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Lower Mad Call in Sick run

Tuesday Oct 26, 2010
Participants:
Kayak: Rich R, Jim P, Noah C, Jon D, Peg P
Organizer: Peg
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium high
Gauge (ft): 3.60
Gauge (cfs): 580
Author: Peg

WHAT A RUSH!! Five of us bit the bullet and left work early, to come paddling. It started out with Jim P, Rich R and myself, and then grew with some quick text messages to Noah and Jon. Gathering at the Lower Mad take out, we spent some time discussing wardrobe. I told the boys they were "jibberjabbering" (a term stolen from Jim F) and we should move on. We put in at bout 4:15 and were off and running. Jim P made sure he had a tight leash on me as we started our run. After some ferrying, eddying and deep breathing, we made it down the first shoot into the double drop. A quick scout of the area, left me portaging and the boys running the shoot. (I just didn't want to show them up). Under the bridge we went, after a minor 4 kayak pileup. Jim had drawn a clear line for me to follow, which of course I did not. I chose my own eddy approximately 50 feet further down. After an incredible save off my back deck (ok pure luck), we hit the flatwater. (where was John A when we needed him, the flatwater King). We continued down this way until we reached Horseshoe, where Rich and I were given the very important task of holding rescue ropes (ok we portaged around it but we DID have ropes in our hands). Rich and I walked for what seemed like 5 miles and put in under Washing Machine. after getting back in our boats, Noah and I were in a neck and neck race for this little set of rapids, playing a quick game of chicken. He won and I ended up beached on the wrong side of some rocks. Again, I walked for miles, (well maybe 75 feet) until Jon came to get me (thanks Jon). Back in the water we were, heading for the second bridge, when Jon decided this would be a good time to get a fish count. Well he must have greased his boat prior to put in because that little bugger would not wait for him and took off down the river, with Jim chasing it. A few tries and giggles later, Jon was on his way. After ramming Rich under the bridge we eddied in to look for the ledge. Well, they did...I kept on going and found myself balanced precariously on top of the ledge, with no choice but to go down. After some expletives, the rest of the crew made it down and enjoyed a good chuckle at my white knuckle paddling. In the eddy we discussed the last feature of the Mad before the Winooski. Jim told me what to do and where to go, and he told me to follow him down. Now did I? NO! That rather large rock he told me to go AROUND...well I went right into it. With a loud crack that left my teeth rattling, we punched through the rest of the holes and high fives were shared all around. AHHH! The sweet taste of victory. Paddling back to the take out, discussions were had all around about this being the last trip of the season.....well....maybe....ok, the last trip of the day seemed more realistic. Crawling up some goat path, we made it to the cars and headed home full of plans for the next trip down the Mad. Thanks guys, I had such a great time and could not have done it without you!

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