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Upper Lamoille

Saturday Apr 13, 2002
Organizer: Mike Fullerton
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium

Seven paddlers answered the call, three kayaks and four solo canoes. Two announced the intent of taking out at East Hardwick but offerred shuttle service. The weather was warm, something unusual for the Upper Lamoille, but the water was cold and the combination bred a low fog that made things difficult now and then.

The smell of burning brush mingled with the pungent odor of last winter's manure, recently freed from the Liquistore tank. The river had been at 3' on the Wolcott St. guage the night before but rose to nearly 4' overnight. We ran without difficulty until the last rapid above East Hardwick where the river exacted it's toll. A kayak hit a rock and ejected it's owner. Paddler and paddle were quickly rescued but the boat escaped and ran the dam and falls in town. We found it parked on a rock about 20' off shore as neat and safe as if someone had just left it there to have lunch.

We thought for a while then sent people down the steep bank with a rope and carabiner. A kayak ferried out to the stranded boat (it had picked a rock with a very handy eddy) and attached the carabiner. People on shore belayed off a tree and the boat was brought home minus float bags but otherwise unharmed.

The swimmer decided to call it a day and another paddler had shoulder problems. That left the leader and two people who had never run the river before with high water and thickening fog. We opted to run the upper portion again rather than risk the heavier water below. The second run was uneventful despite the annoying fog.

I was sorry to miss the best part of the river at a really good level, but common sense suggested that we wait for another time.

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