The Vermont Paddlers Club

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2021 Class II Clinic

Saturday-Sunday Jul 10-11, 2021
Kayak: Paul C, Chris W, Chris F, Molly M, Ross K, Eric C, Molly B, Jess R
Organizer: Paul Carlile
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium
Gauge (cfs): 950
Author: Paul Carlile

The 2021 Class II clinic was scheduled as usual for the Deerfield River. You know the saying, "when it rains it pours" and after a very dry summer Tropical Storm Elsa dumped a few inches on southern VT resulting in flows on 7/10 of 5000cfs over 4x the normal release washing out most of the rapids and turning Zoar Gap into a Class IV. Luckily Otter Creek was running at a nice level so we rescheduled to there. Saturday it was flowing around 950cfs and it was beautiful sunny day. Below the Belden Falls Dam the group worked on ferries, peel outs and eddy turns. We had one swimmer  and a near miss or two in the very turbulent waters of the gorge. There was quite a group the river left rock below the gorge who were entertained by the aftermath although they couldn't see the action. More peel-outs a the bottom of the next rapid. The surf wave below the campground was in enough to give the group a good introduction to surfing. On the mile flatwater we were treated to 3 Ospreys and 2 beavers. On the second run we caught a lot more eddies working to get as much out of the run as possible. This lap we got a fly over by a bald eagle next to the campground.

We'd hoped to do a low water Lower Mad run on Sunday but were disappointed that it had dropped too far. Back to Otter Creek, this time at 750cfs. Sunday we were joined by Molly B and Jess R. More work on fundamentals then on down the river. This time we had a 100% success rate at the gorge. We noted that water was maybe even more turbulent but the waves not as big. We stopped at the now vacant sunning rock to talk about safety. We did some rope practice and the took turns jumping in and throwing to "rescue". Sunday the surf wave was smaller but still enough to do a little practice. After a full weekend and a long run due to the safety lesson the crew decided to call it after one run.

All of the students did great and are ready for more. Praying for more rain and the chance to paddle together soon.

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