The Vermont Paddlers Club

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NBL Gorge and Slides

Sunday May 13, 2012
Participants:
Kayak: John Atherton, Chris Weed, Jonathan Gilbert, Jim Poulin, Jim, Jamie Dolan, Jay Kinecht, Paul, Chris Ingram
Organizer: Chris Ingram
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: low boatable
Author: Chris Ingram

After a fickle spring, and doubts about boatable flows, a quick regional rain brought the north branch up to a fun low level for a club trip. It was a suprisingly good showing with eight people ready to go. We met at the gauge bridge in waterville, figured out shuttles and got on the river just behind the Waterville Elementary School.

With a range of experience on the run, and one newcomer, we entered the gorge under sunny skies and a good low flow. Everyone had a chance to warm up with mellow boogie water before the first rapid, making it through unscathed. With a roll here, a bump off-line there, we worked through great boulder gardens that kept everyone smiling and busy chosing lines. At the biggest rapid in the gorge, the main rock in the middle kept the challenge high, forcing a left or right move to end it. The first swim of the trip came here, with a quick cleanup in the pools below.

We all spent some time side surfing the ledge holes below the Codding Hollow Bridge before running the drop below and on to the take out bridge. Once there, everyone decided they wanted more, and the whole group headed on for the ledges in Waterville. Three of the boaters had never run the slides, and it was a good level to take a first look. We all got out above the mill slide and scouted the first and second drop. It was smooth paddling until the fourth drop, where we had two swims and a big stern ender. Again, we chased down boats and gathered up to run the rest of the slides.

Everyone seemed stoked to have seen this stretch of river, and agreed it was a great way to wrap up a day on the river.

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