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You call it the Mill, I'll call it the Clarendon.....

Saturday May 10, 2014
Kayak: Jamie D, Chad C, Ryan M
Open Canoe: Tony S
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Gauge (cfs): 656
Author: Ryan

Crazy Friday night Rain Storm and our options were pretty good everywhere. Although it was far and few between to get anyone out on the water. The dedicated few were chirping it up on the Message Board early Saturday Morning... Too many decisions/ went with a gut feeling and rallied the group down to Rutland and the Mill River while a few others headed back to the New Haven for laps.

Jamie, Tony and Chad - were game for a lowish level in the Clarendon Gorges on a gorgeous May Saturday. The level at the put in looked like it would be a relatively forgiving run and that meant the lower gorge would be more fun and scenic than hairball. The first gorge is read and run and there are some great options for alternative lines when there is more water in the gorge.... At lower levels you really needed to stay on line to run each drop cleanly with out bouncing about. For the most part all participants had good runs through the drops in the upper gorge. The flatwater/cobble starts right up after you are out of the gorge and it is a lesson in boat control so not to get hung up as you make your way toward Mill Drop.

Mill drop is a fantastic rapid with a couple of holes to punch and some cross currents to navigate to get to your chosen sluce to run. The left route clean and less pushy, the right route full of piss and vinegar. I ran the right line and inadvertently pulled my first ear-dippin' boof. Sketchy! Chad, Jamie and Tony ran the right side and made the drop look smooth and fun! Yes the home owners in the Mill were out on their deck screaming and hollering at us to "GO" because they didn't want us in their RIVER below their house. The fact is they don't have any right to tell us what to do as long as we are not on their property (either river bank) and to be honest, they really aren't all that bothersome due to the noise of the rapid. Just don't antagonize them and it is a relatively small nuisance in the middle of the run. Again - don't engage and stay off of their property.

As we moved down river through the rest of the cobble/flat water we came to one strainer that we needed to portage and then around the bend was the entrance to the Devils Gorge (lower Clarendon Gorge). We portaged Grundle Puncher, which got it's second ever descent this spring. Back in 2007 "Young Max" ran it for the first descent and came out rather unscathed, Brenton did a repeat this past Easter Sunday. It looks like an easy drop, the consequences of missing your line are harrowing though - can you say POTHOLE! The portage is a royal PIA and chucking and hucking are the desired line off of the cliff wall. Once back in our boats, we worked our way down the lower gorge rapids and had a blast wrapping up our run in the swimming hole at Lower Clarendon Gorge State Park.

We all loaded gear and parted ways. Tony and I headed to the Ledges to see what the rest of the VT boaters were up to........

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