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Bow and Stern - June 1, 1988

Bow and Stern - - June 1988

Bow and Stern

June 1988

A Message from the President

June, 1988 and another season of unpredictable weather is behind us. This year we had a phenomenally warm, sunny day for the canoe school river trip followed by clouds, cold, and low water for the rest of April. The Hudson was low enough for open boats by April 20. Then, some rains came, the rivers rose, and we had a number of excellent weekends in May. All in all, not a bad spring season.

The upcoming summer season has strong schedules for both flatwater and whitewater plus a tubing trip and the kayak school. Those interested in flatwater should take special notice, as there is a schedule of one evening midweek trip each week for six weeks from late June through July. No matter what your paddling wishes may be, there should be some trip of interest for you.

Hope to see you on the rivers,

From the Editor

This summer issue of the Bow & Stern was assembled well before the June meeting and I want to thank all the trip report writers for being so helpful by submitting their reports promptly! One person even submitted a report twice when the editor claimed to have lost the original...

Everyone is invited to contribute reports of boating trips that are not on the "official" schedules. Let's hear what everyone is up to. One paddler who participated in the Dragon Boat Races in Australia this spring submitted a report over the phone which goes to show that trip reporting doesn't have to be difficult and your trip can be anywhere!

Special thanks for contributions to this issue go to Al Roberts for the whitewater schedule, to Joan Hughes for the flatwater schedule, to Ray Gonda for the conservation update, and to Chuck Thompson for contributing his cartoons (and doing so on 24 hour notice)!

You can send reports, announcements, or classifieds to myself at 259 South Willard Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401 for inclusion in the March issue of the Bow & Stern.

Happy paddling,
Pat Ezekiel

The "Who to Contact If You Have Any Questions" List

President Rich Larsen 878-6828
Vice President Mike Fullerton 456-8701
Treasurer Cathy Chamberlain 863-3067
Secretary Charlie Thompson 878-2536
Membership Cathy Chamberlain 863-3067
Whitewater Schedule Alan Roberts 899-4129
Education/Safety Anne Chetham-Strode 434-2599
Open Boat Clinic Ray Gonda 862-6164
Closed Boat Clinic Jay Appleton 985-2592
Publicity Bet Dews or
Terri Borden
Water Resources
Ray Gonda 862-6164
Bow & Stern Pat Ezekiel 864-9217

Announcements ~ Notices ~ Classifieds


Alice Astarita has put together the following roster of paddlers who are sometimes looking for partners to paddle tandem. To sign up call Alice at 658-2671.

Olga Vrana Burlington 863-0295 novice has canoe
Alice Astarita Colchester 878-0953 eve, 658-2671 day novice has canoe
Murray Brenner Winooski 655-5506 eve, 655-2121 day novice does not have canoe
Lynn Heckman S. Burlington 658-4711 novice has canoe
Eve Pranis Charlotte 425-3845 eve, 863-1308 day novice has canoe
Tom Kastner Marshfield 426-3734 intermediate has canoe
Dick Katzman Waterbury 244-5298 day or 244-5567 novice has canoe
Paul Hyde Essex Junction 879-7508 eve 769-9716 novice has canoe
Ed Leclair Burlington 864-7472 novice has canoe
Jill Rippe Burlington 865-2704 intermediate has canoe

INTERESTED IN A RESCUE CLINIC?: If enough paddlers indicate an interest Ray Gonda will present a rescue clinic sometime this summer. For more information and to express your interest contact Alice Astarita (see phone number above) or Joan Hughes (655-7301).

FOR SALE: Farmer John wetsuit. Body Glove men's ML. $40.00.

FOR SALE: Romer whitewater helmet. Red. $10.00. Jay Appleton. 985-2592.

FOR SALE: NVCC decals. $1.50. Cathy Chamberlain. 863-3067.

FOR SALE: Illiad kayak paddle. 208 cm. $30.00. Pat Ezekiel. 864-9217.

FOR SALE: Tn Star canoe. 16' fiberglass with wood gunwales and seats. 70 pounds. Unique two color designs (black or green and yellow). $550. Charlie Thompson. 878-2536.

1988 Northern Vermont Canoe Cruisers Decked Boat Clinic

Purpose: The purpose of this clinic is to teach basic decked-boat paddling skills and safe river running techniques, such that clinic participants should be able to paddle class II rapids safely with a reasonable degree of confidence.
Focus: The focus of the clinic curriculum is on paddling skills and whitewater river running. Persons desiring to learn paddling skills without whitewater can participate in lake sessions and are not obligated to attend river sessions. Interested sea kayakers are encouraged to sign up.
Requirements: Eligible participants must be strong swimmers (capable of swimming 100 yards), and have a commitment to learn. For equipment, participants must have a seaworthy kayak or C-1, functioning float bags, paddle, spray skirt, whitewater-type helmet, and a properly fitting lifejacket. Persons under 16 years of age must be accompanied be a legal guardian. Persons with disabilities will be decided upon on a case-by-case basis.
Cost: $25 per boater.
Size Limit: 15 boaters
Schedule: Opening Meeting Wed. 6/29, 7 PM
219 Aiken Center, University of Vermont

