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No-Shuttle Boreas

Saturday May 13, 2006
Kayak: Martha, Rick, Steve
Inflatable: Eric Bishop / Tony Shaw (in the shredder)
Organizer: Tony Shaw
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low
Gauge (ft): 5.0
Gauge (cfs): 3000
Author: Tony Shaw

Someday when I have lots of free time on my hands I am going to design and build a motorized boat trailer that I can tote over to the Boreas, assemble, and run upstream alongside the river on the abandoned railroad tracks that parallel "the main attraction", a several mile stretch of continuous, bouldery III-IV water. I won't even charge a shuttle fee: the grins on the paddlers faces will be ample reward!!!

As it stands today, to get to this mecca you need to put-in a few miles farther up, at the NY28 bridge, survive a few ledgy drops including "the falls", and be prepared to endure a couple of LONG (but attractive) stretches of flatwater below.

Catching the Boreas at a good level (around zero feet or higher on the Northwoods Club Road bridge abutment) is tricky - it has no USGS gauge. But I watched online as hard rains throughout the preceding week marched northward up the Hudson Valley and boosted the Hudson pre-bubble gauge to 5.0 ft/3000 cfs on this day. Five feet on the Hudson gauge, according to Jamieson, is a good barometer for finding water in the Boreas, and our Boreas level was a satisfying -0.25 on the bridge abutment (just cresting).

We were an experienced group of 5, with well over 100 paddling seasons collectively under our belts. Rick, a local, knows the Boreas well, and claims it is his favorite Adirondack river. Martha kept us entertained with her motherly safety checks and her sense of humor -- "I've been paddling since the day I was born" (well, I hadn't really lived until I took up paddling ;o)

Eric and I brought only the shredder to hedge against the possibility that the Boreas might be a torrent from weeklong rains, and beyond our comfort level in hard open boats. The shredder was over-kill, as it turned out, but still fun, and it is incredibly forgiving. At one point in a class IV rapid we stuck on a rock, spun around backwards, and then bobbed down through 2 or 3 stompin' holes totally out of control...and laughing all the way.

The best part of this day was the shuttle, or the "no shuttle" in this case. Rick, Steve, and Martha appeared out of the blue at the put-in right as we were about to go spot our car downstream, and at the end of their run (the NWCR bridge), they offered to retrieve our car and leave it for us behind Smith's Restaurant in North Creek. So, for the first time, Eric and I got to paddle down the final ~3 miles of the Boreas to the Hudson, which was at a fine level...and deserted. The paddle down the Hudson past North River, through the western-style wavetrain known as Perry Ellis, past a lovely and intricate sidestream cascade on river left, and all the way to North Creek was chilly but relaxed -- a ~15 mile day in total.

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