ender holes. There are 100 rapids on the paddled section of the river, but you only remember the major ones - those with the class V or VI ratings. The first major rapid is called "insignificant", a highly misleading name, consisting of long rapids and big holes. About an hour into the trip you come upon "Pillow Rock". This is a 25' drop over 50 yards of holes where the water piles up onto a huge rock forming a pillow before the final drop. We scouted it for a long time before running, but I guess I should have scouted it longer, because it ate me up. Two days later when we ran it again I made a clean run.

The next major rapid is "Lost Paddle" - 200 yards of huge crashing waves and holes. No problem the 1st day, but on the second run, I had to roll up twice in it just to get to the bottom. The next major drop was "Iron Ring". It didn't look that bad, but it had a class VI rating. I found out why soon enough. The 1st wave was a curler that flipped me upside down and threw me into a bailing hole. The river then sucked me out of my boat while I was still upside down. I climbed back in and tried to roll, but there was nothing left in me - the swim was long. On the next run, I portaged "Iron Ring". I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid.

A little further into the run, you come upon "Sweet Falls" where the river narrows and goes over a 10 ft. drop into a foamy hole - it looks like hell, but not too difficult.

A few more class IV's and V's brought us to Peter's Creek. At this point you have done 16 miles and there is 8 miles remaining. Most everyone leaves their boats here and walks out about a 1/2 mile on the railroad tracks.

The next day you walk back in for the last 8 miles on the river. Since this is a shorter run, you have more time for playing. I don't remember much about this section of the trip -it seemed like one big rapid with some memorable holes and a long cold wait at the end. I do remember, a completely unexpected backender at the bottom of an "easy" drop.

On the following day, we reran the upper 16 miles. Needless to say we were pretty tired that night. By mutual agreement (and without much argument), we cancelled the 2nd run on the lower section and started the long drive home.

It's a tremendous river - I only wish it were closer to home.

Dick Trudell

1981 Whitewater Training Program


  1. Blackboard Session:
    Tuesday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m.
    at the Burlington Electric Department Auditorium
    585 Pine Street, Burlington

  2. Pool Sessions:
    Monday, March 30 from 5 - 7 p.m.
    Basic Open Canoe Strokes
    University of Vermont Pool

    Tuesday, March 31 from 5 - 7 p.m.
    Roll Session and Closed Boat Strokes
    University of Vermont Pool

  3. River Trip:
    Time and place to be determined based on river levels and conditions

  4. There will be two or three informal follow-up river sessions, held subsequently, for new paddlers.

  5. Advanced Beginners and Intermediates will have a special weekend for learning advanced river paddling and rescue techniques.
    Place and date to be announced.

Whitewater Schedule

Date Leader Phone River Comment
3/29 Sun. Larry Thomson 434-3454 Mad or Lewis Creek What's open
4/4 Sat. Len Carpenter 863-6236 Huntington
4/5 Sun. Peter Alden 863-6585 Huntington or L. Lamoille
4/11 Sat. All Leaders Mad River Training Trip
4/12 Sun. Norm Lavoie 863-5456 Lamoille River Upper or Lower?
4/18 Sat. Tom Conlon 223-7347 Wait's River If open
4/19 Sun. Al Roberts 878-3187 President's Choice Easter
4/25 Sat. Dick Allen 878-3853 White River
4/26 Sun. Peter Alden 863-6585 U. Lamoille
5/2-5/3 Sat.-Sun. Ray Gonda 864-4067 West River Hudson River Derby Weekend
5/9 Sat. Dick Allen 878-3853 Dick's Choice
5/10 Sun. Al Roberts 878-3187 L. Lamoille Mother's Day
5/16-5/17 Sat.-Sun. Fred Jordan 223-3935 NY State Rivers
5/24-5/26 Sat.-Mon. Peter Alden 863-6585 Overnight on Hudson from Newcomb, NY, other NY Rivers Memorial Day Weekend
5/30-5/31 Sat.-Sun. T.B.A.   New York River If water is still high
6/13-6/14 Sat.-Sun. Al Roberts 878-3187 Androscoggin Overnight

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.

Page Views: Link CheckerValid XHTML 1.0Valid CSS
© 1996-2021 The Vermont Paddlers Club
Report a Bug
The 'My Favorites' list uses cookies...
Add this page to 'My Favorites' Remove this page from 'My Favorites' Trip Reports Message Boards Site Map
Current PHP version: 7.4.8