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Browns River

Saturday Apr 16, 2016
Kayak: Kris Barrowman, Lief Barrowman
Organizer: Kris Barrowman
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: low boatable
Gauge (ft): 4.88
Gauge (cfs): 1800
USGS Gauge Name/Link: Lamoille at East Georgia

Decided to run the Browns even with levels low as I haven't paddled this since my years with the Northern Vermont Canoe Cruisers some twenty-two years ago. The level was approximately 6" below the bridge abutment at the put-in. We scouted the dam and thought the left-side slide would result in just scraping and way too big a hit against the rock creating a small rooster-tail at the foot of the slide. We chose a center line which alas was slightly too far left. Both my son and I checked the fish count as our rear quarters were caught in the pour-over hydraulic from the slide and endered us with a twist. Kris wouldn't have this and Lief helped portage back upstream for a second go. This time Kris had it clean on a centerline drop into the dam's hole with good countering hip action and strokes to get past the multiple currents grabbing in the hole. S-turn rapid was smooth. We river scouted and discussed a dry-land scout for the 1st river-wide drop by the house on the left. Memory of a run 20 some odd years ago wasn't so clear. With some careful eddy-work to preview our line, we chose to drop it without a scout. It was in good shape and we took a line in the middle for the largest drop. Further downriver at the last drop by the island we stopped for a break and scouted for logs. The left channel was clogged with a lot of debris, starting with the remains of a beaver dam up top. On the far right of the island, the chute looked clean; but, didn't have nearly enough water to cover the exposed fanfare of rocks. The center lines had a birch log parallel to the current flow exposed just below the first drop. With the log present we thought making a narrow line in the center but tight right against the island possible with more water.  We chose river center, just right of the rock with trees, keeping just left of the birch log camped in the middle. Lief dropped the first ledge and with an extremely fast duffek was able to twist to the right below the log river center for good water over the final drop and to avoid a flat exposed rock on the left. Kris took a nice straight line with momentum through both drops and simply boofed off of the rock at the precipice of the larger lower drop. The remainder of the paddle to McNall road took good river-reading skills to stay off the rocks in the river-wide shallows and we each scraped a few times. Now with a refresher we'll take it on with more water the next times we have rains. Good time and a really fun paddle. Caution should be taken especially if higher waters move the birch log to broach the center line by the island drop.

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