Flatwater Paddling -Instruction and Practice: 6/30 - 7/15

Intro to Whitewater: Sun. 7/17

Whitewater Weekend: 7/23 - 7/24

Contact: Jay Appleton, NVCC Decked-Boat Clinic Coordinator
107 Falls Rd. Shelburne, VT 05482
656-3269 (day) 985-2392 (eve)
To register, mail in form below to above address:

NAME: _________________________________________ AGE: _______

ADDRESS: ___________________________________________________

PHONE: _____________________ TYPE OF BOAT: _________________

Conservation Corner & Water Resources


On Jan 29 the Alliance won a state level award. In a letter signed by Donald Hodel, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Alliance was notified that it placed as semifinalist in the national awards. Fifty semi- finalists were chosen from among over 500 entrants nationally. Representatives of the Alliance have been invited to Washington to attend an awards ceremony this summer.


Representatives of Boise-Cascade, Missisquoi Associates, Bechtel Corporation, the State Agency of Natural Resources and the Cruisers met in April to discuss releases for recreational paddling at Sheldon Springs. Due to delays in project completion and other reasons, paddling won't begin until the spring of 1989. The discussions were direct, very friendly and progressed in the same cooperative spirit in which the original agreement was cast. They covered mostly the substance of the agreements and how they would be implemented. Boise-Cascade representatives discussed their concerns about site security, liability, access and the need to control it (not restrict it). Paddlers discussed their needs and concerns. The state fish and wildlife department officials also discussed theirs. It was an educational affair around the entire table. Later, a brief tour with the project manager pointed out the work (at fair expense) put into developing the paddling put-in site. The take-out area has not yet been prepared.

Ray Gonda and John and Julie Schroeder made a subsequent trip to the site to hike the temporarily dry riverbed. Ray came back with a fairly complete set of slides of the exposed riverbed and several dangerous obstacles. This information will be valuable for safety reasons when we start paddling there. The only word adequate for describing this rapid and its bed is "incredible" and even that falls short. It turns out that the site has caught the attention of a Canadian who wanted to but couldn't attend the meeting. He apparently was quite enthusiastic about the possibilities the site offers.

Between now and 1989 some advertisement of this site needs to be undertaken through club members ... perhaps word of mouth. A list of paddlers capable and desirous of paddling the site needs to be generated. Also other clubs both in New England and Canada need to be contacted before 1989.

For those who aren't aware of it, the opportunity created for paddlers at this site and the success of the process that brought it about is pretty much of a national precedent-setter. The history of paddlers fighting for whitewater has been one of proving that an existing site has had enough use to justify continuing paddling there. In this case there was no previous use of the site for paddling. The caution here for the average paddler is that one should be somewhere in the range of good and aggressive to being a hair paddler to paddle this one.


Ray Gonda received a letter from Ken Fisher, Jr. addressed to the Vermont Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club (now disbanded) concerning the releases for recreational paddling. It seems that the Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation feels that not enough paddlers attend these weekends. The feeling is that it is really the Fish & Wildlife Department which is the motivation behind this "concern". In the history of conservation published in last June's Bow & Stern, a task force was mentioned which would meet annually on this subject. Unfortunately it never had a meeting beyond the first one. It is prudent at this point to make an effort to reactivate these meetings and continue dialog on these releases. Cruiser presence and initiative is going to be required here.

As a reminder, the club had legal party status as an intervener on one of the hydro-power proposals at Ball Mountain Dam. On the next hydro-power project proposal the state took the case developed by the Cruisers and adopted it as their position, actually using the Cruiser documentation.


For those of you with the need to know, here's the law as it relates to "where you can place your feet" when it comes to land ownership and river access. To put it simply you can place your feet most anywhere but dry land if the stream or body of water is "boatable".

The term "boatable" has been interpreted by the Vermont Supreme Court very liberally in "Thomas vs. Clark" in 1965. In particular for paddlers, it means that if you can run "paddle or float" a particular stream at any time of the year or paddle the backwaters of a lake or pond or river then you can also wade in those waters even if over private land in pursuit of recreational goals. "The cases, in fact, seem to hold that if the waters are suitable for floating the smallest crart - canoes, rafts, rowboats, logs ,etc. they may will qualify (as being boatable) ... the constitution does not require that the waters be actually used for some form of commerce, now or in the past. The test (of boatability) is satisfied if it is capable of such use whether or not it is ever made in fact ... One may not make use of adjoining private lands without the consent of the owner ... The ground under the boatable water is as public as the water itself."

This obviously has great importance for fishermen. But for paddlers it also means that the following hypothetical threat is not backed up by law, "I can't stop you from canoeing "over" my property but if you step out of that canoe, I shoot you and your canoe"!! (In Vermont many deeds run under the river to beyond the opposite shore or in many cases to the middle of the river.) however this does not give one the right to walk on the dry shore or anchor one's boat to the shore without consent of the landowner. (The law applies different criteria to hunting, shooting or trapping than it does to fishing and other forms of water-borne recreation.) The bottom line message is, "Keep your feet in the water if walking."

