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New Haven Ledges at a boat breaking low level

Saturday Oct 23, 2010
Participants:
Kayak: AJ, Russ, Jamie, Jim, Ryan, Ben
Raft: Gerard
Organizer: Ryan
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Gauge (cfs): 320
Author: Ryan

Everyone had the bug to get wet...The ledges were at a low boatable level yesterday so why not. Everyone was game so the plan was made. We met over at Rocky Dale 11am - closer to noon actually. The river looked really low but what the heck, Would be a good way to see what all the hype was about with the new changes to some of the rapids that took place from the flood high waters of October 1st.

Doing a little roadside scouting as a group and me taking my grand old time up at Eagle park we finally got on the river as a unit at about 12:45. I threw a couple of quick braces to get wet and loosen up and ended up upside down the last man back and now needing to roll right off the bat in way too shallow water...SHEESH!

Around the bend and into Rick's Phu$k Up. It actually wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting at this level. The main flow of water was relatively fluid. We all met Russ just below this rapid as Russ has about 5 cracks in his boat that have been welded in some form or another, but others just keep on coming. It may be reaching the brittle point now. Off to Road Side Rapid we went with Russ leading the way we all had varying lines of success. It was bumpier than I ever remember but then again, I have never run this river at such a low level.

Next up is Secret Compartment...Definitely has changed with a PIA boulder in the normal line/boof move and what seems like a sure fire piton in the left channel you either had the make a pretty fast move right or eddy out above the drop and then jet across and peel into the drop to smooth it out. Again, I am pretty sure everyone had their own rendition with two capsizes to quick rolls, a backwards go at it, A hip check on the middle rock, and one raft making the left line look way smoother than it was! Nice Gerard!

Now the river opens up a few lines down to the Ledges proper. Fun ELF boating. Everyone was bobbing and weaving through the various slots...some more fluid than others. The river right line at the ledges wasn't an option today with the low flow so you had to run down and get left for the longer slde and then work back right and left again to set up for By The Way. This rapid has changed as well. It is a funky slide into a heaved up ledge on the left and an actual 4 foot vertical drop on the right up against the bank. Very substantial change. We all took the slide on the left and it was relatively violent slam-bam - one party member had a rather substantial piton and gave us all the standard grimace.

Below we boogied on down to Toaster but not before smashing into what used to be a nice pillow on rooster tail transfored in to another piton rock. Remind me not to hit this next time! Toaster time - everyone styled toaster that ran it - including Gerard in his pack-raft...he even banged out a beautiful roll at the bottom.

Off to Playpen...Seemed to be to be much easier than the last couple of years. The sieve in the lead in rapid is now a non issue. The FU rock at the entry to the actually playpen is gone now too leaving a really nice jet of flow up against the river right wall that you can hop on and shoot dowon on through. Everyone cleaned it nicely.

All American Boof - clean and purrrdy... Same for Mamma Tried and we styled the next few ledges and were out above the bridge.

Two had to hit the road and two had broken their boats....We ended the day with a couple of Genny Cream Ales and got on our way...

Nice to be in the river under blue skies with a great crew of paddlers and friends alike.

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