I FINALLY GOT TO GO KAYAKING!!! That sentence was totally out of the realm of professionalism, but I don’t care. After four weeks of finding networks, scoping rivers, and basically giving up on finding anyone doing anything above class II whitewater, I finally got to get my boat wet on a fun river call the Winnie (well, that’s the nickname, but I can’t remember the full name).
It’s class III+ with one sort of class IV, but we ran it at almost twice the median volumne, and that made it hella fun! I paddled with two guys I met through the AMC Boston boating club. Actually, the first guy named Will found me through the e-mail list-serve and told me he was also living in Boston and that we could carpool together to the rivers. I was naturally on board, and we made our way to NH yesterday to paddle with the club. The river was a painfully easy class I-II, but with the fall foliage
beginning to bloom in the trees, I still had fun. Plus, we had gone with the intention of paddling the Winnie with the trip leaders afterward.
However, the group really wanted to paddle the same stretch a second time and as the leaders could not abandon their group, they stayed. I really thought I was going to be doomed to run that again (took almost 3 hours for a 1.5 mile stretch…), but luckily Will, thought of just scouting the Winnie, which was only a mile long with a greenway running along it the whole time, anyway (I’m learning that most of the rivers in the NE area are very short). That’s when another boater named Dan joined us.
So we made our way to the Winnie, dropped our boats off at the put-in, parked our cars a the takeout, and began walking the greenway back to the start. All the while, we checked the major rapids for strainers and anything of consequence that we needed to note. I actually really enjoyed the walk because both sides of the pathway were thick with paper birch, red and sugar maple, and oak, all of which were beginning to change colors.
Before long, we were at our boats dawning our gear and finally we were off! The first surprise I had was realizing just how fast the water was moving. Since the river was narrow in many spots, and the water would flush through those ares with amazing speed and force. Overall, though, the river was not technical–just a bunch of fun play waves, wave trains, and interesting bridges to go through. Dan paddled in front (having the experience of one run on it at half the level), and Will was in back
playing around sometimes. Dan and I shared a huge grin as I came out the last rapid. Oh, I forgot to mention, during the course of our run, the dark clouds seriously disappeared to reveal a bright, warm sun and light blue skies. I’m not kidding, I felt as though even Nature were saying to me, “Finally! You got to paddle. Now here’s some good weather, and you can quit whining about no boating.”
We three finished the day with beer, burgers and boating plans for the next month. Releases are coming up, and I’ve finally got some people with the knowledge of the area and the clubs to get the fix I need during my life up here. So now thankful to say, I’m a happy boater!