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Lower Hudson

Saturday May 16, 2009
Kayak: Frank Wells
Open Canoe: Len Carpenter, Richard Larsen
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Gauge (ft): 4.30
Gauge (cfs): 2000

This is a long drive to paddle, and the weather looked marginal, but the level looked good - so three of us went. We drove three cars, placed one car at the Glen Bridge, and put in at Riparius. This allowed us to paddle the lower and harder section first, and perhaps quit after this section if the weather got too bad. First we had a moderate head-wind, and then that stopped and a very light rain started off and on. We made the 'hook', or 'Z-drop', with no problems, and then the rain got steadier. We ran the long class 3 with light, constant rain, but got down OK. The level was very enjoyable, but the rain annoying. At the take-out, we once again had to use the left bank above the bridge, which requires a class-3 rock-scramble while carrying a canoe. (Not really - but it is a short climb.)

At that point, the leader (RL) decided that paddling in the rain was not that great. Even though the rain had momentarily stopped, the forecast was for worse weather in the PM. The others wanted to paddle the North Creek to Riparius section, so RL loaded all three boats on his car and shuttled the others to North Creek. Would be no problem, their cars were at Riparius. RL left, and after 10 minutes thought "I never saw LC get his paddles from my car" - checked - and there the paddles were. So, back to North Creek to give LC the paddles. The two remaining boats headed down, and the weather started getting nasty. A strong headwind came up and blew the boats around in Spruce Mountain Rapid, and lightning was approaching as the boats got to Riparius. Shortly after the boats were loaded on the cars, the proverbial situation of "all hell broke loose" occurred. The trip home was described as class 4 driving, with cars pulling off the road in driving rain. About the time the boats came off the river, back at North Creek the gauge started going straight up because of rising water. But, everyone got off the river in time to beat the driving rain and the rising water - so it was a good trip! Len and Frank really know how to squeeze every moment of excitement out of a day!

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