Sunday, March 23, 2014

Branch River Icebreaker - March 22, 2014

Tommy running Whipple Drop
We call it the Branch River Icebreaker, but we really don’t expect to find ice.  This year there was, which gives you an idea of how cold this winter actually was.

We had a nice crew for our annual Branch River trip – 6 canoes (1 tandem – Jonathan and Ellen, 2 solo – Erik and Jeff, and 3 poling – Mike, Chuck and Tommy) and 3 kayaks (Andy, Bob and Ric).  The river was at a nice level – 3 feet, 275 cfs - little low, but still fluid.

We met at the new put-in below the Stillwater Mill complex.  Once everyone found it, it worked out great.  It was much easier than climbing over the fence and lugging boats down the steep bank up by the dam.  We paddled up to the dam, and I carried my boat up to run the first rapid under the bridge.

Bob running Atlas Pallet
The trip downstream was pleasant and uneventful.  Running Whipple Drop was easy, but it was tough to surf at this level. We found a little ice on the approach to the Oakland Dam.  Fortunately, it was still thick enough to walk on.  Glendale was boney and caused trouble for a couple paddlers, but everyone made it through fine. Atlas Pallet was a straight-shot down the middle.

It started to rain as we approached the portage at the Nasonville Dam, but by the time we reached the take-out, the clouds had cleared and the sun was shining.  Spring arrived just in time!

The crew takes a break at the Oakland Dam
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