Sunday, May 7, 2017

White River - Granville to Stockbridge - May 6, 2017

Clouds and rain on the trip to the put-in
“Is it worth it?” my wife asked as we talked about the 3.5-hour drive and likely rain for Saturday’s trip on the White River in Vermont.  “Is it really worth it?”

“Yes” I said, “it definitely is”.

It was cold and wet when I left my house at 6:00 a.m. for the drive up to the White River.  The drive to a new trip usually includes a mixture of excitement and apprehension, especially when it involves crossing four states. This trip was no exception. It rained as I crossed into MA, and continued raining as I crossed NH and entered VT. The clouds were hanging low in the valleys of the Green Mountains when I met the crew from the NHAMC at the Hancock Overlook on VT-100 in Hancock just south of the Granville town line

At the put-in
The White River arises in the Green Mountains and flows south and then east across the state to empty into the Connecticut River at White River Junction. There are two sections of the White River that are popular for spring trips – the lower Gaysville section from Stockbridge to Bethel, and the upper section from Granville to Stockbridge. Our original plan was the paddle the lower Gaysville section, which has a few more exciting rapids. Due to high water levels, though, the trip was changed to the upper section.

This would be my first trip on the White River, so it really didn’t matter to me which section we paddled. I met the group at the put-in at 10:00, and began to unload my gear. I’d be paddling tandem with my friend Jonathan. The group included one other tandem, four polers, and four solos – all canoes. The river was at a nice level – 7 feet, 4,000 cfs on the West Hartford gage. We ran the shuttle and got on the river at around 11:00.

Paddling tandem with Jonathan
The trip was around 14 miles and wound through pretty farms and fields in Vermont's dairy country. The run was mostly quickwater with a couple of easy class II rapids. We worked our way downstream enjoying the rapids when we found them. It rained on and off until around 2:00, but that didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. At around 2:00, the clouds finally lifted, and we even saw some blue sky. We made it to the take-out in Stockbridge at around 4:00.

With a long drive home ahead of me, I packed my gear quickly, said my goodbyes, and got on my way. The rain started up again when I was half way home, but at that point, I didn’t care.

And yes – the trip was definitely worth it!

Mutt and Jeff take a break for lunch
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