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Upper White

Friday Aug 13, 2004
Kayak: Jim Z, CJ
Organizer: Jim Z
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: high
Gauge (ft): 3.42
Gauge (cfs): 91

What a wild ride! Jim and I decided to start at the bridge in Stockbridge off of VT-107 (not the usual bridge on VT-100) to make it a shorter run since we were short on time. We had heavy rains and the White was running pretty big. There was also a fog on the river that limited visibility to less than 100 yards if I had to guess.

The action started almost immediately. Before long we found ourselves in large standing waves and there were several large, powerful holes I noticed at the last moment as I (luckily) passed right by them. The current was pretty strong and was smashing into many of the strainers but as long as you weren't where you shouldn't be it wasn't an issue.

I had never paddled with Jim before and I decided I would test his rescue skills. Trying to avoid one large hole, I didn't look downstream in time to see another hole waiting for me. The rock-ledge making the hole was near the surface so that when I hit it, I spun backwards and then was neatly gobbled up. I tried to roll but couldn't seem to figure out what was going on so I bailed.

After an ego check we continued downstream headed for S-Turn. After what I had seen so far I decided to take a far left line to avoid the pourover there. I'm glad I did when I saw Jim run through it. The wave/hole whatever was huge. I've never seen anything like it kayaking and have only seen stuff that big from rafts.

Overall, it was a great run. At first I thought I was over my head, but now I think I was just outside my comfort zone. If it hadn't been dark, raining, and foggy it might not have seemed so bad. If I can get my roll back I won't have seconds thought about trying this again.

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