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Ausable Chasm

Saturday Jun 25, 2022
Kayak: Jamie D., Ryan K., Tony S., Chris W.
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Gauge (cfs): 569
USGS Gauge Name/Link: Ausable Forks
Author: Tony Shaw

Bands of intermittent ADK summer rain brought the Ausable River below Ausable Forks up above 1100 cfs briefly around midnight on Thursday but by noon on Saturday it had fallen to 569 cfs. Two of us had never run this short but impressive class IV river before, and the other two had not run it in a decade (and neither/never higher than 400 cfs). Someone at NYSEG needs a stern reminder that the paddlers' (public) gate at the put-in needs to remain unlocked starting Memorial Day weekend, but as the saying goes: “what happens (just barely) under the barbed wire  fence stays under the fence”.

I think I can speak for our entire foursome when I say the mid-500s was a really fun level, and the shallow 2 mile paddle out to the 9N bridge was not bad at all, made all the more enjoyable by a light breeze under sunny skies, temps in the 80’s, and bald eagle & osprey sightings. In the named drops up above no flips, no swims, and plenty of hoots and hollers at river level, and also from the paying crowds overhead enjoying their own version of an adrenaline rush, crossing back and forth over the raging river on the Tarzan bridges maintained by the Ausable Chasm Company. The ACC staff were universally welcoming and friendly to us when we stopped to scout at the Devil’s Oven drop and above Mike’s Hole, where kayakers in the past have been harassed.

The morning hiccup at the gate squelched our ambitions for a second lap, but otherwise with an early start 2 laps seem realistic, even at flows as low as 300 cfs.

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