Monday, August 12, 2019

Dead River Weekend - Day Two – August 11, 2019

Heading Out
As I was preparing for my Dead River trip, I got an email from Jonathan wondering what was up for the weekend. When I told him that I was going to the Dead, he decided to join us on Sunday. Our original plan was to paddle tandem on something easy (“anything but the Dead”), and then get an early start home. After a good day on Saturday and with a lower release level on Sunday, I convinced him to paddle tandem on the Dead instead.

We rigged-up Jonathan’s Mad River Explorer with the end and center bags that he had brought, and an end bag scavenged from my Encore. The shuttle from Webb’s was a joy compared to yesterday. We only 12 paddlers, so we were all able to sit in the van. Ken and Jim decided not to paddle with us on Sunday, so we had 7 boats (one tandem canoe - me and Jonathan; one solo canoe – Norm; and 5 kayaks – Jonathan, Ken, Dave, Doug, Cian and Conrad). The release was 1800 with another 100 from Spencer Stream – mostly class II rock dodging. The weather was great – sunny with a few clouds. 

Bottom of Minefield
We started with me in the bow and Jonathan in the stern but decided to switch when others commented how out of trim the boat was. Although I generally like to be in the bow, I must admit that it was better with Jonathan up front. The boat was more stable and maneuverable, and to be honest, Jonathan is better at picking out lines than me. 

We ran Sunday pretty much the same as Saturday. We ran Spencer Rips, Minefield and a bunch of other unnamed rapids before taking a break at Hayden's. After the break, Hayden’s was our first real test on a class III rapid with big waves, and we made it through fine. We then ran Gravel Pit and some other unnamed rapid before stopping for lunch at Enchanted Stream. 

View from the stern
After lunch we headed out to run Elephant Rock. This time, we followed the crew left and then right to line up on the shoot on Elephant Rock – we nailed it. Next up was Mile Long, and we managed to make to the bottom before filling up the boat. From there we continued down through some unnamed rapids and Upper and Lower Spruce to Upper and Lower Poplar. Considering ourselves lucky to have made it this far without swimming, we decided to portage Upper and Lower Poplar. 

We carried up the first hill hoping from there it would be “down-hill” all the way. It wasn’t. We dragged the boat up and down numerous hills before we finally reached the put-in below Lower Poplar about a mile away – definitely a class IV portage. For there, we enjoyed the quickwater back down to Webb’s. The rest of the crew was waiting for us at the take-out. We packed up our gear and said our good-byes before heading out for the long drive home.

On the portage trail around Poplar Falls
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