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Winooski Falls

Wednesday Apr 18, 2012
Kayak: Paul C
Open Canoe: Tony S
Inflatable: Dan S
Organizer: Paul Carlile
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Gauge (cfs): 1500
Author: Paul Carlile

High temps on Monday had me hoping there might be just enough water for the scheduled Lower Mad Trip this week but the bottom dropped out. Little River was releasing, and a possible option, when Chris Weed suggested Winooski Falls between Burlington and Winooski. Tony and I hadn't paddled there in a number of years and I've been looking for a chance to have Chris show me around his back yard. Based on the signs below Chace Mill [northwest parking lot] on river left threatening death to kayaker (ok fine - no river access especially for kayakers) we decided to put in off the river walk on river right. [Don't worry about those signs by the northwest lot. The property manager who put them up is long gone. - Chris]

It was a beautiful evening for paddling . Tony and I were changed and scouting when Dan showed up around 5:30 - still no Chris. We opted for a far left route sneaking the first ledge almost against the shore and cutting back right to run the main drop. At higher water the first ledge sneak would have been dangerous but at this level there was not the much water going into the mill race. After a clean run we carried up over the rocks toward the right side of the river. Dan was changed and opted for a class II sneak route along the right. As Tony and I were getting ready to go Chris showed up and approved of our route but suggested following the main left flow over both drops. Tony repeated our first line and I followed Chris' suggestions. It was a very clean line, straightforward but definitely exciting. Tony and Dan did a quick carry and ran a bumpy slot left of the horseshoe before we did our third run. On this pass, I ran Chris' line again and Dan followed Tony down our original line. It's short but some very nice water and certainly an easy shuttle and short commute for me. I'll definitely be running this one again soon.

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