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Eeking out the last bit of light….Martin’s Brook, Blue Angels Style

Friday Oct 15, 2010
Kayak: Ben G, Danny S, Mike M, Rogan, Russ K, Ryan M
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: Ryan

After a hair-raising experience on Hancock (with my hair on fire), our group being dealt two substantial beat-downs and a broken boat, something a smidge mellower was of order. Ben was supposed to meet up with some of his old UVM club-mates at the NBW so he and Russ raced off to check the take out for them. I jetted over to Minister to get a look at the old breached dam drop at the bottom of the run and to meet them over there. No one liked the looks of the drop or the hole at the bottom. It's not very often you see a recirculating hole at the bottom of a horsetail spout waterfall; there was one there though. We all loaded up in the cars and boogied over to Martin's to get in a run before the sun set — the biggest and easiest of the tribs to the NBW and definitely the cleanest. After the UVM guys got suited up and were ready to get wet we loaded up and headed up to the put-in off of Macy's Road. We probably didn't put in until 5:45 and it was more or less dusk making the initial gorge pretty dark. The flow was good but definitely dropping so we were lucky to be catching this run at a medium level. Any lower and Russ would have added more than just the one additional crack to his multi-welded Jefe.

Martin's Brook is a pretty mountain stream that gathers the water from Patterson, Martin's and further down, Herrick streams off of the slopes of White Rocks, Hunger, Putnam and a few others in the Hogback range in Middlesex. We put in on Patterson above where Martin's comes in. There are a handful of mild class 3 rapids above a boulder choked Big Branchesque rapid that with more flow pushes class 4+. Today it was a 3+ with broach potential. Below this rapid things pick up to the confluence with Martin's Brook. We all found ourselves in line like ducks with either Russ or myself in the lead. We bombed down through the continuous class 3 action from the confluence of Martin's and Patterson to Shady Rill and one of the bigger drops on the river that you can catch a decent boof off of — this is where Herrick comes in as well boosting the flow some. Once you cross under Shady Rill bridge, you enter the ledge drop section straight away. It has holes and ledges to avoid or crash, and plenty of boof moves to make if you choose. At this point the group was loose and paddling cleanly. Danny, Mike, and Rogan were fresh and making crisp moves. Russ, Ben, and myself were enjoying low stress creeking after the freight train ride we had just been on over at Hancock Brook. From the straightaway you run down to a few vertical drops that require some precise maneuvering to run cleanly and a confident line to avoid excessive bracing. The group of 6 ran this section cleanly, Blue Angel style, except for me; I flopped the last rapid and had to throw a HUGE brace on my left side in the landing harm, no foul though. From there it is a couple of more class 2+ rapids to the take out at the Shady Rill Park. Everyone was happy to be off the river as we were out of daylight! We all had huge smiles and were pleased with the run to wrap up another epic October 2010 Friday.

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