That's the good news. The bad news is that access to all of our bodies of water and streams is getting increasingly more restrictive at an alarming rate ... since the law does not give one the right to cross private property in order to get to the body of water or river or stream.

For example, just 5 days before the whitewater clinic this year the lower take-out access on the Mad River was locked in an ice jam. Just 100 yards upstream was a perfect takeout which would have allowed the last and best rapid to be included in the clinic. In the middle of this gentle slope was a sign atop a pole stuck in the soil facing the road stating "no trespassers -- violators will be prosecuted" I spent 2 days trying to determine how and whom to contact to get permission to take out there.

The takeout on the lower West River is private property with only the A.M.C. given express permission to use. Cruisers have no such permission. We take out there renegade-style as do most other people. This land could easily be sold or otherwise lost as an access site.

The grove of pines at the Fish Hatchery on the White River was used by the club as a takeout years ago. It's now posted.

One of the unexpected negative twists of newer land preservation techniques ... the purchase of easements at less then full purchase price of property can be used by private out of state fishing clubs to purchase "fishing rights" for just their club members on rivers like the White. This effectively denies access across these strips of land for you and I. This idea has been used in other countries. Try fishing for salmon when running the Moise River in Quebec. If you get caught, not unlikely since the river is patrolled by plane, you are likely to have your gear confiscated, if not transported away from your trip to the shelter of a distant jail. Such ownership of "rights" is common in Eastern Canada. Orvis owns access rights to much of the Battenkill river in the area of Manchester. It will happen on the White.

To summarize, access to our waterways is a problem and is going to become a much bigger problem at an accelerated rate. The fact that the Governor's primary legislative focus this last session was on growth legislation was more than just an attempt to deal with "urban sprawl". Although it is certainly not necessary to read it in order for one to see the trends cited in the "Costle Report" (Governor's Commission on Growth Report) it warns of decreasing access to outdoor recreational opportunities because of growth. Keep this in mind and keep you eyes "posted" for restricted access next time you go canoeing. I'm sure it will be an eye opener.

At the last club meeting, the idea of a registration of canoes and kayaks as a way to obtain funds for purchase of access to rivers, lakes, ponds and streams was voted into oblivion. I agreed with the prevailing sentiment, which was valid enough, even though the arguments used against it weren't particularly supportable. But the issue of decreasing access remains...and a resolution voted down solves nothing.

Therefore, on to proposal number 2, which you will be hearing more of in the coming year. It is a proposal which the club should across-the-board state tax on all outdoor recreational equipment, be it hunting, skiing, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, etc., say on the order of ???

1986 Whitewater Canoeing Clinic

The clinic went very well this spring with 20 open boat students participating. This is the smallest number we've had in memory and several of them were repeats. The UVM pool, though less accessible for getting canoes into, was much better suited for the purpose than the YMCA pool. The river trip was on the Mad. We enjoyed ideal unseasonably warm and clear weather with a perfect water level. The weather was perfectly "McIntosh"! A party at the Gonda residence followed the river session with about 20 people...about half students.

Having the decked boat clinic separated from the open boat was a plus for logistics. It appears also that the visibility and interest created by the open boat clinic served as an advertisement for the decked boat clinic this summer.

As always thanks goes to the instructors who really made it happen.

Trip Reports

Huntington River: March 27, 1988

Participants: Peter Alden, Bill Gerlack, Joan Hughes, Gary Unger (all OC-1), Tom Kastner and Eve Pranis, Jack McKnight and Leigh McDonald, Al Roberts and Cathy Chamberlain (all OC-2), Dave Behany, Melanie Israel, and Susan Nutter (all K-l)
Weather: A cold and miserable day

Joan, Al and I got up early to check out the river level. (It was too high the previous day when Chuck Thompson has scouted it.) To tell the truth, I was sitting in the backseat sipping my hot coffee, hoping someone else would make the "no-go" decision...but we knew that people were anxious to paddle, and the level was good. A noon start time was decided, and we rushed to the phones to get things organized.

As the rains, though light, were falling, the river level did rise, making the trip more aggressive than usual. Bill Gerlack was in his new ME, and a little more intimated. Alas, he swam...he was joined by Joan within a few minutes, and they both agreed - - the water was COLD!!! The kayaks chose to put in at the Audubon Center and play until we joined them. Susan Nutter was driving through Huntington, and stopped to meet us...always prepared with her kayak on her car...she knew Dave and Melanie from the YMCA roll sessions...and joined in the fun.

The cold temperature got all of us, so we took out at the bridge instead of the "gorge"...that way we didn't have a problem with the muddy roads and parking. The hot showers felt good that afternoon...

