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Lower Lamoille

Saturday Apr 11, 2009
Participants:
Kayak: Dan Beideck, AJ Seibel, Heidi McCullough, Grant Leibersberger, Chris Weed, Paul Carlile, James Fecteau
Open Canoe: Richard Larsen, Mike Smorgens, Len Carpenter, Jack Daggitt, Jessica Rubin
Inflatable: Ann Smith
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium
Gauge (ft): 5.10
Gauge (cfs): 2000
USGS Gauge Name/Link: East Georgia

The weather could have been a few degrees warmer, the river could have had another 1000 cfs of flow - but it was still a fine trip on the Lower Lamoille. The flow was 2000 cfs, which is good for most of the year, but this was statistically one of the dates of highest flow - 3000 cfs - so we had hoped for more. And, the high temperature was mid-forties, when statistical average high should have been low 50s. So, I am whining about the water level and the weather, but I have to remember that we surely have done it in much worse conditions.

We met below the dam at Fairfax Falls at noon, and unloaded the boats and gear. The little road at this put-in has been greatly improved over a few years ago. We were able to leave almost all the cars at the take-out near the lake, and got back to the dam and onto the river about 1:15 PM. From the beginning, the wind was quite strong, and upstream, like it always is. The open boats especially had to work hard to go downstream, even with the current. In a number of flat areas, we had to stay right against the south shore, under the tree branches, to break the wind - but unfortunately it kept us out of whatever warmth the sun offered. Once we got to the main rapids, we did have some boaters in the water from playing the waves, but no real problems. The level was easy. About this time, one of the paddlers who had flipped earlier in the day became very cold (leaking dry-suit), and we had to use most of the extra wool clothes we had to allow the paddler to warm up again. We had the extra gear on the trip, so there was no real danger, but it could have been a significant problem were there no available extra warm clothes. Hopefully the situation served as a reminder to all.

A few of the boats stopped for a short snack at the islands, while some of the others headed down to play in 'Smiley'. Soon, we all continued down the river, with just a few boats making a short stop at 5-Chutes. With all the headwind, and the cool temperatures, we were later than we had expected to be reaching the takeout, and all were ready to call it a day.

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