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White River

Friday Apr 24, 2009
Open Canoe: Richard Larsen, Len Carpenter
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium low
Gauge (ft): 5.70
Gauge (cfs): 2300
USGS Gauge Name/Link: West Hartford

Being retired (plus old and decrepit), Len Carpenter and I headed down to the White River to take advantage of a glorious Friday. The day was warm, low 70s, the sky was totally cloudless, and the water level was decent, even if a little low.

We did a loop-shuttle. We both drove down the Interstate to exit 3, went to the take-out east of Gaysville, dropped a car, put both boats on the other car, and went to the Tweed River put-in. At the end of the day, we put both boats on the dropped car, returned to the put-in, and both of us headed back to Burlington via Route 100.

I have run both the Tweed and the White at lower levels. At this level, nothing was 'big', but you could get down the river without hitting rocks, unless you took a wrong channel in one of the braided areas. The first rapid of any substance was the drop that ends where Stoney Brook enters. The changes to this rapid continue. The left bank collapsed about 5 years ago, and the left channel started to deepen. Before, almost all the water went right of the old railroad bridge supports. Now, it all goes left, with the left side having lowered about 6 feet. The rapid has even 'moved' upstream, and is a respectable class 2 at this level.

After this rapid, we had the first of our 'get out of the canoe and see if you can walk' events. This all looks pretty funny, unless you happen to be a participant. Havign old knees is not fun - we have to stand for about 10 seconds before we can walk. After break, and some lunch, we headed down through the 'lunch spot' ledge above Gaysville, which was lively. Continuing, we saw a bat above the river near the Gaysville Bridge, flying at high noon, possibly affected by 'white-nose syndrome'. We saw a second bat another mile down, and then we saw a peregrine falcon near the large cliffs north of the river about a mile downstream from Gaysville while stopped at our second 'see if you can walk' break.

We reached the takeout just beyond the lively roadside rapids after about 2 hours and 45 minutes on the river - including at least half hour of break time. Since we don't play the drops, the actual float time was only a little over 2 hours.

It was a trip that was as good as it could get - assuming you are OK with relatively easy whitewater.

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