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Easter in the Gorge(s)

Sunday Apr 12, 2009
Kayak: Dave Packie, Ryan McCall
Organizer: Ryan McCall
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Ryan McCall


So this spring has been less than stellar for the creek boat scene. So you gotta make hay when the sun shines. The scheduled Stony trip was bagged due to lack of water in the Dog River Drainage. The known options for the day were the Wells (lots of bang for the buck - short) or a new one to me through the two Clarendon Gorges. Dave was the only one that was willing to go out and brave the elements and freeze his fingers off with me as a select few others that had planned to attend retreated to the comfort of their warm couches and large Easter they watched Cabrerra win the Masters too!

So Dave and I were off to the Mill River near Clarendon. With snow in the air, clouds and bits of sunshine it was a great and typical early spring day in VT. The first gorge went with out incident through numerous read and run class III/IV drops leading up to the infamous Mill Drop. What an awesome drop. Dave and I checked lines and then took our respective turns at it. We both aced it with one redux. After this drop the flat water section between the gorges opened up and let us soak in some that limited solar radiation.

Eddying out on river right to portage the first drop of the Lower gorge we noticed there was some ice on a couple of aspects of the walls. This ice we saw was right where the put in below the "hell hole drop" was located. It made for a dicey set up to drop into the gorge. After we were in the water along came Russ and Alex and they went the high and dry route and seal launched in from a 30ft high cliff. Yes you read that right. CRAZY and didn't look like fun but definitely looked easier than the way Dave and I put in!!!!! After the portage nonsense we got back to business and did a far bit of read and run through the lower gorge which I would say was more along the lines of consistent class IV. The drops in the lower Gorge required more precise boat handling and a much more reliable brace.

I must say this was one hell of a cold day on the Mill River. Well worth the drive and I would recommend this run to anyone looking for a beautiful gorged out class IVish run.

Keep an eye out for pix to follow.....

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