The Vermont Paddlers Club

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Saturday Jul 9, 2005
Kayak: Craig Carline, Eve Soutiere, John Thornton, Geoff Klouman
Organizer: Craig Carline
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: medium

Eve and I were to meet John at 10:00 AM but I was of course late to pick up Eve, and consequently late to meet John. John, being the good guy he is, said he had a huge cup of coffee and was quite content. We arrived at the take-out and there was no one there. I was quite shocked because when I ran the Pemi last year there were a lot of people there. We loaded up everything on my car and headed to the put-in. There we came across three other paddlers, one being Jimmy Maneksha who showed us down the Black River earlier this year. We introduced ourselves and then jumped on the river.

The metal gauge read about 1250 cfs. As we proceeded down we found this level to offer a lot of small surfing waves and we caught every single one we could find. There were many eddies as well to give you repeat service. We scouted the first big drop and decided to run it on the right. We could see a couple rooster tails and a couple holes that would need to be dodged on the left. That's one very wide and sticky looking hole at the top!

Shortly after this drop is another drop with a nice wave train. I saw people surfing here last year but the level didn't seem right to provide a good surf. We took turns peeling out into the wave train and riding it down and back to the eddy. We then proceeded downstream where there were more light Class II rapids and small waves/holes to surf. Eventually we wound up at the final rapid which is known as the local playspot. The river makes a sweeping turn to the right and goes over a couple ledges in the process, ending finally in a long big wave train. This was a very entertaining roller-coaster ride.

Geoff met us at the take-out as planned and John couldn't make another run so we again had three on our second run. The metal gauge this time read about 1600 cfs. The river definitely changed face with this extra water. All of our little surfing waves and eddies were gone. The first big drop looked friendlier with more water in it and the big hole at the top was becoming a wave. We decided not to scout and later regretted not running the left side of the drop. It was probably one of the few chances to try with a swim being not so bad.

The rest of the rapids went by very fast since there were few eddies or waves. The last drop's wave train was even bigger than before. Very fun! Geoff is one of those guys that can talk you into doing anything and an all around great guy to be on the river with. Geoff decided Eve needed to try his boat (Big Wheel) and they carried up to run the last rapid again, with Geoff taking her boat. I am waiting in the pool below for them to come through when I see a swimmer and then see Eve's boat in a mega-squirt through the whole rapid. Then Eve came down easily bouncing down the waves in the Big Wheel. It was a really funny sight! It's good to see Class IV boaters swim Class II rapids!

It was a great day on a great river with great friends. It wasn't a challenge for any of us but was a lot of fun nonetheless. With the river to ourselves and all the time in the world, we just goofed off and had fun. It was one of the days you just don't want to end. Add in a few osprey and heron fly-bys to the mix in a little nature and you have a great trip. Afterwards we hit the President's Grille for food. I think we'd all suggest it if you're in the area. The waitress said she knew we were paddlers by the look of us. Whatever could she mean?

The Pemi is a Class II river with some Class III lines if you want them. They are easily avoided if you don't. If you've paddled Class II at least 5-6 times I'd say the Pemi would be a good run for you. The rocks are somewhat sharp and the river is shallow in many areas so swimming isn't recommended. The next release is in August, I believe the 20th and 21st.

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