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Browns River Friday evening

Friday May 2, 2014
Kayak: Beth N., Chris F., John A., Chris W., Brock R., Ken E.
Organizer: Ken Emery
Difficulty: nov-int WW
Level: low boatable
Author: K Emery

There were 6 paddlers for the first paddle of the Browns River this season. The level was low-fluid (about -6" on the footing) and a good level for 2 first-timers (a 3rd was planning to come but got hung up at work). We messed about a little in the current at the small ledge by the bridge and our first swim got the group under way. Both first-run paddlers portaged the dam feature, which appeared less retentive this year. The swirl in the left-of-center hole had been replaced by a curling haystack. The slanting ledge and green tongue on river left remained the only apparent line there. In the S-rapid that followed a line center-left, skirting the waves and flow that pushed into the 'magnetic' central rock, was the preferred route. While eddy scouting there Chris Weed found a submerged log river right of the sentinel rock that he thought could come into play if someone got off flow to river right. Everyone stayed on line through the rapid but on the exit a second swim happened when a rock stuck it's foot out and trip up one paddler. At the river-wide drop, everyone stayed upright following a line left of the central boulder. There was a log blocking the direct route at the slide-drop feature that followed. While some of the experienced paddlers had some extra lateral moves before finally exiting, the inexperienced paddlers had better luck there. Beth (in John's Solo) slid right down through the cross current mid-way and dropped off the second ledge clean and Chris Frost followed (in his Biscuit 55 playboat). Another rock tripping swim incident happened exiting the feature and then came the long, sometimes bony, 1.5 mile class l-ll boulder garden to the last (islands) feature where no one elected to run the river right chute. 3 route options there were clean of wood.

We didn't get underway until closer to 5:30 so it was dusk when we finished up. In spite of relatively fluid conditions, some plastic was donated in the usual area. There was only one swimmer (who practiced a few times) but in spite of that he did very well considering he was river running in a playboat and had only paddled the Upper White and Middle Mad previously. Beth hadn't paddled (since the Deerfield Class ll clinic) and she did great peeling and eddying out from the first wave train at the put in. It was a fun evening and of course our entertainment director, Brock kept the smiles refreshed.

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