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Trip Reports

Find trips reports from 2001 and prior in the Bow & Stern Archive
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Grand Canyon 2022 Thursday-Sunday Mar 24-Apr 10, 2022
MIssisquoi in North Troy (MINT) Sunday May 22, 2022
Ausable Chasm Saturday Jun 25, 2022


Grand Canyon 2022
Thursday-Sunday Mar 24-Apr 10, 2022
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low
Author: Tony Shaw

Scoring a shoulder-season (spring or fall) permit to run the Grand Canyon in the annual January Park Service lottery is a Diamond in the Rough. As well as a Crystal, Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby, Turquoise, etc., etc. A bunch of us tried for years with no luck and then, finally, in February of 2019 a "Congratulations..." email came my way.

No 225+ mile, 2-3 week wilderness float trip ever goes entirely "according to plan". Inviting a group that can be flexible and resilient is the first of many challenges. We were a solid group of boaters/adventurers, considering some of us are pushing 70, and the weather we had could not have been nicer. Jon was a really great late addition to the roster, grinning ear-to-ear with every splash of water! I could say something equally nice about every other person on my trip.

It was sad for sure when Pete and Bridget hiked out from Phantom Ranch on day 8 after breaking a wrist (the 2 youngest paddlers on the roster). Getting off the river on day 18 at Diamond Creek was the original plan in 2019/2020, before our launch date then was scratched due to COVID-19, so I personally wasn't heartbroken when we arranged our day 18 pickup.

Arduous and sublime are my go-to adjectives to describe our trip, and I hope one day you get to experience it yourself.

MIssisquoi in North Troy (MINT)
Sunday May 22, 2022
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Author: Tony Shaw

Overnight thunderstorms across northern VT (as well as the Eastern Townships of PQ) dropped an inch or more of rain and swelled the Missisquoi in North Troy (MINT) just enough to make this attractive 4.2 miles stretch, ending above Big Falls, sporty. Sun and clouds in the low 80's had us all in shorties, for a change. No strainers in play, no flips or swims. Start to finish in ~2 hours - in part because we boat scouted everything and in part owing to a steady, stout southerly tailwind. Wind also helped befuddle a few pesky skeeters at the take-out and put-in. Class III at this level, with a choice of lines through each of the wavy rapids including CanAm (though there we all stayed left). Full disclosure, there is mile or more in the middle that's basically flat.

The eddy service is ample on river right at the take-out, but you'd be in big trouble if you floated past this eddy absent-mindedly. We were all good until my boat got the notion to run Big Falls by itself when it slipped off the sloping ledge below the parking area where I had it precariously perched. Paul thankfully corralled it before it took the plunge. The last 1/4 mile or so of boating above Big Falls is incredibly scenic, however the steep "footpath" up and out of the final eddy to the road is no picnic. We resorted to using a throw rope to drag up the kayaks.

Ausable Chasm
Saturday Jun 25, 2022
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
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.

VPC trip reports can provide an important historical basis for 'current use', a legal doctrine that can affect the regulatory process - dam relicensing, new dam construction projects, etc. But only (obviously) if we (WE) write them! So, be sure to share and preserve the memories of your latest paddling adventures by submitting a trip report.
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