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Lookin' for the Flow

Saturday Apr 17, 2010
Kayak: Dan Z, Dave P, Ben G, Hal and Ryan M
Organizer: Dave Packie
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: low boatable
Gauge (cfs): 150
Author: Ryan

Lots of precip...mixed up high going into the weekend...

The Mad was up around 1k and the NH was bumping up into the 800cfs so why wouldn't Patterson be at a good level???

So off we went Dave and I met at the Moretown General Store, we met Dan, Ben and Hal in Granville at the take out. HOLY SMOKES it was close to 5 inches low on the gauge rock. Awe what the heck....there was still a channel down through and the major drops were constricted enough to be kind of fun. Well....everything else we'll bang off of rocks. So when we put on I think everyone was freezing. About 200 yards into the run we were all complaining about how hot we were from the constant maneuvering we doing.

We all took turns leading and then getting hung up. The couple of times I was out in front and got hung up - looking back up stream at the beautiful valley we were descending and then each of the friends in our group it sunk in why I boat. All of the guys, even though conditions were less than ideal, were smiling ear to ear. That may have been a grimace on occasion from a good shot to a rock, but for the most part I think everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves. Patterson has a way of doing that to you though. I've said this before and will probably say it again and again in my reports - This stretch of water transcends a lot of boater ability at a lot of different levels. I have many other favorite rivers that I enjoy boating in VT some that I will drop everything to go run...Patterson isn't one of them, but once I am down in there and really look around at it - I can really immerse myself in the heart of the Greens! It is a magical place, a beautiful place.

We got to the bottom of the run in about 40 minutes and had the rest of the day to go hit up something else. We were already down that way so why not check out Bingo....It can't be any lower than Patterson. I had never been on Bingo as well as 3 others in the group. Off we went south through Hancock and Rochester down to Brandon Gap. Oh boy it was looking low on the drive up Bingo's watershed. Awe what the we went.

Bingo seems to run very closely to Patterson, Both are of similar size, and steepness. Where they differ is Bingo is loaded with much bigger ledges and slides and has some pretty seriously sculpted geology where Patterson has some bedrock features there is also a good deal of boulder action.

I really enjoyed my first run on Bingo. It could have used about 5 more inches of water but it was fun. The river valley is really pretty but fairly wide open and has much more development than Patterson. It was also ravaged during the 2008 summer floods putting wood in the river in places. Because of the nature of the bedrock some of the lines come into undercut angled fins. I think the group had a good time because they were all smiling on this run as well. It felt like a much longer run and it may have been. We all paid homage to the plastic gods in the Bingo drainage and owe our boats some luv for the abuse they took between the two low water runs.

After Bingo Dan headed home to parental and marital duties. Dave, Ben Hal and I grabbed a bite at one of the best General Stores in VT (Warren) and then went our ways...Ben and Hal back to B-town and Dave and I got in a really nice lap on the Moretown Gorges. It was up around really pushy compared to what we just spent the afternoon boating.

I have boated the upper gorge years ago but never ventured into the lower and especially at a level approaching 1k cfs. All I can say is what a fun ride. Never hit a single rock, ledge or anything solid! The eddy hopping was fantastic and the larger more powerful nature of the river in there was a thrill. Dave is right - a great place to do laps and really work on your boat control, crossing pushy eddy lines, and there is some pretty nice surf in there too. I'll be back for more!!!!!!

All in all a good Saturday on the water - wish I had snapped some pix.

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