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Lower Lamoille

Saturday Apr 10, 2010
Kayak: John Atherton, Chris Weed
Open Canoe: Tom Berry, Richard Larsen
Organizer: Richard Larsen
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium low
Gauge (ft): 4.80
Gauge (cfs): 1800
USGS Gauge Name/Link: East Georgia

We delayed the put-in until early afternnon, and that worked out very well. The morning had been cold, but the sun came out around 11 AM, and by 1 PM the sky was totally clear. Of course, when the sky clears this quickly, it means that a front is moving through, and that usually means wind - which is always an upstream wind on the Lower Lamoille.

The water was low for mid-April - 1800 cfs versus a normal of 3000 cfs, but this is well above the minimum boatable of about 1000 cfs.

This was also the first day of trout season, so the two main problems on the river were 1) fighting through the wind and 2) not running into fishing lines. The rapids themselves were reasonably mellow.

We had two canoes and two kayaks. We met just below the dam at Fairfax Falls, unloaded all the gear, and drove to the take-out at 12:30 PM to leave a few cars. We were able to start down the river just after 1 PM. As planned, the trip down to the top of Arrowhead Mountain Lake took 3 hours. We didn't play much, because the canoes were delayed so much by the wind. At the upstream end of long flat sections there were whitecaps and waves rolling upstream, and sometimes the canoes could make reasonable progress only by paddling right along the shore, where the overhanging tree limbs reduced the wind.

We rested our old knees by getting out of the boats at an island below the first rapids, and were surprised to see a weasel-critter playing along the opposite bank, swimming into the river and getting snacks. We debated among river otter, weasel, or mink, and settled on weasel - but looking at the Vermont Critters website it probably was a mink. There was another one down near the takeout. The only other notable wildlife was the usual collection of merganzers.

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