Cathy Chamberlain

Moose River: April 3, 1988

Leader: Mike Fullerton
Participants: (Mostly hard core) Tom Conlon, Rich Larsen, Sheri Larsen, Eric Bishop (all OC- 1), Alan Roberts and John King, Ray Gonda and Len Carpenter, Fred and Fred, and the four Fosters (all OC-2), and some guy named McIntosh in a kayak

Although the weather was a letdown after the 65 degrees of the training trip the day before, we persevered. The Moose was running medium high (nobody thought to look at the gauge) and was ice free except for the occasional floating berg. At that level, the river is a definite Class III. There are plenty of rocks and the last set of rapids in particular has endless possibilities for the unwary. One boast swam almost at once, but quickly recovered and looked good the rest of the way. Almost. Dr. and Mrs. Foster looked almost casual in their ME-2. These two are going to be good. It didn't keep them from sharing the trip leader's fate in the last one though. The final drop just below the Victory bridge claimed a fearsome toll but practice and experience resulted in rescues without problems. The only losses were a paddle and the leader's L.L. Bean rain pants, which were torn off in a reversal!

Al Rexford, Jay Appleton and Dave Behany slept in and arrived as we were at the last rapid. Eric Bishop joined them for another run. Eric reported a non-eventful descent.

The gauge was then rumored to have been under water! We all owe Ray Gonda a vote of thanks for turning us on to this river.

Mike Fullerton

New Haven River: April 6, 1988

Participants: Len Carpenter, Eric Bishop, Mike Fullerton

"The Bristol Stomp" was an 11th hour trip thought up by Len. We met at Bristol after work, set a quick shuttle, and ran the river. Apparently only a few cruisers have had this experience. More should have it. The New Haven is hard to catch, but a real treat for anyone capable of paddling sustained technical Class III.

Our trip was mostly uneventful, but busy. The river has many corners overflowing with rocks, and even the put-in is a Class III. There are spots where extreme care is necessary because of the possibility of fallen trees, and more than one drop that calls for scouting if not familiar. Ray Gonda has extolled the virtues of this river and he is right. It goes up and down fast, but is well worth the extra effort it takes to find out when it is running.

Mike Fullerton

Lower Lamoille River: April 9, 1988

Participants: 16 or 17 tandem and solo open boats and several kayaks with most of the tandem boats containing relative beginners

The weather was mild for so early a trip and the river was estimated at about 8 feet. Only 2 boats had swimmers - - short swims with good self rescue skills demonstrated. And, the best was that a good time was had by all.

Ray Gonda

Upper Lamoille River: April 10, 1988

Participants: George Agnew and John King, Roger Hassol and Lori Barg (all OC-2), Sheryl Larsen, Rich Larsen, Ray Gonda, Jack McKnight, Cathy Chamberlain, Peter Alden (all OC-1), and Lynn Hackett (K-1)

With the Lower Lamoille running at an estimated 7.5 to 8 feet, the gauge at Greensboro Bend read 3.25 feet, down from 3.5 of the previous evening. It is estimated that 3.25 feet at this gauge corresponds to about 3.0 feet at the gauge at the take-out in Hardwick. The river was close to or at the minimum reasonable runnable level. The tire booms were used and removed just above the motel in Hardwick. Just upriver of the railroad bridge above Hardwick were two booms in the bottom of the river, which appear not to have been used this season. These were the only signs of ice-control structures present. I got my ears washed about half-way through the trip. And, for a second day in a row, a good time was had by all.

Ray Gonda

Dragon Boat Races, Sydney Australia: April 16-17, 1988

Participants: 94 teams from 12 different nations including 2 teams from the U.S. mainland with paddlers from all over the country (including Norm Lavoie)

The races were held in Farm Cove, Australia's largest natural harbor. Each forty foot long boat is paddled by 22 paddlers with 1 drummer and 1 coxswain aboard. Four days of 2 hour practices and two days of racing were scheduled. In the competition 8 boats race at one time. Our boat won both the morning and afternoon qualifying races. On race day our boat came in 3rd in the 2nd day of races, missing 2nd place by 2 seconds, in an exciting photo finish.

Norm Lavoie

White River: April 17, 1988

Participants: John King and Dave Boedy, Bill Schultheis and Linda Miller, Len Carpenter and Sally Spear, Eric Schulz and Steve Dingle, Joan Hughes and Alice Astarita (all OC-2), Al Roberts, Rich Larsen, Sheri Larsen, Roger Hassol, John Sairs, Andrew Nuquist (all OC-1), Melanie Levine, Tom Furland, David Boyden, George McIntosh (all K-1)

Leaving home after getting stuck in the eight inches of fresh snow in my driveway, I had some misgivings about the weather for this trip. Shame on me, the weather turned out great as it usually does for the White River trip. The clouds cleared away and we had mostly sunshine with the temperature getting up close to 60 degrees. A few others must also have had second thoughts since many of the people who called didn't show up. The water was low so we did our share of bumping on rocks but most people seemed to enjoy themselves. At this level people were able to work on various skills in a non-threatening situation. We divided into three groups for the trip. Thanks go to Rich Larsen and Al Roberts for leading the two open canoe groups. Among the kayakers, Melanie managed her first river trip with no swims and David Boyden greatly improved his eddy turns. We had only one swimmer whose equipment was rescued with no problem.

