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Trip Reports

Find trips reports from 2001 and prior in the Bow & Stern Archive
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Geezers Weekend of Creeking Friday-Sunday Apr 7-9, 2006
Lower Lamoille Saturday Apr 8, 2006
White River Saturday Apr 15, 2006
VT to NY Saturday-Sunday Apr 15-16, 2006
Ammonoosuc Saturday Apr 22, 2006
West: Spring 2006 Saturday-Sunday Apr 29-30, 2006
Maine Weekend Thursday-Sunday May 4-7, 2006
Hudson Gorge Saturday May 6, 2006
No-Shuttle Boreas Saturday May 13, 2006
Lower Hudson Saturday May 27, 2006
Dryway Summer Fun Thursday-Sunday Jun 1-Jul 9, 2006
Laps on the Gihon Sunday Jun 4, 2006
Mill Brook, Jericho Saturday Jun 10, 2006
Independence Paddle Party Part Deux (Long) Friday-Tuesday Jun 30-Jul 4, 2006
Hudson Gorge Saturday Jul 8, 2006
Blind leading the Blinder Saturday Jul 15, 2006
CT RVR portion of NFCT Thursday Aug 17, 2006
Moose Fest 2006 Thursday-Friday Sep 14-15, 2006
Home field advantage....NBW Saturday Oct 21, 2006


Geezers Weekend of Creeking
Friday-Sunday Apr 7-9, 2006
Organizer: Lisa Egan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium

Friday we paddled the Lower Ashuelot (NH) class II-IV, What a fantastic warm up to my 2006 paddling season. The river is a decent continuous river, at low level it was running at I don't think it exceeded class 3. The Ashuelot experienced massive flood damage in late 2005. Because of this flood the river is strewn with debris from landslides, buildings and what looks like lots of pool toys.

The river is about 3 miles long and is a great late evening paddle. Although we paddled in our creek boats the river provides plenty of surfing opportunities.

So on to the Main event.(well sort of). Creeking for Geezers (I am a geezer in training). A creek course run by Zoar.

To say the least I was very nervous and scared when I heard on Friday that Bruce was considering putting us on the W.B of the Deerfield (V)..mmmm I think all of us said oh my god we are going to die. Our instructors Bruce and Mo where fantastic. They eased us on to the WB by firstly doing a hardly run section on the upper WB. A nice class II/ III to warm us and practice our basic skills...Nerves were abundant - I think we felt like lemmings being led to our death. The Readsboro falls came all to quickly...This is where the main section starts. Our stomach in our mouths, our knees quaking we began to scout the first drop know as Holey, Holey, Holey - to me and the others it was Holy $%!# Crap. A technical class IV with a not so easy run out. In my mind I knew if I didn't run nerves would continue to get the better of me. I asked if any one else was running it but I was met with the expressions of deers caught in the headlights.

I was one of the last to run it. I paddled slowly down caught the first eddy ferried across to the bank and stared down at the drop with a huge mass of boily white mass below it ready to swallow me up for breakfast and I wasn't sure whether it would spit me out...right about now I was thinking "why oh why do I do this". With a deep breath I paddled towards the drop and plopped down, with a short praise of my self I tackled the next section cheered on by my fellow geezer. We HAD survived. The group's nerves had dissipated and our confidence radiated. Next came a series of IV holey drops, willing to catch any kayaker that even dares to get of line. We all cleaned it again - yeehaa!!

The highlight of the course was being taught to boof...did we master it...of sorts. On this section there is a nice little boof about 6ft high it is perfect for boofing. Bruce had us all run it twice but I think we could have stayed there all day. The river continues on with slightly easier class IV.

We were in are element. Our group had no swims, cleaned most of the lines and we were paddling the infamous W.B of the Deerfield. We didn't run Tunnel Vision...but we weren't disappointed. We had learned a whole host of new skills from Bruce and Mo, but more importantly a lot of us had a much needed confidence boost. what a day. We did two rivers the Warner (IV) and the Blackwater (IV).

I have to say these rivers are very similar. They lull you into a false sense of security. One minute your paddling class 3 then before you know it your running class IV. The Warner..was amazing. The sluice drop we had to run is a prime place to lose paddles. Remember to turn your paddle before you enter, otherwise your either lose your paddle or worse dislocate your shoulder. Thankfully only one of our group dropped thier paddled but recovered well for the next drop.

One of the significant rapids is pinball and pinball it is. A perfect creeky rapid. Unfortunately for one of our group they took a nasty swim but it did allow us to practice our rescue skills when we unpinned the sunken kayak.

If you ever run this you must do the final drop it is actually after the take out, but you can paddle back up stream afterwards. We came to a horizon line which is clearly an unused old dam. Ian paddles hard towards it and disappears...oh my god where did he go. Lisa laughed and said " go on it's safe". Yeah where I have heard that before!!

So I paddle hard and as I go over the edge it like being on slide except this slide has a kicker which threw me in to the air (I am smiling now remembering how much fun it was to run this) and made me land with a huge splash.

The next river was the Blackwater. If you put in at where the guidebook suggests expect a total 2 1/2 miles of flat and 1 mile of whitewater. Of course the flat separates the rapids and the whitewater is definitely worth it...the first rapid (bar an easy class III at the start) is about 1 ½ miles down stream after lot of flat!! And it sucks and it feels like it is never going to end. .

The first drop is a cracker. A weird little 6ft drop, slide or hole depending on where you run it. We decided even though it was followed by pool we should set up safety...did we need it noooo. Our confidence was soaring!!

The Blackwater is then followed by some easy class 3 and flat. Then be prepared for a huge tumbling mass of whitewater and rocks this is known as eggbeater (IV). This rapid is a long and very continous with some ledgy drops that have only one line to run. A couple of our group won the humpty dumpty award for this rapid...the guidebook quotes a swim here would result in a long and bumpy one and any swimmer will win the humpty dumpty award. Two swims and two pinned boats...meant it took us a while to finish this rapid. the eggbeater definitely lived up to its reputation. It also marked the end of the river and the end of a fantastic weekend of paddling.

Lower Lamoille
Saturday Apr 8, 2006
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium

We cancelled the trip as an 'official' trip, since there were only two boats, and the leader thought ACA required three boats. The trip was held as 'unofficial'. We paddled from just below the dam at Fairfax Falls to the takeout on the north shore of the river, just east of the road bridge and west of the railroad bridge. The day quite cold, so we moved right along, only spending 1:30 actually on the river. (The weatherman said it was 40 degrees in Burlington, but there were big icicles hanging from roots on the banks where shaded from the sun - and they were not melting.) The water level was delightful, with a nice mixture of waves and rocks at Two Island Rapid, and all five chutes well defined at the rapid of that name. We saw the usual Lower Lamoille wildlife - Osprey, Mergansers, and Mallards - but no other paddlers on the river. Everyone else must have been staying warm!

White River
Saturday Apr 15, 2006
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium low

The river was fairly low, and the weather was a little uncertain, but a good group of paddlers showed up for the White River trip. The temperature was mostly in the low 60s, but it seemed downright toasty when the sun was out, cool when it was cloudy, and frigid during a short, moderate rainfall. The water was very clear, and the level not as scratchy as I had feared. At the Stoney Brook bridge abutments, we were surprised to see that the rapid had changed significantly in the last year. A few years ago, the channel moved left of the main abutment, and the profile was a constant descent, with some steepening at the abutment. Now, there is a steep, short pitch at the start of the rapid, then a levelling, then the drop at the abutment. Many trees remain in the water along the left shore, dropped in when the bank collapsed, but they at least are now out of the main current. The drops at Gaysville were rumored to have been changed in high water this winter, but at this low level they seemed to be as they had been in the past. One of the boaters tried a little impromptu swimming just above the Gaysville bridge - probably just to spice up some photos that a guy on the bridge was taking - but otherwise there were no problems. We paddled about 9 river miles from the Tweed River put-in to the place on route 107 about 7.5 miles east of the 107-100 intersection. We spent about 3:45 from put-in to take-out, with probably 30 minutes of that being for lunch.

VT to NY
Saturday-Sunday Apr 15-16, 2006
Organizer: Si Wiles
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium low
Author: Cheryl

With a renewed enthusiasm for creeking, I was eager to get out again and challenge myself. Unfortunately the problem was there wasn't any water.

After reviewing the gauges Friday afternoon. We opted to do the following: Saturday Claredon Gorge (Mill) IV, Poultney III (IV), and the Metawee IV - V. We then would drive to Old Forge and on Sunday run the Lower Moose (IV)

Max Koch decided to join us for our Saturday Paddle.

We started on the Claredon a perfect class IV creeky river, which as now become one of my favorite VT runs. The river consists of two gorges with ample class IV drops. The gorges are separated by a short flat section and the second gorge starts with a must portage.

I encountered my first swim on the first gorge...actually we aren't calling it a swim, more of an ejection. Apparently it was quite funny to watch I am bracing on my left when all of a sudden without my hands leaving the paddle I am ejected from the boat...we realize that I need some adjustments to my outfitting!!

Back on the river, Mill drop approaches a beautiful technical class 4 drop. Max runs it several times, while Si and I conserve our engery. We just aren't that young anymore!!

We often see fishermen on this river but to our surprise and my repeated giggles we came across a nudist, who quickly tried to cover up as they were caught unawares...

As we get to the unrunnable drop we carefully make our portage around...only to discover a wide eyed Max eyeing up the last part of the drop while acting out a dry run of running it. Si and I look at each other and can't believe he is considering it....but he is. The narrowness of the drop and the meaty hole gives us cause for concern...but with Saftey set and the camera rolling Max does a great job of making it look runnable.

Still for Si and Me we decide the 15ft Otter launch in to the gorge is a much more appealing option...that is until we see we have to launch off a precarious hanging piece of ice. The Ice just holds out as we launch off.

On the second gorge there is one drop..that is a bit quirky, hardly scoutable we were told last time you either boof right or you end up deep on the right. Max again shows us a new line left, making it look all too easy. Si and I decide to run it together, me following him (I missed the boof last time and ended up in the pot hole ...not nice). As Si approaches the boof he broaches on a rock. Since I was so close I could either knock him off and he would miss the boof, go round him and I would certainly miss the boof or go left on Max's line. I go left...Hard left and shoot at super speed down a small slide...Who ever said the left wasn't runnable!! Si makes the boof and we paddle out a happy crowd.

After some much needed munchies we hit the Poultney (III -IV). The Poultney is great I love those slides...but the flat sections are just a little too long!!

The level was a little low but not scrapey, we complete the run quickly and without too much excitement.

The river looks like a tornado has ripped right through it. It has suffered a huge flood at some point and trees are down everywhere...some will pose a big risk at higher water.

On to the Metawee. I opt out on this, I have had a great day and I think I would be pushing it a little too much on the Metawee.

Si and Max have a great time and they take off the river just before sunset. What a great days paddling.

Si and I head off to Old Forge. We awake to a chilly Easter Sunday. We arrive at the Lower Moose put in and to our surprise no other paddlers...we hang around for a bit but nobody shows. The shuttle was going to be a nightmare!!

We head down in the car to the take out on a hope that some paddlers on the bottom moose would take pity on us and drive us back to the put in (16 miles back). But there isn't any. We could hardy believe it, it was one of the few rivers at a good med flow and no one was here. We decide to walk back to the put in and hitch when ever we could. At that point a car pulls up with a couple of kayaks on the roof and it is a friend of ours. Despite them running late they drive us back to the top...Thanks Andrew we owe you big time!!

We put on, run the first drop and come to Tannery. The site of my 2005 incident. We take off and scout the river it is slightly lower than last time but not by much. But I can see the hole...just waiting to take me again. The nerves bubble and I start panicking. I get Si to repeatedly tell me the lines...he must of thought I was crazy. But I was determined to conquer the run. I make it through totally elated. From that point on I was fine, we ferry across to the center to run a slight harder line instead of taking the sneak to the end of the rapid. We continued down river taking one drop at a time, Whale Hole (IV), Rooster Tail (IV). Then came froth hole..the name says it all. The only way to run this a high levels is on the left a gnarly looking tongue that takes you so close to the hole that one wrong move and you're in. We make it through, stop for a quick lunch and head on. Next is the Mix Master. A straight forward drop that has two very large holes waiting to eat kayakers the line is pretty straight cut left to hard problemo.

The run finishes with elevator shaft an easy chute that is so fun, I wish you could carry up and run it again.

It was a perfect finish to the perfect weekend...actually the Pulled pork and Burger at Casey's North (North River, Hudson) was the perfect ending.

Saturday Apr 22, 2006
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: low boatable

The trip that had been planned for the Moose River needed to be moved, since there was no water in the Moose. And, with rain approaching from the southwest, we were compelled to 'go east', to the Ammo. The Ammo also was low, but was one of the few in the northeast with any water at all, since there was still snowmelt from Mt Washington. (With a gage of 2.66', the American Whitewater website called the river 'too low', but it was actually quite acceptable. Rumors abound that the Ammo is OK down to about 2.5') With the approaching storm, we had strong east winds during the drive, and my double nested canoe tie-down had a lot of trouble on I-89, until a better rope arrangement was achieved. We were about a half-hour late to the put in. Once on the water, there were a few places where we had to stare ahead to make sure there really was a channel, but there always was. At this level, everything upstream of Boat Breaker Rapid was class 2, and Boat Breaker itself was reduced to a rather anemic class 3. One of the boats took out at the Pierce Bridge, and the other four continued on. Below the dam, the water was quite good. Powerhouse Rapid was still a solid class 3, with more rockiness than at higher levels, and the rapids continuing to the first bridge were all good. We continued to the last bridge before we would have reached Alder Brook, and took out there because of folks trying to get back to Burlington.

West: Spring 2006
Saturday-Sunday Apr 29-30, 2006
Organizer: Dan Beideck
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium
Author: Dan Beideck

Most of us headed down Friday night and stayed in a nearby ski lodge reserved for the weekend. The next morning we met at the school ball field just before the entrance to the Jamaica state Park entrance. We then divided into three groups with some of us headed towards the upper class III section, some towards the lower class II section, and others opting to stay on dry land. Those staying on land enjoyed the warm sunny day while watching those in the river and/or playing on the nearby playground facilities.

No one wanting to paddle the lower section had run it before. I volunteered to make the first run and serve as the "probe". A few of us were a little nervous before getting started for various reasons. It didn't take too long for the excitement to start. The first rapid proved to be fairly continuous class II water that shortly produced a swimmer. Others helped the swimmer make it to shore while I chased the boat. My attempt to shove it into an eddie didn't exactly go as planned. While doing so, one hand came off my paddle and the blade very cleanly slipped under a downed log. I managed to get my hand back on the paddle but ended up flipping. Meanwhile, the current moved the paddle and my now upside down kayak enough so that the paddle was now wedged very firmly under the log. My choice became obvious that I could maintain my death grip (literally) on the paddle or breathe. It was not a difficult decision and I was soon swimming downstream sans paddle well past the rest in my group. Two thoughts ran through my brain as I struggled for what seemed like a long time to get my boat and body two feet left across the eddie line. First, maybe a hands roll is less of a parlor trick than I had thought. Second, It's probably not such a good confidence builder when the safety boater leading a group of somewhat nervous paddlers swims the first stinking rapid!!

I was happy to find Eve walking downstream with my paddle after I finally managed to collect myself on shore. She reportedly was able to climb out on the log and free it after some effort. We weren't so lucky with the paddle from the other swimmer. The next day we discovered that it made it all the way to Troy, NY, and no the West doesn't go there! Someone had found it later that day and took it home with him after leaving contact information at the park. Owner and paddle are reportedly soon to be reunited.

The gang was a little shaken, but forged on minus one. The rest of the morning's paddle was less eventful. The whole gang then met up again in the school field for lunch before heading on for a second run. Chris opted to paddle the lower this time and I went to the upper. The lower went much smoother the second round with yours truly out of the picture. Ann was rumored to have thrown down her first boof move to the amazement of the rest of the group. The group paddling the upper section had a good run with the river practically to themselves for a good portion of the run.

Once again the gang gathered in the field after the second run. Most of us opted to hit the paddlers dinner held at the local Church in Jamaica. The homemade pies were the highlight of the fare. A few of us, okay all of us, made more than one trip to the dessert area. The rest of the evening was spent back at the ski lodge trying to maintain consciousness after the long day. I think most of us would have been happy to have gone to bed at 8:30 except for the two that actually did, James and Deb's boys!

The next morning we headed back to the river for another day. No trips on the lower this time, however. Those members either opted to go hiking, paddle with another group, or try out the upper. The weather was nearly perfect as it felt like a summer's day with air temps in the 70's. The water temp was a bit more modest! Some opted for one run while others got in a second run before heading home. All in all, it was a great weekend.

Maine Weekend
Thursday-Sunday May 4-7, 2006
Organizer: Lisa Egan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: high

While the rest of Vermont seemed to be scraping or swimming down rivers, a small group of us headed to where the water was....Maine.

While at first I was apprehensive about doing a 6hr solo drive, the weekend proved to be totally worth it.

While the weather was supposed to be in the low 50's ...mother nature looked favorably on and provided a weekend of sunshine and temps in the 70's...just perfect.

Friday: The Mighty Kennebec. While I wasn't nervous about paddling the Kennebec (IV), walking down the stairs to the gorge put in definitely brought back harrowing memories of two years ago, when I took a nasty swim (I still have the scars) and ended up hiking out (2 miles with a kayak sucked big time).

We put on and it quickly became apparently that certain members of the group were nervous (bitchen eddy comments) and we hadn't even seen the first rapid!

With wide eyes and shaking paddles we slowly eddy hoped to the first big rapid.

An amazing sight of high gorge walls and a foaming mass of big waves and boils lay before us.

It was almost like we were all on a Military mission each making sure we had someone watching our back and a specific group line up. One by one we headed out of the eddy down in to the gorge the rapids were full of huge big waves that couldn't be anything but full of fun, before we even knew it we were at Cathedral eddy. Cathedral is a swirling eddy the captures and keep paddlers who try to enter or leave it. We opt for the nice friendly eddy on the right .

With most of the nerves being lost in alleyway we were ready to face Magic falls a long class IV rapid with two significant holes Magic and any circumstances Maytag is the one to avoid...what about Magic you say...well I hear at lower levels it is nasty too. At the level we had it 5800 CFS you can surf me you can!! I was sweeping up the back when I noticed Anne being surfed at the top of Magic so I paddled across to make sure if anything happened I was there. Anne paddled free just as I descended into the dead center of Magic's lots of swearing was going on in my head as I began to front surf, with no real thought of how to get out I flip and roll up on the back side of Magic...giggling like a silly kid, screaming "I have just surfed Magic". The groups enthusiasm for surfing Magic wasn't quite the same as mine hence we didn't visit that side of Magic falls on our next time down.

We took off for lunch and begin to discuss our 2nd run down when we realize the water is being cut to 325 CFS, not wanting to pinball down we opted to paddle the lower.

While the lower is a beautiful scenic river, it doesn't match the adrenaline rush of the gorge. The Lower rapids are class three and are separated by long sections of flat...I HATE FLAT!! By the end I had almost given up all hope of ever seeing whitewater or land again. I don't think I'll paddle the lower again...

Friday night we had a cozy night in our cabin, with great food, beer and Music. Okay guys so Anne and Me can't sing that well but it must have been an entertaining sight us dancing and signing around the breakfast bar in our PJ's.

Saturday: High release on the Dead 7000CFS. The dead on normal releases is class 3 while on high releases (7000CFS & 5000CFS) it significantly increases to a class IV.

Last year Jim Poulin, Myself and a few other Kayakers set the record for the highest ever run made on the Dead at 20,000 CFS. Our reputations proceed us and we are still talked about in the Forks till this day. Our group found it highly amusing during this weekend when testosterone filled men bragged how they had run it at 9000 cfs and would laugh and ask me if I had run it before. I would reply casually yeah last year. The Guy would then say this level is much harder then the usual releases, are you sure you are up to it. I would start laughing and say "I am not worried I ran it last year at 20,000 CFS and 10,000 CFS". Met with a jaw dropping "I have heard about you, your part of that group that run Enchantment in to the Dead, you guys made history" the dog would then sculk off with its tail between its legs. It happened a few times and it got quite funny towards the end.

We paid our $15 bucks each for the shuttle...totally worth it. We staged a mutiny when the driver refused to set off before 10am (it takes 45 mins to get to the put in) so at 9.30 we got all the Kayakers together and jumped aboard the bus and began to sing ...much to the dismay of the driver. He relented and drove us to the top (Yep he did it to shut us up...I told you I was a bad singer).

The Dead an amazing river...Large long rapids with a short enough flat to stop me whining endlessly but long enough to refuel and take a breather for the next rapid.

We weren't as organized as the day before and our military precision and co-ordination seemed to be MIA. We had carnage at the first rapid, a long difficult swim followed with nobody in the group to help, the swimmer was rescued by a another Kayaker. Actually the description was a NJ Kayaker very burly and handsome...A beer is owed to you by Ms Dagger RX...Hope you didn't touch the sponge!!

Back on the river and the rapids were just as fun and technical as I remember them, while a little smaller than last year it proved not to be disappointing in any fashion.

The most significant rapid Poplar...saw group disarray. The group was largely spread out and when a couple decided to eddy out. I was faced with the prospect of running it solo, knowing I was tired and the amount of holes that potentially could eat me. I shouted to one to follow me ...After getting flipped at one wave I rolled 3 times consecutively before I could regain balance. I was tired and weary and I was only half way down the rapid, I was also alone on the opposite side of the river to everyone else. I eddied out and noticed, Belinda Blackcurrant had swum and her boat was graciously running the rapid with out her.

We got the boat in after the rapid but it was along long way down from its owner. Belinda had taken a long swim and was slightly beaten up, when along to the rescue came a raft of young men who helped reunite her with her boat. Makes you think it was some sort of ploy to get young men to look after you, sneaky!!

Thankfully it is was just a short paddle to the take out and more beers.

Thanks to NO Umbrella who provided excellent entertainment Saturday night plus Root beer floats...and nice Tee's too

Sunday- Minus one we hit the Kennebec a second time, it was just as fun as the first and we bopped down like little ducks, happy as can be...until Magic that is. Well everyone was happy but me at Magic. Again me playing the sweep we decided to run center. As I came up a huge wave my boat started to face right I tried to correct it, hit a hole sending me even more right. That's when I came face to face with it. Like death staring me in my face (Maytag), I paddled as hard as my arms could take me digging hard with every stroke forcing my boat left...I clipped the far left corner of Maytag!! It was enough to scare the goolies off me time I am going left and surfing Magic!!

Hudson Gorge
Saturday May 6, 2006
Organizer: Rod Wentworth
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium low

I have been leading a trip on the Hudson on the first Saturday in May for a number of years, and the number of kayakers on the river seems to have diminished. I don't know if this has something to do with downriver races on the same day, or the fact that this is more of a river-running trip (not park and play) or something else. Regardless, it has not been crowded.

A spring trip on the Hudson just wouldn't feel right if it wasn't cold. While the weather has been warm in some years past, this year was average - cold but not very, with just a bit or rain at times. The level was about 3.8 feet without the "bubble" from the Indian....lower than usual for this time of year. However, we stayed with the bubble to make the best of things. This was Eve's first Hudson trip and she did quite well; a combat roll or two with no swims. An enjoyable spring outing was had by all.

Chasing the flows (Wells-Pemi trip)
Sunday May 7, 2006
Organizer: Norm
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Ryan McCall

While others decided to head to Maine for optimal flows a select few dedicated (or creek running starved) paddlers decided to paint the routes down a couple of rivers with the plastic from their boats.

With not a whole lot of response initially to the trip I was pleasantly surprised to arrive at the Barre double-D to find a much larger than anticipated group of paddlers. Once working out logistics for vehicles, we headed east off to the Wells. We set up in the Fish and Game parking lot a few hundred yards below the first drop. Everyone hiked up and we started the process of running various lines on the first drop. Julie, who didn't have a creek boat decided that she would work the camera for the first river saving it up for when we hit the Pemi later. The first drop was a fun and easy one move drop. The second drop near the fishing access point was an interesting mulit-move rapid down the middle - boof- peal left and paddle out or a bump and grind slide down river right or backwards like Paul ran it -upright too. The next couple of drops were read and run with the low water and probably a little to scratchy for most of our tastes. The next significant drop was the Waterfall (Face Smacker). Lots of scouting and contemplating left all of us to walk it but two. Dave went first on the alpine line to river left off the flake and straight into the ledge/rock formed pile in the seam on river left. Good think those Prijons are tough as nails. That all but sealed the deal for anyone else to run it, but Paul was hell bent that the river right line was cleanable...and that is what he did. He cleaned it smooth as can be off the river right flake into the main current feeding out below the seam. After that we ran another couple hundred yards of boogie water to the final drop - a complex rapid that has two routes. One down river right that hugs a spine that sticks out of the rivers bed and the other that darts left iand drops 2-3 feet into an eddy before a 20-25 (12 ft high) foot slide into a pretty sticky hole and one more curler before the run peters out in the backwater of a dam. John ran river left line and eddied out above the slide to set safety. Dave was next and ran left as well, carrying the momentum from the first drop to the slide and through the hole at the bottom. I ran next and had the same results as Dave. Paul was next and went left as well, but flipped on the first drop and rolled quickly up to be swept into an ill placed root-ball. It was a very fast horizontal pin. John and James were quick into action and Dave was out of his boat fast as well to stabilize the situation. They pulled Paul off the root-ball and he was on his way down the slide. John came down the slide as well and that was the end of the fun on the Wells. A great little short gem with fun drops. Good for multiple laps if you have the time and energy. It is easy to see why the Wells River Rumble is such a success as the short length of the Wells and ease of opportunity to view the drops make it ideal.

Off to NH and the Pemi. Dave had to work so headed back. Now it was Julie's turn to get wet. About a 50 minute drive got us to Lincoln to set shuttle, but a burning desire to get McD's overwhelmed a few of us and so indulged (more on this later). We put in at the Lincoln Woods Center above Loon Mountain Resort. While getting gear on we hooked up with a friendly fellow by the name of Jim (from northern NH). He joined our group and brought the group number back up to the magnificent 7. Running shuttle both John and I were appalled at how low the river was and was pretty sure we'd be wearing a hole through our boats on this run from all of the scraping that I'd be doing. Once on the river it wasn't as bad as it was REALLY low though! At this level the river was more or less a natural slalom course and the significant drops really weren't all that significant. There is really one major drop that is directly below the Loon Mountain access road. It probably drops a total of 25 feet in about a 100 yard run out. John ran both the left and center lines very cleanly and smoothly. The rest of the group that ran it went left and some chose to eddy out and skirt back center and James and I continued down river left through a narrow channel at the bottom...very bumpy! Below this the fun began. One of our group felt the need to count the fish a few times....Understandably so as it was a long day and I can understand how fish are much more interesting when you get to look them in the eye. The group theory is that the McDonalds earlier messed p everything that is pure and good in the world of paddling and said fish counter was feeling the effects of a nasty chicken sandwich and fries thus losing concentration, balance, use of upper extremities (head), and ability to paddle around stationary objects. OUCH - happens to the best of us. Anyways the run wrapped up with out incident on a couple of fun drops right above the take out.

A stop at the "packy"???? for gas and more bad road food and we were on our way back to VT to pick up vehicles at the Barre DD. It was a spectacular spring day on the rivers. The water was a little low, but the company was good and the entertainment was superb.

No-Shuttle Boreas
Saturday May 13, 2006
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low
Author: Tony Shaw

Someday when I have lots of free time on my hands I am going to design and build a motorized boat trailer that I can tote over to the Boreas, assemble, and run upstream alongside the river on the abandoned railroad tracks that parallel "the main attraction", a several mile stretch of continuous, bouldery III-IV water. I won't even charge a shuttle fee: the grins on the paddlers faces will be ample reward!!!

As it stands today, to get to this mecca you need to put-in a few miles farther up, at the NY28 bridge, survive a few ledgy drops including "the falls", and be prepared to endure a couple of LONG (but attractive) stretches of flatwater below.

Catching the Boreas at a good level (around zero feet or higher on the Northwoods Club Road bridge abutment) is tricky - it has no USGS gauge. But I watched online as hard rains throughout the preceding week marched northward up the Hudson Valley and boosted the Hudson pre-bubble gauge to 5.0 ft/3000 cfs on this day. Five feet on the Hudson gauge, according to Jamieson, is a good barometer for finding water in the Boreas, and our Boreas level was a satisfying -0.25 on the bridge abutment (just cresting).

We were an experienced group of 5, with well over 100 paddling seasons collectively under our belts. Rick, a local, knows the Boreas well, and claims it is his favorite Adirondack river. Martha kept us entertained with her motherly safety checks and her sense of humor -- "I've been paddling since the day I was born" (well, I hadn't really lived until I took up paddling ;o)

Eric and I brought only the shredder to hedge against the possibility that the Boreas might be a torrent from weeklong rains, and beyond our comfort level in hard open boats. The shredder was over-kill, as it turned out, but still fun, and it is incredibly forgiving. At one point in a class IV rapid we stuck on a rock, spun around backwards, and then bobbed down through 2 or 3 stompin' holes totally out of control...and laughing all the way.

The best part of this day was the shuttle, or the "no shuttle" in this case. Rick, Steve, and Martha appeared out of the blue at the put-in right as we were about to go spot our car downstream, and at the end of their run (the NWCR bridge), they offered to retrieve our car and leave it for us behind Smith's Restaurant in North Creek. So, for the first time, Eric and I got to paddle down the final ~3 miles of the Boreas to the Hudson, which was at a fine level...and deserted. The paddle down the Hudson past North River, through the western-style wavetrain known as Perry Ellis, past a lovely and intricate sidestream cascade on river left, and all the way to North Creek was chilly but relaxed -- a ~15 mile day in total.

Snagging a few western slope gems on the drop
Sunday May 21, 2006
Organizer: Ryan McCall
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low
Author: Ryan

It was a late day affair, after 2:00 pm. We met all met (sans Will) at the corner of routes 100 & 17 for a warm up on Mill Brook, the small rivlet along 17 that drains the slopes of Mad River Glen and Glen Ellen, better known as Sugarbush North. It was a playful, albeit bumpy level. The group was pretty fluid and aware that Brad was cutting his teeth on his first creek. The run went without any strainer and an unrunable final drop, due to low levels and we were all warmed up to bang out a run on the upper reaches of the White River (or more commonly known as Patterson Brook) to the south in Granville.

Will met up with us as we were taking off of Mill Brook and getting loaded up for the trek down to Granville. Brad decided to assist with shuttle and spectate as Patterson was a notch or two above his skills curently. So Will brought the number back up to 5 on the river. A good healthy number for such a small run. John (served as our guide) had run Patterson the day before several times and let us know it was a totally different river at a higher level... in someways less technical but more pushy. We were probably on this at the lowest comfortable boatable level (at least for me). Anyways, it was a gem of a run. We got out to scout the two major drops on the river although they probably could have been read and run today. The group was strong and kept a good eye out for the newest member to creeking. Paul was stepping up his limits on creeking and had a few swims. Amazing how nothing shakes Paul though and back in the boat after each swim he went to pick apart the next rapid.

If you have never had an opportunity to run Patterson - put it on your list. It has to be one of the most senic runs going. Have you boat on the vehicle though, because it only runs when the gods really open up and dump the H2O....

Lower Hudson
Saturday May 27, 2006
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium low

This was a group of long-time paddlers heading down the river in semi-matching red MEs, Mad River canoes from 20 years ago. We wanted to put in at North Creek and paddle to the Glen Bridge, but there was some sort of event in North Creek that had the put-in blocked, so we started 2 miles upstream. The total paddle was 14-15 miles, but the river moved along OK, and the wind was mostly down-river, so we did it all in about 4 hours paddling, and another hour mixed in for lunch and various breaks to get our old knees functioning again. The only in-water activity was in a flat-water stretch when we passed a pair of discrete skinny dippers, and quickly thereafter one paddler (to be identified only by the initials LC) fell into the river. He claims he shifted his weight onto a thwart, snapped it, and then the boat flipped!

Other wildlife sighted included a great blue heron, mergansers, and geese with goslings.

The weather was great, with the afternoon becoming quite sunny. The water flow was adequate but non-threatening. A few on the rapids were still class 3, but not hard 3. The biggest challenge was at the 'Hook', where a strong downriver wind prevented careful set-up - we just had to make a mad dash through the s-turn moves as we were pushed downriver.

Like last year, we took out river-left above the bridge, as the traditional take-out across from Wildwaters remained closed.

Dryway Summer Fun
Thursday-Sunday Jun 1-Jul 9, 2006
Organizer: Cheryl
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: Cheryl

The dryway...a classic New England summer run.

After spending most of my 2005 summer down on the Dryway I considered myself a dryway veteran. I think me and my Kingpin are becoming part of the features down there.

I was surprised when I saw fellow VPCer, Will run the dryway in his creek boat most people take playboats. Laugh, oh did I laugh!! A full winter of smack talk began!!

Fast forward to Summer 2006, Will finally succumbed to the smack talk and decided to talk the talk and walk the walk. Will joined me for a weekend on Dryway in his playboat.

What followed was two days of extreme smack talking, no swims, a lot of surfing and hell of a lot of fun. So much fun in fact he decided to join me again the next weekend.

The dryway is based on the Deerfield river and is classic New England run. The rapids rate between class 3 to the infamous Dragon's tooth and Labyrinth 4's. This river can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be. There are a surf waves dotted throughout the river with the big finale at Labyrinth one of the most difficult waves to catch and surf on the least you get plenty of warm up before you get there. There are numerous slot moves raging from easy to hard.

I knew Will had paddled the dryway before but I think we brought him a whole new experience.

The second time there was Demo fest...Will was eager to Demo a new boat in particular the EZG50. Unfortunately due to my coffee & croissant stop and I am sure Will will say my socializing, we arrived a little later than expected and EZG50 had disappeared for the day. So he had to endure another day of the Amp.

At the end of the Dryway we didn't have time for our projected 2nd run so we headed down for some beat downs on the GAP (fife section). At which point Will decided to demo a poorly outfitted RX. A friend of mine described the various lines from the road and we watched as eight boaters came along. They had whole load of personal carnage by either swimming or flipping neither looked a nice way to go down the Gap.

I decided I wanted to surf the Hole at the Bottom of the Gap, while Will opted to go for this strange task of Seven moves along the Gap?? Something that apparently if you can do you know you ready for the Dryway!! A bit late if you ask me..

I don't think we achieved our set goals but we did impress the spectators by running it upright.

We finished the evening by stopping at my favorite food place the Biker Bar then headed to socialize with the rest of the VPCers (Ryan, Norm, Chrissie) I think they were staying in the local state prison, No visitors after 8pm, No alcohol and no over crossing the boundries on the camps even if you are all friends... Thankfully we were allowed in for a quick hello at 8.10pm. Some beers and a few hello's later we headed out (10pm) to recovery for the next day paddle.

The next day we were joined by Ryan, and 3 of his friends who had never paddled the dryway before.

But first Will and I had to make sure we did two runs...Will when I said we would do a Bomber run I meant it. As soon as the water released we put on. 40 mininutes later and no stopping we were back at the top for our second run...Fantastic.

The second run was a lot more entertaining, great surfing, rock splats, to rescuing swimmers. Oh and the quaking of knees at Dragons tooth.

The run was thoroughly enjoyed by all, there was little carnage considering the newbies who did really well.

Again the day was finished at the Biker Bar...Beers and Burgers yummy.

Two weeks later I return with another VPCer Julie Prior, I had talked her into doing a day trip so I could demo a new boat. Bleary eyed and half a sleep we hit my usual coffee and croissant place and Julie experienced the same socializing..Sorry guys it isn't my fault I know so many people...

A friend Marc, kindly agreed to show Julie the lines, as we apparently we going to be in for a fun day, I could just barely roll the demo boat in the flat water.

Julie had a blast she surfed every thing possible like a pro and she even followed Marc to the T, quite hilarious watching them both run Dragons tooth upside down...Okay okay so that's my general line through there too..Thankfully I managed to roll my was a close call though.

Sadly I didn't get to see Julie run Labyrinth, I heard she did great and even managed to try to surf the wave there.

I mentioned the subject of a second run!! But I think the first one had sapped all of Julie's and Marc's energy so instead we enjoyed the sunshine and socialized as per usual.

Tired and Happy we drive home from another excellent paddle at the Dryway..and there is still a whole load of Summer left. Dryway Fest anyone??

Laps on the Gihon
Sunday Jun 4, 2006
Organizer: Will
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Ryan

You'd think with all of the rain we got on Saturday everything would be pumping high....not such the case. Thankfully the Gihon holds water pretty well and we could score a couple of low boatable laps on it. The first lap consisted of Dave and Bob running every drop like a couple of aces. Will and I passed on the gorge (mustang) consequences still seemed a bit much even at lowish water. All drops went pretty clean though (other than Power House - where one of us managed to spot a brown trout while counting fishies on the way down). We yanked a humungo log out of a smallish drop above Mustang to open up a 2 foot ledge boof move...The second lap Bob and Dave had to take off but we met up with Jim. I am sure the 30ft low head dam for the first drop shook all the jitters of running a new river right out of him. The rest of the run went as smooth as the first drop...that is if you didn't notice all the bumping and scraping we did on the way down. Will chose to run Power House at an even lower level than the previous run...Jim and I walked - just to boney.... All in all it was a good Sunday spent on the Gihon.

Mill Brook, Jericho
Saturday Jun 10, 2006
Organizer: Tony
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium high
Author: Dave

Got the call from Tony, meeting a big group at noon. The New Haven was on it's way up thru 1000, the Mad was on it's way up near 2 grand, and Tony informed me that the Mill Brook had popped, and was at a good level.

Put on thanks to Dan, who waited for us and showed us the trail down to the top of the gorge. Bob, Eric, Tony Burlington Bob, Dan, Myself and B.B.'s 2 buddies started down stream. BB's buddies were new to the sport and quickly realized this was not the place to learn. At the first ledge we retieved their boat, and after B.B. styled the left slot, they hiked out. The rest of us ran this drop w/o real issue. Eric did swamp his OC1, but was able to get it together before the next rapid. Here it got interesting. It was fairly quick water to the old dam above Hydro. Then it was completely continuous below hydro to the log jam that is pretty much a portage. Fortunately the pace slackened a bit right at the log jam, and it's less of a threat then a neusance. With more water, this may not be the case.

So, Eric had some troubles on the lead in to hydro, and his boat ran the drop clean. Washed on down to the Log pile where it was located.

Bob and I look at a left to right line around the small hole at the top of the drop. Bob runs first with me in the eddy below the Dam. He disappears over the horizon significantly more left the we were originally thinking. I wait the standard 8 seconds and start to go, Tony waves me in, but whistles are blowing somewhere downstream. I hit my line mostly, plugged the reaction pillow dead center (wanted to be on the right side to ensure being kicked out, and not back into the hole, or worse, left into the corner) and came up paddling hard with the hole munching on my stern. Barely able to ferry/side surf out right. Ran down around the corner, under the foot bridge (really fun section) to see Bob self arrested, and helped his boat to collect on the debris pile.

Back up to set safety for Dan, who boofed the hole, looked to be on line, but still got surfed in the hole. Hung in for a good long time, but ultimately swam out, Bob hit him with a rope, but dropped it, I hit him with a rope, but it was just out of his reach, Dan disappeared around the bend to collect himself, with his boat on the debris pile. Tony walked it, but had his skirt blow in the boogie water and swam down to the debris pile where we helped him to collect his gear. Feeling more like drift wood then boaters, we continued downstream, the next drop was great, we walked the last one due to time and that fact that it's UGLY! All this and I made it to work on time. Good day. Fun river. View from rt 117 bridge and look for all the rocks to be under enough to paddle it. Put in on Tar Box road (take first right after rt 117 bridge, and next right on TarBox) shortly after the left fork at the Nature Center. Park at the pull off left, hike up a few hundred feet, trail on left. Now, we need rain.


Independence Paddle Party Part Deux (Long)
Friday-Tuesday Jun 30-Jul 4, 2006
Organizer: Cheryl Robinson
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: Cheryl

Usually when anything involves a part two, it is never as good as the first.

The part Deux paddle party threw that in the fire and set it alight then burned for three days keeping all the paddlers warm.

This year saw an extended weekend with four days of wet and wild action.

The idea of paddling Friday was thrown quickly away en route when my companions found our large stash of beer.

We made the perfect camp and warned off any unsuspecting people who thought our far away campsite would bring them peace and quiet..."SORRY NO do you realize what party this is!!"

I think the last participants arrived some time after 2pm...but come sunlight everyone was raring to go. Except Si and Me, we had more important things to do like watch the world cup semi finals England V's Portugal...enough said on that subject...I can't believe we missed paddling for that pitiful attempt.

Jim a fellow Ottawa veteran, kindly offered in our absence to lead Lisa, and Ottawa Newbies Lou and Mark to their doom. Which he did exactly on the first rapid. Silly Jim led them like a line of baby lambs bleating for their Mothers into the White Thrashing jaws of Phil's hole. On looking at the pictures I wasn't entirely sure what line they had chosen, it looked like a "threading the needle but changing their mind and running the tongue"... It almost silenced the lambs. Thankfully they all escaped bar one in their boats. Did I hear Lou old skool enjoyed it that much he tried to go in again!!

From what I heard the rest of the run was less eventful but lots of fun... Lou and Mark came back with the hugest grins on their faces.

They celebrated with a few beers...then a few more beers. So Si and I headed out alone for the afternoon run.

We approached Phil's with a little apprehension, In all the times I have been to the Ottawa I have not once been trashed in Phil's. I hoped today the river Gods again would be in my favor. We decided to thread the needle and we were almost clear when I clipped the corner of Phil's. It was like trying to get the bike up the mountain but you just roll back. I was lucky I was upright and surfing, I managed to look around and see the tongue I tried to surf across but the boat was stuck like super glue. So I tried to dig my nose in...I had seen Simon and Max surf in here and they never stayed in. But I just rolled up still surfing, after a few different attempts, I flipped and pulled the that's what being in a washing Machine feels like!!

Si's comment was " I realized that I needed to put a spurt on, then I realized that if I did you did...but it was too were in there a bloody long time" My reply "yeah I don't why Max and You can't stay in it, it's easy"

We played around at the various play spots in particular at 1.5ft Farmer blacks is excellent...Cartwheel galore!!

By the time we arrived back a fresh supply of beer had arrived...from somewhere in Quebec...not sure where and I am not sure the beer runners Mark and Lou know either!!

At the campfire that Night Dawn gave us a fantastic rendition of I feel the earth move...

Meanwhile Lou and Lisa began making eyes at each other!! Although I think Lisa's eyes at Lou were more in disbelief that he kept peeing behind (on) his tent and doing some fairly serious tree hugging.

The rest of our party arrived, Johnny G, Max, Doug and Carrie.

Sun: Up bright and Early again...this time we opt for no thrashings at Phil's by taking the route through the middle of Phil's. While this may seem the most utterly crazy thing to do, The line is actually much easier than threading the needle. But someone forgot to tell Lisa!! While we all cleaned Phil's Lisa remained at the top. I guess Phil was in competition with Lou for Lisa's attention... Phil won hands down and once again forcefully dominated Lisa taking her for a second beating.

So we had a few old skoolers with us today, not only Lou but Jim and Johnny G were in old skool squirt boats... it was hilarious to watch them jointly surf baby face.. Old skool definitely ruled the wave.

The next major excitement was Brain douche... I think we stayed there for an hour... Giggle, my god I giggled so much I nearly inhaled water. I discovered bow stalling in to a whirlpool then flipping over sends you spinning in fast circles.. but you can't roll until you have stopped spinning.

Lou and the Old skoolers were fantastic to watch. Pulling of every old skool move possible. You guys rock!!

We returned back to camp for the afternoon nap!! The 2nd most essential thing on a boating trip after Beer!!

Two trips were made in the afternoon one Main run and another Middle run. While the main run was uneventful. Dawn really enjoyed her first trip down the Ottawa. She did really well I think this was only Dawn's 3rd river!! WELL DONE.

That night we partied...of course after another beer run as stocks had run low AGAIN!! What do you mean it sounds like a alcoholics meeting...nah we only went through four or five cases of beer... a night!!

Mon. We decided to have an easy day and take all the beginners down the middle again. Poor Carrie, She did amazingly well for someone is petrified of paddling. Dawn again did very well. But learnt a hard lesson...don't follow Johnny G... bad man took the wrong line and caused Dawn to swim...Bad man!!

We stopped at the lunch spot hole and Max and Simon taught me how to cartwheel...they make it look effortless even without paddles. I tried with paddles and with hand paddles.. I got very tired quickly!!

Max and Simon Ran Garvin's the only class V on the Main and Middle Channel. Boy did they make it look easy!!

We get back to Camp rather late and convince a semi drunk Lou that it is a good Idea to come out paddling from Garb down

Lou and Me somehow get lost and end up bush whacking to the top of Garb...I am just glad I didn't see any of the snakes that usually frequent around there.

Garb is one of my favorite playspots and definitely one of my favorite rapids. While it was a little too high to play there it was still fun trying to surf the foam pile that was forming. We spent hours at each of the play spots including another fav farmer blacks. I got tired so headed back... The sun was setting and it was a little cloudy and a Thunder and Lightening storm could be seen in the distance to top of a Rainbow had Formed in the sky it was one of my most serene paddling moments.

This was followed by an early evening dip in the hot tub with beers... what was that black thing that kept popping in and out of people's legs!!

We partied hard again, but this night was different we had fireworks and live Music. Dawn Sang while Johnny Strummed the guitar, Michael (Mark and Maryanne's son) played the percussion instruments. Jim and Lou drummed out some cool beats. I think it was one of the beat campfire parties I have been too.

Plus the funniest...I have to mention that before the campfire was lit, Lou did make a good job of pretending to be a fire dancer!! Then doing some tango with the broken tent structure!!

I just have mention Michael a very mature kid...he did a fantastic with the fireworks, who has been totally scarred for life by our party antics and isn't even a paddler.. but as already signed up him and his parents for next years party.

He also was totally scarred by some other paddlers who he witnessed blatantly having sex on a blow up couch as he was about to ask to borrow their air pump now know as the "sex pump" for his inner tube so he would have something to do while we went boating!!

Tues: We headed to the Gatineau. It rained hard all the way there, we still decided we would put on. As we started to get ready the biggest thunder storm started to come our way.. ME I am totally frightened by Lightening. After waiting an hour for it to GO AWAY!! We were about to put on when Lightening struck the opposite bank. Refusing to put on I left my kayak and refused to get out of the car. I later find out that Max and Johnny felt the static from the strike on their legs!! ARGGHH.

So the Guys put on with the Thunder and lightening following them like a puppy Rotweiler!!

They came back amazed by the river they had a great time...but I had no regrets despite the stories.

The weekend was sadly coming to an end and we decide to convoy back to Montreal. We stopped for some hard earned poutine.

We said our goodbyes there, knowing we wouldn't be stopping until mentioned they didn't know the way through Montreal or as they were entering Montreal they were low on Gas... So far to say Si, Me and Lou got home Okay. It isn't our fault you don't know what the flashing gas light warns you of DOH!!... Just because two of you run out of gas in Montreal it isn't my was dark, the traffic was bad I couldn't see you...Honest!!

P.S as a side note all paddlers who attending are now fully recovered following a stint at the Betty Ford Clinic (rehab).

Oh and Lou and Lisa can be found paddling hand in hand on many of the VT rivers..

Pictures can be found at

Hudson Gorge
Saturday Jul 8, 2006
Organizer: Cheryl
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: Cheryl

What a perfect day!!

We couldn't have asked for more the sun was shining, the water level was good (4.7) and we had a great group of kayakers...12 to be precise.

The Indian was releasing more than usual due to the recent rains. Si and Max effortlessly ran the Otter slide. The rest of us mere mortals opted out of the potential hole trashing and watched in admiration as Si and Max made it look like a class 2 rapid.

The Indian was fun, really fun. It was a foamy white mass of water. The play was plentiful and we wished it would never end.

After the Indian the group divided in two. The rafters were jumping off the large rock in the flat section and Eric decided to join his kayak.

We stopped for lunch, bathed in sun filled our bellies with all sorts of goodies..particular chocolate MM's for me. We played at the wave first before heading down stream.

The rapids were fun, I never remember all there names in the correct order. I just know on the right day (Hot and Sunny) and the right level the Hudson is a beautiful fun paddle.

One of the last major rapids saw some carnage....I won't name names...because one of the swims was totally unnecessary and we laughed at him for doing so. Especially since he took a rescue from a raft...a raft that's shameful!!

The rest of the river is a just a picturesque paddle out to Greyhound hole. I refuse to play here after learning the hard way it is very shallow. Si and a few of the other showed us how it was done and happily played among the millions of rafts vying for the same spot.

The perfect day ended perfectly, beers and yummy food at Casey's North

Pictures can be found at

Blind leading the Blinder
Saturday Jul 15, 2006
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Ryan

There was some left-over flow from a hard rain a couple of nights prior. This time of year you get what you can take and both Paul and I were jonesing to get on the water w/o making an entire day out of road triping it. The Wells seemed the likely suspect since it is boatable to pretty low flow levels. I have been on it now twice below 200 cfs and probably won't make the trip over there to do it a third time below 200cfs. Although, when you are are jonesing.

So the first drop, Brett's Mom, was a simple straight forward bounce along a green finger to the run out. Simple stuff and a fair warning for how low the river is going to playout.

The second drop, Sweetness, at the level it was running opened up two lines....a scrapy slide to the runout on river right or the slingshot edge of a hole to a boof move. It took both Paul and I several attempts to run it smoothly although all the variations on the line worked none the less too. After some photo ops at Sweetness we headed down stream to Labrynth. Looks a little different at low water and more like a natural slalom course if you take care not to pinball down it. The last hole is a wee bit sticky though if you run into it...Right Paul?

Next is Cafe Yo Boof. We bothched that the first time too sliding down the right side to avoid the tree on river left. Hiking back up we both pulled decent lines the second time though at the boof spot.

On to El Salto falls...Pauly ran it on the right flake again and got pushed into the seam and penciled in pretty deep and corked back up backwards, surfed out and was grinning ear to ear....I think there was a wiseman (Will Bucossi) that once said Kayaking is 90% luck, 5% skill and 5% steel cajones. How right he is and how much luck and cajones Paul brings to the table (river) everytime I paddle with him blows me away! Needless to say, I walked the falls (not enought water to make a clean go of it).

Elevator was pretty much a boulder garden at the low level and that brought us to Tantra - the last drop on the river. What a great drop with a great options to run it. Paul steped up and decided to hammer out the seam on the right line. He had something against seems that day because I think he ran everyone of them on the river. He piced it clean and banked off the pillow at the bottom to avoid both holes in the runout....I decided to peel left into the eddy and then blast down the slide throught the hole at the bottom...Got a little too close to the wall and scrubbed some speed and almost god sucked in the hole at the bottom of the slide but didn't. Eddied out above the bottome hole and then surfed over to river right to finish out the run. Well worth the drive over and was a great day to be on the river.

CT RVR portion of NFCT
Thursday Aug 17, 2006
Organizer: Steve Garanin
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium

Section 4: Bloomfield, VT to Maidstone Bridge Drove to Maidstone State Park in just over 3 hours. Actually made good time as there was little traffic and the roads were dry. We arrived around 9:30 am. We checked in and dropped our camping equipment off at the lean-to we will be using for the next 3 nights. We changed into our paddling gear and headed out. The beginning of the first section, 4, was only about 9 miles from our campsite so it didn't take long to get there. I dropped Jim off at the Bloomfield/North Stratford put in at the mouth of the Nulhegan River on the CT Rvr at 10:44 am. Dropped truck at the Maidstone Bridge and biked back.

The first 2 or 3miles of the CT are very quick to Class I. Nothing very tough, but a nice way to get back in the seeing the water and paddling mode. Neither of us have an opportunity to do other than flat water, so we need to get the rhythm back for this kind of paddling. (Tomorrow we will have quick class I and class II.)

Lots of islands, 6 - 10, until we reached the bendy part of the river. We tried to take the shortest way for this was often the fastest water. One stretch, Horse race, was class I and very wooded and pleasant.

As we worked our way down, we saw the 100 foot esker cliff on the VT side. Quite different from anything we have seen on the CT. Just before it was the Brunswick Springs Brook. Small but pretty with the smell of sulfur in the air. About 5 miles farther down river we passed Paul Stream. This is the outlet stream for Maidstone Lake, where we are staying at the state park. We saw several Kingfishers, lots of crows, a few ducks and mergansers and many small song birds.

At one point, I saw an otter scramble up the bank and disappear into the grass. This is the first one we have seen on the CT, though we suspect there are many more.

Where the river opens up and does lots of bends, the banks are lower. Once again, the ubiquitous corn is growing right up to the rivers edge. I would guess that the CT Valley grows more corn that many Midwestern states. We have seen it from Northfield, Ma north to Canaan, VT, some 200 miles.

Approximately 2 miles from the MS bridge, we found an Osprey nest with both parents and most likely, though we could not see them, youngsters. They both flew around as we moved by, obviously upset with our passage.

We also found several places where the former bed of Glacial lake Hitchcock was exposed. The blue-grey clay being laid down in very neat layers ranging from a millimeter to a couple of centimeters. One area had lots of wood sticking out of it. I managed to pluck out a small piece of a branch from approximately 20 feet below the preset day field surface. I will try to preserve it and send it to Ed Klekowski for identification and dating.

All in all a good warm-up paddle to get the muscles back in shape. Paddling time: 2:26:11 hours 11.28 miles. Bike: 33:20 min, 9.5 miles, 17.2 MPH Ave.

Section 5: Maidstone Bridge to Guidhall, VT.

On the water by 8:20 am. This was not a particularly easy put in. The rocks run don to the river, but with no clear path and a bit of current it makes for a bit of adventure. Once in the yaks everything was fine. We missed most of the fog and as a consequence, had plenty of sun for the entire section.

After looking at 4 different maps, I came to the conclusion that no one knows howlong this section actually is in miles. I found everthing ranging from 10 to 13 miles. If I was to put a number on it, I wouild say 11 to 12 miles. I will do a map mileage check to get as close as possible for the record.

As we pulled up to the bridge we saw two beautiful red doe in the farm's field. We took this to be a good omen. I also had seen a Great Horned Owl on the ride back. There were more Canada Geese than we had seen anywhere else on the river. At least two flocks of 30-40 on different stretches of the river. We also spotted a muskrat crossing the river just as the 7 or 8 loops started. The river wends it's way back and forth across the valley for the next couple of miles.

This was our single longest paddle in terms of time and, most likely distance. Given the flat water nature of the river we were on at this point, it was a relatively slow section.

As we got to, what has now proven to be approximately the 9 mile mark, the river became a "t". we both thought that this was a bit, no, quite strange. After a minute or two of hesitation, we decided to go right, as that is the apparent direction of the minuscule current.

One of the more unusual aspects of this section of the Connecticut River is the multiple opportunities for Vermonter's to see the sun set on New Hampshire. We noted it in several places because the shoreline appeared to change from VT to NH and back with the same side of the kayak never changing. An odd feeling, but kind of interesting in an Escher kind of way.

After e completed this section, we wondered why we did not see the Upper Ammonoosic entering the CT Rvr. Upon checking the detailed maps, we determined that the "t" was where that particular river entered the CT. Given the lack of significant water and the fact that it looked like an oxbow cutoff, we suspect that there will be many paddlers whom will miss it. How a through-paddler, from Old Forge east bound, would fair is beyond me. There was a serious lack of water during Memorial Day and even less now. If not portaging, then you would be doing a significant amount of lining. Even with a light kayak, it would be unpleasant at best.

One other item of note for this section was an island about ¼ mile downriver from the mouth of the Upper Ammonoosic. Jim stayed to the right of the island in the main part of the river. I decided to venture to the left side. While a bit shallow and gravelly, it was a small diversion which proved to be worthwhile. Just before the end of the island, I put up a couple of Bald Eagles, one an adult and the other a fledged juvenile. We had not seen any eagles prior to this point, and had earlier in the day remarked on that fact. (We also saw a first and only, Great Blue Heron as well as a cormorant.)

It may have earned me a new Indian name - Two Eagles. I think I like that a lot!

The Wyoming Dam came up short after that, approximately 1.5 miles later. We were able to pull out just before the current became overwhelming and pulled us over the dam. There are steps going up the bank and along a residential fence. We portaged over the road and down the other side to a broad sandy beach looking out on the dam.

From where we stood, it looks eminently runnable. At least during times of high water, there appears to be enough water to cushion the kayak from the rocks. However everything I read said to say out of the water at this point. I presume that there are sharp and large items in the water which prevent an easy and more importantly safe passage. It would be great if they could get in here with a crane or dynamite to open the channel up and allow for paddling over the site.

Paddling: 2:53:25 hours 11.19 miles

Moose Fest 2006
Thursday-Friday Sep 14-15, 2006
Organizer: Cheryl
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: Cheryl

Moose Fest for those who haven't been it isn't about watching Moose Doh!!

No it's the Northeast's most anticipated whitewater festival of the year. What ever your ability there is something for everyone just as long as you can stand the cold.

2006 was my fourth and probably final Moose fest. This year I was determined to paddle the bottom. In my mind I didn't care if I walked everything I just wanted to be on it and see it.

Friday night we arrive, we party, we party some more and we awake to the realization we about to run the Bottom Moose...but first a good hearty breakfast at the Pancake house. Which I rather quickly deposited in a projectile way on the roadside.. was it nerves or night before beer??

We decided to run the first three drops on the lower as warm up. Compared to the previous year the lower was a walk in the park. So we were ready!!

We decided as group it would be best to run to Agers a halfway point on the Bottom Moose. (At this point, due to a very inaccurate Map we thought we would only have to run Fowlersville, Double drop and Agers..easy)

We scouted Fowlersville before putting on, I almost swear I could hear drums pounding...oops sorry no that was our hearts in our mouths pounding.

At the top of Fowlersville I don't think I have ever been so focused and nervous in the same instance, I just wanted it over with. I watched eagerly as my companions went one by one down the foamy white mass in to oblivion. From the top you can't even tell if they have made it down okay...except the one nice spectator who puts their thumb up to acknowledge your next... I tried to ignore it was my go, but I couldn't wait to go either.

I set up, I knew the line and aimed towards the rock at the top. I probably aimed a little too well, when suddenly it sent me spinning backwards...Arghh. I don't think I have paddled so hard in my life to escape the clutches of fowlersville. I was now in a eddy at the top left of fowlersville not a good place to be...but I made the line down to a roar of cheers. The adrenaline rush was I was set for the rest of the run.

So back to our very inaccurate Map and we came upon a gnarly looking constriction, we now know as Funnel. While scouting it, we watched some Hair boaters run it. We thought their line looked good so tried it ourselves... mmm not a good idea. While no one really had a bad line, no one really had a good line. Mine and Anne's certainly weren't...upside down!! My new boat, first time out now had scratches on the TOP!! and a torn grab loop!! I am pleased I rolled in such a gnarly place, Sadly Anne didn't have the same luck and we proceed to collect the pieces!! Well every river needs a sacrifice to the gods.

So next Double Drop yeah!! No!! Knifes Edge came upon us... even to scout it is grade V. Thankfully a group of rafters pointed out a really fun sneak. Which as sneaks go isn't that easy.. It showed how hard it was when poor Jon got flipped in the curler got thrown against the rock. His boat decided it had enough and ejected him.

So next Double Drop yes!! At last we got the drop we hoped for. Let me tell you, this is the one drop I have watched from the road for years. It is much bigger when you're up close!! This drop can be almost run anywhere. Our choice was to run the hole and boof off a 5ft ledge.

Next Agers, the crème de la crème. This has to be the easiest waterfall to run, what doesn't make it that easy is the class IV run out.

We scout at the top. I have a cool picture of us all talking about the lines. I was overjoyed to see Simon and a few friends watching eagerly from the bank. Hopefully there to cheer us on.

I love the feeling going off a waterfall, the freefall the weightlessness. I can feel the smile radiate my whole body. It doesn't matter how many times I run them it always gives me a sense of achievement. Even more so this day as I knew I had just run the majority of the bottom Moose.

Saturday we had a fantastic group dinner at the Steakhouse, it gives us all chance to wind down, eat good food and talk about Sunday's paddling. At dinner we looked out the window to see snow falling and settling outside. We laughed...a Moose fest isn't Moose fest without snow. We made a toast as always to the "River Gods, thankful for another awesome day of paddling"

Sunday we meet for another hearty breakfast... I didn't drink beer Saturday night so I kept it today.. I needed the energy. I had already decided no matter what the group were doing I was doing the full bottom.

At the put in the group was divided, park and huck, lower, bottom to Agers, Full Bottom. Hot Tub. In the end Anne and I paddled the whole bottom with John joining us at Agers. The rest of the group ran to Agers or were a spectator for the day.

So Anne and I joined up with the Vermont Boys, Si, Johnny, Chris, Eric and a few others. To say the least it was going to be intimidating. They had pre warned us we would not be allowed to scout anything we had already run...scary!!

So while at the top of Fowlersville Anne and I waited for the guys to arrive...(they put on from a different location). I decided I could no longer wait. The longer I sat at the top the more I unfocused I became. So I went. I nailed the line perfectly and went hurtling at a 100mph down the slide. Again to cheers from fellow boaters. It felt so good to be rewarded with such a cheer. On the moose I am most definitely the novice!!

The guys paddled at top speed and it was difficult to keep up. It was awesome to watch them run the boof line at knifes edge... One day I will be like that!!

After Agers comes Sureform... Despite seeing the line and knowing I could probably pull it off. For John, Anne and Me just to see it was time I am running it, the portage sucks..

Next came Power line, I didn't trust the guys enough to just tell me the line so we scouted. It was narrowing of the river with two rather quirky powerful holes. The line was pretty easy and I made it through very nicely. John I heard had a close call at the top but pulled it back. Poor Anne, the hole munched her for breakfast and unfortunately ran it upside down... I think everyone cringed in the eddy.. it is quite shallow in there. We picked up the pieces and went on to the biggie.

Crystal. There was no way in hell John, Anne and I were running it. John and I got out, looked around and noticed a really nice sneak to the right. Nothing too complicated and it would allow us to get to the island at Crystal. From there we could admire the hair boaters running gnarl.

To stand on that Island was amazing. Seeing up close and personal the beauty of crystal is awe inspiring. It was more amazing how easy people made it look...maybe next time.

I tried to avoid Willie Kern who was trying convince me there was a easy line ...nope I didn't see it.

This weekend was one of my best weekends paddling, my friends were amazing, the paddling was fantastic. But I didn't see any Moose.

Home field advantage....NBW
Saturday Oct 21, 2006
Organizer: Ryan M
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium low
Author: Ryan

Home-field advantage (Huh?)....

So the fall rain gods decided to bless us with some quality flow. Very nice of them to time it for a weekend. Anyways, as I was out and about Friday running errands it was pretty obvious flows were going to shape up to be big for Saturday AM. The post board and phones started that evening to set plans for Saturday. With everything going off on the Large-Marge side of things a safe bet was that the NBW was going to be at a really nice level. An early am visual in Putnamville told true that it was on the highside of runable. A few other folks were headed to Joe's looking to avoid overly high flows on the usual suspects (NH, Gihon, NBL and the NBW). I almost joined them...Lucky for me and a couple of other folks we didn't because we got to run the NBW at a fun level (well maybe a little low).

Calls came in from Ben and Ty around 8am or so to start setting up plans. I told them that the NBW was pretty high if it was going to be their first time on it, but there was the options of Martin's, Minister, and Hancock to paddle as the NBW dropped out. We all met at my house in Monty-P (the Home-field advantage) around 10:00 am and headed up to the North Branch Winooski watershed. We took a quick look at Martin's and it had dropped out like a rock to almost unrunable. This was a good sign that the NBW was probably dropping to a moderate level for the guys to bang down it on their virgin run.

A quick scout of the last falls showed that it had dropped off since 530am in the morning but was still at a good level. Off we went for Ben and Ty to have a look at the other roadside drops. Everyone was game to set shuttle and give it a go!!!!

As we put in we were all feeling a little rusty as it has been a couple of months for me and close to that for the other guys since they have been in their boats. Long enough for Ben that an angry spider has taken up residence in his boat. A quick exit and extrication of the bity bugger and we are off around the bend to the first couple of cursory drops before the first major double drop. Fun easy boofs and slides to warm up and eddy hop. As we come up on the first drop we take a quick scout and we all bounce down and boof cleanly. The scenery and closed in gorge in the early section really lights up the guys.

There are a handful of more smallish drops and rapids leading up to the next substantial drop. This one is pretty straight forward down the right side. It sounds ugly as you slide down the tongue and totally slambang off a ledge (autoboof) to go airborne into the pool at the bottom. Actually a very easy drop though. At this point I notice that the water is pretty low and that we are lucky to have gotten on the river when we did. There are some convoluted drops between this drop and the next major one, "the big juicy slide". These little jumbled drops really wreak havoc and present pinning potential at the low level the river is at.

"Here's Johnny"...the big juicy slide. At the level it was on Saturday the run-in is a good III+/IV with one last-chance eddy to bang into to get some composure before dropping in. Saturday provided only one quasi-clean line and Ben was hell-bent to do it. Both Ty and I walked...A little more water makes for a much softer ride. Ben made it to the eddy at the top and then dug deep and went over the top slightly to the left, but far enough to the left that he pitoned pretty hard 1/2 way down into a flake off the left wall. He stayed upright and finished the drop with a grimace on his face. A quick self inspection and he was ready to head on down stream to the next series of drops.

Under the culvert and around a couple of bends and we come to an 8ft drop. At this level the landing area is pretty shallow and smallish to say the least. Not helping matters is that where you would normally take off from the drop is an obstruction so you have to slow down considerably and sneak in behind it to hit the desired line. Ty went first and banged his way down....I have not mentioned this but he was paddling in an oldschool playboat - a big one at that (Wavesport X), but a playboat on a very steep creek. The guy is pretty solid to say the least....So he banged down the drop and paddled on out from it. I was next and got hung up at the edge of the drop and penciled in to the bottom pitoning in for a good jar to the lumbar region. UGH. Ben tried a different approach and banged down it too. The next drop is a slideish left to right spout thingy...the trick is to stay as far to the left as you can and ride it out. Too far right with the wrong angle and you end up back under the curtain and in the recirc. Ben must have felt like he was in a washing machine because he went around 5 times in his boat then another 2 times out of his boat and his boat rode around 6-7 more times on its own. Directly below this is the Double Drop. Ty was down with it, I again felt that there wasn't enough water to run it smoothly and my back was still tender from the above mentioned drop. Ben was regaining his composure to give it a go. Ty hit it with a full head of steam and boofed the top drop onto the pillow 1/2 way down and then slid it out and went deep at the bottom....very clean. Ben - not so clean. He didn't boof and pitoned off the first drop and flipped completing the remainder of the drop (15 feet) inverted (upside down) into the pool at the bottom, thus rolling up very shook up. Ouch. No worries though we have it on film!!!!!

The next little bit is boogy water ranging from lazy to class III. Beautiful none the less. We come to the second to the last drop. This is beautiful drop into a gorged out section with a 5 foot slide at the bottom. The initial drop is close to 12 feet and the bottom has a pretty strong backwash. We all opted to run it in from the right side and boof the last 7 feet. All cleanly done. The slide is a little sticky at the bottom, but easy enough.

More easy water and then the last falls. There were two clean lines running - one along the left wall and the other down the slide in the middle and off into space - make sure to boof!!!! We all decided to bag it. Ben had been worked enough for the day, Ty was cold and me being the old man decided not to push my luck and risk another bad landing on my back......To be honest we were all pretty damn cold at the time too. So we carried up and out and called it a day.

As with every time I'm up in that watershed on the NBW its self or one of its tributaries, boating on my "home-field" is always the best for me. We had the river to ourselves and really got to take it in. What a great day had by all.

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