20070524 Kayak from Marshfield to Montpelier

About 20 miles of relatively shallow, wide, slow, fast, rapids, dams, falls, birds, weasels, turtles, turkeys, cows, horses, ducks, geese, etc.

8.5 hours.

That includes hauling the fucking kayak up by rope, up a steep heavily wooded slope to get around one dam, then doing it again, and at the end of the trip, hauling it up to a service road to get around another dam, through knee-deep poison ivy. I couldn't get back down to the river for the last mile, so pulled the kayak along the dirt service road to the main road. Then changed into running shoes and ran back to Sue's office to get the car.

The second pic on the right shows the kayak being lowered down to the water after being hauled up through the woods.

I'm glad I brought the 10m climbing rope.

Movie (youtube) will show up one day of course - but not today. After dinner I passed out (the two glasses of wine didn't help me stay awake). The worst part of the photos is that there is only one of any of the rapids. I couldn't deal w/ the camera while dealing w/ the rapids. The one photo (posted here) was after a brief portage across the dam in Plainfield, I took a shot of where I set in.

The rapids down in Montpelier were a lot worse, but I ended up missing the worst part by hauling the kayak along the service road. I suppose I could've got to the water if I was inspired, but I was pretty wiped out, didn't trust my left arm (was cramping up while fighting w/ the last rough section) and at that point, just wanted to go home and take a shower and wash off the poison ivy oil.

This was my first river run. Technically it was my second, but the first was just a 1/4 mile jaunt up the Cockermouth from the north end of Newfound Lake in NH. I was kayaking though the marsh at the north end, and noticed I was actually heading upstream for a bit. This was substantially more interesting.

Note on the Winooski River: It meanders like a motherfucker. At times, I went around 180° curves. It rarely exposed more than 50 yards of river ahead. The first 4 hours consisted of about 1/2 hr of rapids and 3-1/2 hrs of glassy, flat, moving river. It was pretty sweet.

Key gear: sunscreen; shitty hand-drawn map showing bridges, rapids & dams that some guy posted on the 'net - not accurate, but better than nothing; EVERYTHING in plastic bags. Also, I wore a PFD the entire time (mostly) even though the water was rarely very deep - in a few cases, the kayak got hung up on river stone beds and i just stood up, scooted forward a few feet, then continued on. I didn't use a spray skirt and didn't miss it until the very end toward Montpelier where things got substantially more exciting. The PFD had convenient pockets w/ latching clips.

Forgotten gear: bug repellent; huge bomb to nuke the fucking dams.

1 comment:

  1. MZ:

    Great Job
    Great Pictures
    Great testament of determination