Sunday, July 1, 2007

Running "The Gap"

Today we took a trip the the CT AMC kayak club to the Deerfield river in northern Massachusetts. We ran the Fife Brook section which starts at the Fife Brook dam and finishes at Zoar's Gap.
Here's Jen in her fancy new gear that we bought for the trip.
The trip was mostly class II except for the Gap which was class III. We had 18 kayakers in our group. Generally the Deerfield is pretty shallow at this time of year but each day there are scheduled releases of water from the dam which brings the level up significantly for a period of time. Today the water release was 850 CFS for three hours between noon and 3pm. We started at 12.30pm and the five mile run took us about 2 hours. Some of the group ended up swimming a few times but we made it through successfully staying in our boats. Towards the end of the trip some of the less experienced kayakers got out of the river before the large rapids of Zoar's gap. I decided to give it a go and after some advice from the local kayakers I took the left route and followed them over the first rock, diving into the swirling water below. Paddling forward, avoiding the large rock on river left , I was immediately thrown into the surging water and successfully navigated through to the eddy without capsizing. It was well worth it.

Kayakers waiting to paddle back into the rapids of Zoar's Gap
Thankfully this is not how I ran the Gap, but many did end up in this situation whether they liked it or not

No comments: