The Vermont Paddlers Club

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Chasing flows around NVT

Saturday Jul 19, 2008
Kayak: Dave Packie. Marshall Pahl and Ryan McCall
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Ryan

After heavy rains through out an area from Northfield north on Friday there was a flury of activity among the few that were frothing to get on the water. To no avail, nothing close enough had popped for Friday night so the plans were laid to get north for Saturday. Scott was up and at it early and hell bent on a scouting mission - finding several new micros in the wilds of the Kindom for a later day he missed out on the actual paddling. Dave and I were on our way to meet him when it seemed every river we drove over had a decent flow once we got north of the Lamoille River.

After a few road side scouts of our own Dave and I finally said "uncle" and decided to put on the NBL above the slide at Back Road. There was a tree at the top of the slide that you could limbo under, but looks ready to drop sooner than later (take note). We then proceded through the flatwater section enjoying the pleasant setting and noticed there were several bathers along this stretch - one of particular note making a joke of how he didn't have any electric so he was getting his daily bath in the river. Makes sense - you should have seen the amount of damage that Waterville sustained from the storms on Friday.

Once through the mellow float and into the gorge the pace picked up and it became a very fluid bop down the river. Taking turns through drops and picking various lines one is reminded why this is one of the best runs around. Very plesant, unthreatening, and FUN! At one point we came across a group of boaters poking their way through the gorge in playboats all grinning ear to ear. Not much was said - but not much had to be said. It was a great day to be on the NBL.

Arriving at the standard take out for the gorge section, Dave said we ought to poke down the Ledges/Slides section. I had never been down this steep stretch of river but had looked at it a number of times at high water thinking it would be a romp at a sensible level. It proved to be exactly that with a new horizon line every 50 or so yards either sloping down a slide or droping off into a pool. What a great stretch of water in its self!!!! Even better the bottom of the stretch ends at a fellow boaters abode, so we snagged him to head over to another drainage that was on the flow....The Gihon!

Now with Marshall entow we were a group of 3 and on a speed run to beat sun-set. Over we headed to Johnson for a speedy put on at the first drop of the upper Gihon gorge. Gotta luv starting off a run on a 35 foot Dam drop. So all drops in the upper gorge went well even Mustag for Dave and Marshall (Mind you Dave has paddled the Gihon more than all other boaters together that have been on this river)....I walked Mustang, of course, and seal launched into the gorge below the drop only to slam into the wall on the other side at about.......MACH 7 - UGH! Anyways the flatwater between the two gorges went fast. Good conversation helps. Droping into the next section of the river on Bed Head gets you back on it quickly. Not to get into details we all finished the bottom section relatively unscathed and with about 20 minutes of day light left. A serious speed run on the Gihon.

It had been about 3 months since I had been on any substantial creek run and today was a great opportunity to get reaquainted with my trusty creeker. The progression of difficulty from the NBL gorge through the Ledges and then bopping over to the Gihon made for one of the better afternoons of summer boating I have had in a long long time.

Looking out the window right now, I think we might have another few days of flow with the stady rain that is hitting us....HOPE SO!

Better Days, Later waves........

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