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First week of August Floods

Tuesday Aug 3, 2010
Kayak: Jason, Chris, AJ, Jamie, Simone, Clay, Scott, Gerard, Marshall, Nick...
Organizer: Mother Nature
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium high
Gauge (ft): 449.00
Gauge (cfs): 4000
Author: DPackie

Most Summers it happens. The Jet Stream puts us in the slot for everything coming east to train over the Green Mtns for some period of time. Reminicent of the summer of 2006, multiple smaller systems pushed thru this last week and rail-roaded northern VT's higher terrain. Rain totals from Waterbury North were impressive. 2-3 day totals near 6 inches in spots with widespread areas getting over 2 inches of rain resulted in some huge levels, but the stability of the jet kept things tight and most of Vermont stayed dryish. "Head North!" my labor-stricken commrads e mailed...and working outdoors this summer, I was rained out for Tuesday. Jamie's teaching gig lets him out to play on summer days. Tanner is visiting from Utah, getting married next week and has been working on the family farm so his schedual is open as well. AJ is just a slacker and bailed in his life obligations to come boat, and I got to show 3 newbies down the Gihon at the perfect level. When I got out to scout the dam, the bank was only a few inches above the water level. A thick green slab bent over the weir boards, but the hole looked manageable. I slid back in to the tepid water and led the three lemmings over the lip blind, for their first dam run, as is Gihon tradition. One capsize with a quick roll found us all grinning in our repective eddies. We rambled down to the boof above Balls to the wall. A well-lube hummock of rock practiaclly auto-boofed all 4 of us with little effort and much joy. The sound of pancake-flat landing boomed above the din of "Balls" just down stream. Feeling the group would follow me off niagra at this point, and for the sake of the rythem of the run, we ran Balls with no scout. AJ showed off his side stoke in the eddy below, and one other checked for trout in the runout but decided to stay with the plan and paddle into the eddy. We ran the next 2 ledges left, avoiding bad wood in the right slot just above the scout for Mustang. The level was really great for this big 5. The first sneak was somewhat fluid, the slide was easy to get to and the hole at the bottom was surging and churning, but pushing thru hard. I decided to give it a go. Tanner is so solid, I knew he was in and with 2 more for a live bait set up above the crux, I was feeling well prepared for this rapid that I haven't run in a coupla few years. It went without consequence...I don't think Tanner got his head wet. After the flat water I showed everyone the line at Bed Head, which had some punch at this level, unfortunately I showed everyone the wrong line. 2 feet too far right. Squirted right after the first boof, into the corner, off the pillow, out via a quick side-surf in the bottom hole put Tanner and I in the bottom eddy. Jamie was not so lucky. A quick beatdown in the top hole, a timely roll just above the second drop, and another out of the bottom hole found him in the eddy. AJ watched all this and carried right, the more difficult line for sure. There is bad wood in the left side of the next rapid which makes this sequence pretty legit. We ran down the rest of the run to Powerhouse at a great level. At Powerhouse, Jamie decided to see why the runout is called "cheese grater" and demonstrated amazing patience while boating inverted and donated some flesh for his efforts. Great run at what I think is the perfect level. At the takeout, everyone who actually has real jobs showed up and as we left, they made haste towrads NBL which was at 2.5. They got poured on during that run and the area got hammered again overnight. Both rivers flooded the next morning, but by the time we got over there at 5, they had dropped to runnable levels. We did a NBL gorge run, scouted the ledges and found them gnarly. Attempting to hook up with Scott who went to Joe's without telling anyone except Gerard left us without shuttle, a theme for VT boaters that night. After hitching the shuttle we got to the lower gihon and it was still on the high side of medium. After the portage of the Bed Head/El Dorado sequence, we ran the rest of the lower in the dark. Even a better level for these rapids then the day before. At the top of the chute for Powerhouse the toung was black as oil and the pillow popped in the light coming out the covered bridge window. Stellar moment I won't soon forget. Reports from Joe's were a medium level, with wood still in the big slide. Most of the boating up there was done in the dark and the short shuttle back to Green Banks Hollow was also done on foot....making for a very late night for the local jonsers. Summer boating rules.....Great runs on great rivers at great levels in great temps with great crews...only 1 swim, and light carnage. Until next time.


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