New Haven River (Ledges)
|Stretch:||Above Route 116|
|Difficulty:||Class IV+ to V|
|Flows:||~400 to ~1,500 cfs. 730 was a great medium flow for class IV/V-. Visit the American Whitewater flow page|
|Put-in:||Turnout on Lincon St|
|Take-out:||Bridge at Rt 116|
|Shuttle:||1.2 miles (2 minutes one way)|
|Season:||Spring from rain. Occasionally off of thunderstorms.|
|Featured in A Wet State #99 and in A Wet State's contribution to World Kayak's Video Guide|
North East Roadtrip 2015 – Day 4 Afternoon
Arriving at about 5 pm and with dinner plans at 6… and a 30 minute drive back to Fayston still ahead of us, we sent the note that we may be late to dinner with my college friend. Then as we turned around after missing the drive way into the take-out parking lot, another boater (Nick Gottlieb) pulled up and knew us by name! Apparently he is friends with Culley (our friend who moved to VT), as well as several other friends from California and the South East. His boating partner was running late so he offered to show us the lines making quick time of the run and making it so we were only 10 minutes late to dinner! Without his lines, we certainly would have had to scout long sections of rapids (easily from the road) to ensure we didn’t drop into a hole. Having the guide easily saved an hour… which is saying something since the run is only one mile long!
But… that one mile, is one of the best one mile sections of river around in my mind. Whats not to love? Nice fluffy boulder gardens, ledges to boof, slides to grind, and a waterfall to huck?! Pure heaven for length of the run. This run made driving all the way north worth it all by itself. So good.
From put-in the river pulls away from the road briefly and you are welcomed by class IV to warm up on before it starts to get pushy. As you come up the Secret Compartment it gets going and really doesn’t stop until take-out other than a brief reprise below Toaster Falls. The river is also funny, at 730 cfs I didn’t think any hole (that we ran) was super stout. However, the length of the rapids and the quanitity of the holes could easily bump you sidewise or off line and get you into a hole that could swim you. So I feel that the run only required class IV+ skills, but could earn a class IV/V rating. And I am sure as the flows get up above 1,000 cfs it earns itself a class V rating just do to the continuousness of it let alone the power that I assume the holes develop.
After our dinner with my college friend, we then returned to Culley’s house. Another night of warmth and another morning of dry gear. And in order to repay the hospitality, Diane repaired a gash that their two year old sustained playing in the barn. Phew, we aren’t just mooches!
Last: North East Roadtrip: Day 4 Morning (North Boquet)
Next: North East Roadtrip: Day 5 Morning (Pond Brook)
- Rick’s F%ck Up (IV-). The first rapid is a long boulder garden that apparently is sometimes walked at lower flow. We just stayed in the left channel and boofed our way down. Easy read and run.
- Small Slide (IV-). Just downstream is a steep but totally straight forward drop that slides down 6 or 7 feet down the middle of the right channel.
- Secret Compartment (IV). Ok, so I am torn. The moves are just class IV. But in 2015 (the week before we came) a new sieve opened up in the main move and a person has since swum through it. At higher flow the move was easy and avoided being near the sieve. At low flow it is an issue. Anyways, I am going to stick with the flow I did it at and call it class IV. The move was to stay as far right and boof down the step as the river begins to drop. The sieve is buried in the pile to your left. But if you stay far right you stay away from it no problem.
- The Slides (IV+). A long boogie rapid then leads to the slides. Lots of different lines are available but also be aware there are some mean spots to wonder into as well. We entered and worked far right for the top ledge. Then some exited far right off a slide while others ferried back far left and went down a slide through a uniform hole.
- Oh by the Way (IV). Just below The Slides you enter Oh by the Way. This rapid has some boogie that leads to the crux. At the crux be far right as there is a good size hole in the middle that is backed up by a rock. So, stay all the way on the shore, boof the edge of the hole and you are good to go.
- Roostertail (IV+ to V-). If this was into a big recovery pool it wouldn’t be a big deal. But the lead in of the rapid has several large holes which then slide into a very large hole… all 100 feet from the lip of Toaster Falls. The lead in holes were all good to go at 730 cfs, we started right and punched through them gradually working back center. For the final slide, we drove hard left towards the shore to slide down the left side and around the meat of the hole. There is also a line far right. I wouldn’t want to get stuck here though…
Toaster Falls (IV+). As easy of a 17 footer as you will find anywhere. Paddle left… not too far left, but well left of center, and hit the autoboof to send it sailing. You don’t want to be far left as it lands on a shallow slab. Some folks also run a right line but that would have required more scouting so we didn’t give it a thought.
- Play Pen (IV to V). What a great rapid. Not overly difficult, but long! We started out in some class IV boogie down the right which eventually lead to a midstream eddy. Below, we worked down the far left to avoid a hole on the right just above the next ledge. There was an eddy on the left below.
- Squared off AKA All American Boof (IV). Paddling out of the eddy we just paddled off the next ledge far left. Easy but fun!
Mama Tried (IV-). Another ledge just downstream, at higher flows you want to be far left as the right is a mean hole.
Hip Shot (IV+). The last rapid is long and fun. We started left and boofed a good size hole before then staying left through another slide hole. The final slide exited the rapid just under the bridge and also marked take-out.
For more details on the run, see the AW write-up...
Take-out: Just east a mile of Bristol, VT on VT-116/VT-17 the road crossed the river twice. Take-out is the white church just before the second of the two crossings.
Put-in: Cross the river the second time and turn immediately right on Lincoln Rd, stay right at the fork and follow this for 1.1 miles to the parking area just as the river comes back close to the river.
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