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Upper Browns River - Underhill

Friday Oct 1, 2010
Kayak: Paul Carlile
Open Canoe: Tony Shaw
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: high
Gauge (ft): 3.50
Gauge (cfs): 150
Author: Tony Shaw

Mill Brook was too high for open boating (and for most sane kayakers probably too). Everything was that way October 1st, it seems. So Paul and I drove up to Underhill and ran the upper Browns, putting in below the culvert on Stevensville Rd. in Underhill Center and taking out at Mills River Park in Underhill Flats. There was a lot of water, obliterating all of the cobbly islands that characterize the upper Browns, but it was clearly on the way down by ~5pm when we put in.

It has only one constriction 1/2 way down beneath a farm bridge that produced a pretty massive hole/wave, and the rest is a riffling class I-II in medium/high water. But the high water made the upper 1/2 of the run a strong II with just a few of strainers and one ~log jam to keep it interesting. The high water actually made the strainers easier to get around, but a beginner could easily have gotten into trouble here. There are a couple of barbed wire fences to be watching for, too.

It took 1 1/4 hours or less, with things moving along at a good clip when not strategizing how to skirt the log jam. Lots of locals seemed to be impressed by our intrepidness on a day when flash flood warnings were all over the airwaves.

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