George McIntosh

Hudson River Gorge: April 23, 1988

Participants: Peter Alden, Al Roberts, Tom Conlon, Len Carpenter, Mike Fullerton, Rich Larsen, Eric Schulz, Scott Adelman

The Ammonoosuc trip was diverted because of low water again. The Hudson was at 3.7 before the release. The day started out sunny but clouds and light rain appeared. The temperature dropped and some additional wind chill cooled us all. The usual swims occurred on the Indian and one in the Staircase, but nothing was lost. This trip was a strong party and the trip was enjoyable, but what can you expect in the Adirondacks so early in the season. On the lower Hudson were John King, Dave Boedy, Susan Sonchik, Cathy Chamberlain, and Jim Higgins.

Peter Alden

North Branch, Lamoille River: April 30, 1988

Participants: Eric Bishop, Len Carpenter, Ray Gonda (all OC-1), Alan Plumb (C-1)

Being one of the rivers mentioned in the last issue of the Bow & Stern as in need of being run and having a description written, Eric had been watching the river for some time. He got the opportunity to run it during the week and subsequently hustled a few of us to run it again on the weekend.

The run was from a dirt road crossing down river of Belvidere Pond. The terminus of the trip was above the mill and falls in Waterville, a trip which took over 5 hours. The estimated distance is 10 river miles. The river must be caught at high water. The river crested and was reduced to low levels by the time the Lamoille itself was undergoing ice-out. It flows out of a narrow valley without a great watershed area. The river is remote and beautiful for the first 2 miles and gradually works its way to tough Class III. It is small and intimate with lots of eddies at higher water levels. The first 2 miles terminate with a very risky ledge, at the end of an S-turn, if one chooses to run it via the direct route. One of us failed and had to chase a boat, the others carried. This ledge is visible from the road at the north end of the village of Belvidere.

Another mandatory carry or line occurs just above a covered bridge (there are 5 covered bridges on this run). There is an interesting set of runnable ledges visible from the highway between Belvidere and Waterville. After the road crosses from west to east and flows along a gravelly stretch for about ¾ miles it makes a sharp turn to the right to enter abruptly into a mile long Class III-IV-V gorge depending on water level and is the most continuously technical run I have ever done. After that the next 2 miles or so to Waterville sports a few interesting ledges and some quickwater.

Ray Gonda

Schroon, Hudson, East Branch of the Sacandaga NY: April 30-May 1, 1988

A small group was in attendance for what was originally to be Mike's Frolic but Mike was frolicking elsewhere. So without Mike to guide us we had to frolic on our own. On Saturday we (the author, Poppy, Marvie, and Teo) paddled the Schroon, which was at a delightful level and with no mishaps. For the afternoon's entertainment we did the Hudson from Riparius to the Glen at about 6.7 on the North Creek gauge. This stretch of water at this level is not to be taken lightly (since the author was humbled ever so slightly).

Sunday dawned cool and later became a gorgeous sunny day. Since we lost Poppy from the day before (something to do with a show she had to see) we picked up Richard Hoisington. We set off to do the East Branch of the Sacandaga. The level was a little higher than the last time I had run it and was even more delightful. We had lunch at Griffin, a deserted tanning settlement on the way over to the Schroon. After a nice afternoon run on the Schroon and Teo doing spectacular enders, we headed home to rest up for the next weekend on the rivers.

The Ever So Humble World Famous River Guide Extraordinaire

Indian River/Hudson River Gorge: April 30, 1988

Participants: Jay Appleton, Sue Nutter, Will Peabody, Alan Rexford (all K-1)

The gauge at North Creek read 6.7 feet. The big April storm brought all the streams passed on the way to the Indian up to bank-full capacity, such that some of us worried that the Hudson might be up in the 8's. The author and the other party members were glad it wasn't (except for Will). At 6.7 the Hudson was robust, with some impressive features.

When the Hudson is above 6 feet the sporty Indian becomes more of a warm-up, with its quick drops and closely spaced waves. If one puts-in late, a boater explained to us an interesting technique for catching up with the bubble on the Indian: Running down the right bank on a fishing trail. He and a friend claimed it worked, especially, if you're approaching the flat section.

At the confluence, the Hudson dropped away in large peaked waves. It was wide and powerful. Rapids consisted of lots of large waves (4-5 foot variety), interspersed with medium-to-immense holes. Though fearsome, these holes were easy to avoid. The Narrows and Harris were the most difficult and were scouted. We ran the Narrows (Staircase) down the right through the biggest waves of the trip. Harris (Big Nasty) was completely white and roared. We ran this down the immediate left shore to miss some deep hydraulics. The last rapid was quite fun, and the Greyhound Bus was reminiscent of the Magic hole on the Kennebec. At the take-out we discussed powder skiing and boating about the United States with two guys from Utah who were drinking from a cheap bottle of Scotch.

Jay Appleton

East Branch of the Pemigewasset River NH: April 30, 1988

Participants: Jay Appleton, Sue Nutter, Will Peabody, Alan Rexford (all K-1)

The East Branch of the Pemi was completely different from the Hudson Gorge, which we ran the day before. The Hudson was a wide, deep mass of water surging down its course. The East Branch was technical, often shallow, and remarkably steep in places. The riverbed of the East Branch is a channel of round granite and quartz rocks dropping continuously away to its confluence with the main branch of the Pemigewasset in North Woodstock. This renders the difficulty of the East Branch very sensitive to changes in the river's stage.

We ran the river from the NH route 112 (Kancamagus Highway) bridge, past Loon Mountain ski area, to the town of Lincoln. The gauge, painted on the 112 bridge, read 1 foot. Rapids ranged from Class II to IV, with the Class IV drop at Loon Mountain. The river required constant maneuvering (there were no pools to rest in, only easy rapids and eddies), and would quickly get tricky and powerful where the riverbed steepened. It was clear the although the river looked rather low and unassuming at first glance, at 1 foot it was demanding, and with 6 more inches of water the river would be much more difficult.

Our group of decked boats eddy-hopped the entire run, peeling-out, ferrying, spinning, dodging rocks, and dropping into the next eddy. Surprises were encountered wherever the riverbed steepened, but were avoided with quick competent actions. These made the run exciting. The author recommends the river at one foot or lower for open canoes, bearing in mind the continuous nature of this type of river.

Jay Appleton

Lamoille River Evening Trips: May 4 and 11, 1988

Participants: May 4: Rich and Sheri Larsen, Mike Fullerton
May 11: Rich Larsen, Paul Hyde, George McIntosh

Evening trips were held the first two Wednesdays in May, meeting at the bridge at 5 PM.

On May 4, the weather was warm and clear with the river around 7.5-8 feet on the old scale.

By May 11, it had dropped to more like 6-6.5 feet, a fairly low level, and the weather was cooler. Both trips were pleasant and relaxing, with no problems.

Rich Larsen

New York Rivers: May 7-8, 1988

Participants: Saturday Rich and Sheri Larsen, Jay Kita, Joan Hughes, Jack McKnight, Stephanie Lahar, Leigh MacDonald, Eric Bishop, Tom Furland, Eric Schulz
Sunday: Rich and Sheri Larsen, Mike Fullerton, Bet Dews, Eric Bishop (all OC-1)

The first nice weekend in what seemed like a decade helped make this two day trip to New York a highly successful one. Saturday, 7 open boats and 2 kayaks paddled both the Schroon and the Lower Hudson. Despite a wide ability range we had no major problems.

Stephanie and Leigh had their hands full paddling a Tripper on the Schroon but ran some big standing waves with little trouble. Eric Schulz broke his kayak paddle on the Schroon but was able to rent another in Riparius for the Lower Hudson run.

Most of the group left Saturday night and on Sunday Mike and Bet joined the holdovers for a great Hudson Gorge run. Bet, paddling her new kevlar MJM, took the only serious swim in Staircase. Otherwise, beautiful weather and improving skills made the run very satisfying. The gauge read 4.3 as we headed home.

Eric Bishop

West River Recreational Release: May 14-15, 1988

Participants: Larsen (2), Fullerton, Gonda, Dews, McKnight, Carpenter, Spear, Sonchik, Leonard, Astarita, Slayton, Corrigan, Bishop, Campbell (3), Ezekiel, Nutter, Schulz, Behany, Furland (2), Sprague, Hoisington, Davis, Borden

The West River trip, as usual, was a collage of small, ever changing groups forming for runs on the lower and upper parts of the river. The "guided" part of the trip consisted of a run on the lower river each morning, starting downriver around 11 AM. Each day, six boats made up this group. The take-out, about 1 mile below route 100, was open this year, making for a good stopping point. The weather was good both days. None of the group swam in this part, but there were some anxious moments. The upper river provided its usual excitement, with at least one boater swimming at the bottom of the Dumplings. Since the gauge is out, the release had to be estimated, probably around 1500 cfs, maybe a little more.

Rich Larsen

East Branch of the Sacandaga: May 21-22, 1988

Participants: Phase one: Alan Roberts, Mike Fullerton (both OC-1)
Phase two: Mike Fullerton, Len Carpenter, Ray Gonda, Tony Ryan, Adrian Brown (all OC-1), Marvie Campbell, Tea Campbell, Richard Hoisington (all K-1)

This was to be a two day adventure in the Gorge, but an Saturday only Al and myself were able to get away. We found the river at 5 feet without the release (5.65 feet with it) and decided that it was not the place to be with only two boats. We scouted the East Branch of the Sacandaga and found it at approximately 6.0 feet (Griffin gauge) and lots of fun. This is a two-mile stretch of continuous Class III. After lunch we paddled 6 miles of the river, but it offers only one wave/hole combination and a short Class III. A great stretch for bird watchers though. Below it lies Griffin Gorge, which is an unrunnable deathtrap.

On Sunday I exchanged Al for 7 other boaters and as the Hudson was still at 5 feet, we went again to the East Branch. Tony and Adrian had been on the Hudson the day before and expressed no desire to go back at 5 feet. We ran the East Branch twice, a heck of a good time, and retreated in the face of a loud, wet thunderstorm. The East Branch is a real treat, but from what I hear, tricky to catch with enough water.

Mike Fullerton

Lower Rouge River, Quebec: July, 1987 then August, 1987

Participants: July: (OC1) Ray Gonda , (K1) Pat Ezekiel, Tim Marugg, Cindy Sprague
August: (OC1) Ray Gonda, (K1) Tim Marugg, Cliff Morgan

During the 4th of July Dead River trip, after having run the lower Kennebec Gorge with the club, I met a man who had just completed the entire Gorge in an open canoe. That evening I visited him at his camp (he was a raft guide in the summer). We discussed his experiences after which I decided to give it a try the next morning provided the weather was sunny and clear. I would have been on the river alone, unfortunately, except for the groups of commercial rafts. In his opinion, being accompanied by closed boats probably wouldn't be much help in an upset other than perhaps psychological. Open boats would be even less helpful. The safety coverage would have to be accomplished by carefully timing the run segments to coincide with the rafts. The weather next morning was not clear, so the idea ended there. But I was determined to come back at a later date. In the interim, discussions with friends about the Gorge directed my attention to the Lower Rouge River. So off I went to conquer the Rouge, although, somewhat reluctantly because I was aware of a reputedly tough ½ mile carry near the end of the trip. I knew that Chris Green had already successfully run the lower section in an explorer several years ago without upset or mishap. So I figured, it couldn't be that bad, right? ...WRONG! Chris must have had water wings on that trip!

When we got there Tim was delighted with the water level. Tim and Cindy ran the first big drop; Pat walked. When the guides saw me get caught in the hole at the top of this steep (but short) drop and swim the drop, they were somewhat aghast and asked if I knew what was downriver. My carefully worded response indicated that Tim knew the river. All the dozens of raft passengers, in dead silence, stared at me either in complete awe or with utter incredulousness. By the time we got to within sight of the bend that led to the Washing Machine the river had progressed gradually over a ½ mile to a rating of class 4. When we got to the section of rapid which led around a bend into a gorge containing the drop above the Washing Machine, I insisted on scouting from the cliffs on river left. The following is what I saw.

From the solid continuous class 4 leading to the bend (the river drops quite steeply here) the next ¼ mile was even steeper and solid class 5, terminating in a huge hole called the Washing Machine. After that the next ¼ mile or more appeared to be a continuous sequence of rollers and waves with no perceptible negotiable route. The route to the Machine would have meant crossing to the right side of the river to a "must catch" eddy to avoid a hydraulic half the river wide and centered in the river. To the left of this hole were two more keeper hydraulics downriver. To the right and slightly downriver was another "must avoid" hole. The route to the Machine would have meant leaving the eddy, crossing between two holes situated above and below each other, attempting to get to river left across incredibly steep and swift current which led into a giant haystack followed closely by a cliff against which the river split, part recirculating to the right in a boiling eddy, and part being deflected left where within 100 or so feet it went over a 10-15 foot drop, which most people would elect to call a falls, into the Washing Machine. One had to maneuver to the left side of the river to seek a sloping ledge to negotiate this final drop if one were to avoid the worst part. The real attention-getter was when a 10 person raft went over the drop into worst of the Washing Machine, disappeared from sight except for the tops of the passengers' helmets, then reappeared about 60 feet farther down river like a re-surfacing submarine. The whole scene looked like wall-to-wall seething boiling water as far as one could see. Around us the sky was blackening for a summer electrical windstorm, the river was very high and in case I got in trouble while attempting this run there was still the potentially dangerous carry a mile or so downriver to contemplate.

So being the intrepid soul that I am I jumped into my whitewater machine, pointed it's nose downstream with the attitude, "go for it", and paddled into the maelstrom, right? WRONG again!! The sight drained whatever vestiges of resolve I had managed to retain up till that moment. After mumbling some nearly incoherent things and then excusing myself from the group, I put that boat right on top of my head and walked through ankle deep mud along a logging road in a raging storm for over a mile back upriver to a jeep access spot and walked another 3 miles back to the jeep. Pat ran the class 4 entrance rapid to the "must catch" eddy and carried on the right. Cindy and Tim ran the drop successfully. Together they finished the rest of the river.

Having gone all the way to the Washing Machine rapid on the Rouge in July and tasting the disappointment of having to turn back, now August, I was back for another try. The water was low this time which gave me the chance to side-surf some holes on the way to the first big drop. The route through this drop required much more precision at the start this time, the route was barely discernible. I avoided the hole (which I deliberately caught the corner of on the last trip) and I ran it in perfect form to a roar of applause from a crowd of raft people.

Naturally all this made me feel rather confident and smug. By the time we were within sight of the bend in the river above the Washing Machine, I was super confident. We scouted just a short stretch above the bend, I determined that I would catch an eddy which was normally a hole to be avoided at higher water. After swinging out to the middle of the river, then setting a diagonal line back toward the chosen point above the eddy, I found that my tactics were perfect except that I hesitated for 2 strokes thinking I was slightly too high on the rock at the top of the eddy. I wasn't...and the hesitation caused me to be swept sideways downriver into two waves which were generous with the amount of water they spilled aboard. After vainly trying to catch the tail of the eddy I reconciled myself to the "must catch eddy" farther down and across the river. To get there I had to maneuver left around a giant hole on the outside of the bend...just made it...then back to the right by spinning the boat around to face upriver in a ferry...oops, going through a small hole sideways, gotta brace back up darn, more water in the paddle for the opposite shore...good, making re-entering the main current and still making it, riding sideways over a couple of waves...the eddy is just opposite, I'm making it, just hang tough...darn, on my side, what happened, brace back up, darn, on my side again, holding a downstream brace, damn, can't stay up...then all turns green. Foot's stuck, can't get my foot I'm out, darn I'm on the wrong side of the boat...back under the boat, up on the other side, water in lungs, the drop is about 60 feet away..."Tim!! Damn, where are you?" I turn to see his grabloop in my face. "Kick your feet, Ray, hold that canoe!!" "Paddle that kayak, Tim, we're almost in the eddy"...and I realize that of all paddlers I know I feel the most confident with Tim at the rescue...just ten feet more to go! "Let go of the boat, Ray!" ... now louder, "Ray, let go of my grabloop!!"

And that's how I got my introduction to the Washing Machine. Through the entrance hydraulic, into the haystack, through the Mushrooms with water in lungs and water in face most of the time..."God, where is this river taking me?? Cough! Whew, good, I'm not caught in the boiling eddy". During a short calm I succeed in maneuvering my feet downstream just in time to see the horizon line beyond and below which the rafters disappeared in July. "Trust in fate Ray, remember, raft tourists have certainly swam this drop, there are throw lines and a rafting company kayaker below", I think to myself. Now over the edge...all very dark, I'm upside down and spread-eagled, water in lungs, when will I surface? Can I go without air any longer? Be patient, now things are getting lighter...but I don't know if I can hold it any longer...finally I pop to the surface and am relieved to note that I'm moving down river. I breathe in barely enough air and in a short while a kayker pulls me into the eddy. Now that I'm on river right I am able to get a first good look at the drop from top to bottom.

The rest of the river was exciting challenging big water and the ½ mile carry was not as bad as I had anticipated.

Ray Gonda

1988 NVCC Summer/Fall Flatwater Schedule

Date Event Leader/Contact
Jun 22
Wed. eve
Lake Champlain to Juniper Island Tom Furland
Jun 23
Thu. eve
Arrowhead Lake Bill Gerlack
Jun 29
Wed. eve
Lamoille River George McIntosh
Jul 6
Wed. eve
A Huntington Surprise Al Roberts
Jul 9
Adirondack Adventure Dick Allen
Jul 13
Wed. eve
Winooski River at Richmond Rich Larsen
Jul 16
Lower White River
(easy whitewater)
George McIntosh
Jul 19
Tues. eve
Winooski River
(Winooski to E. Allen Homestead)
Charlie Thompson
Jul 23
Flatwater Race
(3 or 6 miles)
Clyde Yarnell
868-4100 or
Jul 27
Wed. eve
Indian Brook Reservoir Rich Larsen
Sep 4
Triathalon Clyde Yarnell
868-4100 or
Sep. 10-11
Northeast Kingdom Paddle
(overnight cabin or tent)
Olga Vrana (863-0295)
Joan Hughes (655-7301)
Sep 17
Missisquoi River Cathy Chamberlain

1988 NVCC Summer Whitewater Events

Date Event Difficulty Leader/Contact
Jun 18-19
Androscoggin River NH N-I George McIntosh
July 2-3
Dead River Release ME** I Mike Fullerton
July 9-10
Rapid River ME** E Ray Gonda
July 16
Lower White River N George McIntosh
July 16-17
Lower Rouge River, Quebec E Ray Gonda
July 23
Annual Tubers' Frolic N Rich Larsen
Aug 13-14
Jacques Cartier, Quebec I Alan Roberts
Aug 20-21
Androscoggin River NH N-I Charlie Thompson
Sep 3-5
Dead River Extravaganza ME** I Alan Roberts
Sep 17-18
Hudson Fall Release NY E Ray Gonda
Sep 24-25
Hudson Fall Release NY E Rich Larsen
Oct 1-2
West River Release N-I-E Alan Roberts
Oct 8-9
Hudson Fall Release NY E Mike Fullerton
Difficulty: N-novice I-intermediate E-experienced

Due to unforseen level changes and glut or dearth of water, trips are subject to last minute changes.

Due to the same unforseen level changes the Hudson Gorge may become runnable during the summer. Contact either Larsen (878-6828) or Roberts (899-4129) if interested.

During the Fall releases (typically mid Sept. to mid Oct.) trips will be run on the Hudson Gorge. Contact the weekend coordinator or Roberts.

Trips rated as N are suitable for paddlers with good flatwater skills. The tubing trip is suitable for all. However PFD's are still required.

Some trips such as the Dead River ME require advance notice so that the proper arrangements can be made. So express your interest early and confirm it as the trip approaches.

The Rapid River in Maine requires a water release, which Ray is negotiating. Express your interest early in these two trips (the Rapid ME and the Rouge PQ) and be flexible as these weekends may move around in July.

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