As some know, New York is one of my favorite places. Over the past few years I have discovered how good the whitewater is and have been making trips. It took a little, but after talking it up I finally convinced people to join me for Beaver River Rendezvous. Thomas had been convinced earlier, but due to uncontrollable circumstances couldn’t come last year. Peter also chimed in with interest. So I had managed to rally a crew. I was more surprised as I got closer, it grew. Ended up with Todd, David, Tanya, and Andy joining up. With some planning out of the way we then arranged to paddle the Bottom Moose on our way up on Friday. Tanya and Andy decided to get some playboating in and went up ahead of time to the Ottawa.
When Friday finally rolled around we all started our migration North. Peter and Thomas carpooled with me, so the trip was not as lonely as in previous years. We ended up being little behind Todd and David, and when we rolled into the put in they had made a friend who’d be joining us. There was a little apprehension with how much daylight we had left, but I felt confident we could get done with some light. Once shuttle was set we headed down to the water. Peter noticed the ramp and decided to run it. He gathered up some good speed, flew into the air, and landed flat. No one else was going to run it, but now they definitely wouldn’t.
We ran the standard line at Fowlersville and it well for most. Thomas managed to get hit in the nose with his paddle. Even though he has a full face it got right in the opening. I’d seen this happen to others there, you build up some speed and need to mind where you keep the paddle. At Funnel the lines were mixed. While we hopped down in a controlled manner, there were still some jitters left. We paddled on and got out to scout when we came to Knife’s Edge. While we had gotten a nice unexpected bump and the river was around 3.1ft, I was still not sure the boof line was in. After describing the standard line to everyone, we looked over the boof. Both our new friend and I agreed it looked a bit low to be running it. Ran up and demonstrated the standard S-turn line and waited below. The rapid was run without major issue, but we spent a bit longer than I’d have liked there.
At double drop, we just ran the left hand line to speed things up a little. This brought us the the portage and Agers. More time was lost while portaging, and light was starting to look a little scarce. The lead in to Agers seems intimidating, but it’s nice and clean. The drop definitely added to the stoke for the crew and we continued to boogie down. As light was getting limited, I made the decision not to scout Shurform. Told everyone the line, punch the guard wave, stay to the left, then headed down myself. Got a nice clean line and was followed closely by Thomas and Peter. Then both Todd and David got kicked into the center by the guard wave. Luckily all went well, but they had a mankier ride than needed. Powerline provided some fun, but it was darker still. As we got out to scout Crystal things got really dark. I pointed out the line, but did not have confidence I was able to convey where you should be. Thus we went and did the far right sneak all the way down and put in in the pool below. Admittedly it was disappointing to have missed the rapid. Just means everyone will have to come back for Moose Fest.
On Saturday, we had breakfast then boogied over to Colton for the Raquette release. I wanted a bit of rest so decided we would all meet up at the put in at 11. This would be the main event for the weekend. The big run to start everything off, and I was leading six newbies down. Somehow while getting ready in the parking lot we acquired another, with a less than inspiring run. He was also new, had started a run, swam out of Colton Falls, and walked back up. We chatted with Alex and Graham, ran shuttle, then made our way down to the put in. The lead in rapid definitely intimated the group, but all ran it without problem.
This brought us the Colton Falls. I explained things, but it didn’t make sense to some, luckily some boaters came down. All had good lines and things started to click for the group. Then came some racers and there was confusion. Why wasn’t I taking us over there, it looks nicer. I explained everything, and headed up for my run. This would be my redemption for last year when I swam out of Colton Falls. Thomas and Peter decided to join. This made me feel better as there’d be someone to pick up the pieces. We all got to the mid point eddy without problem, then it was time for the slide. Cleared it and looked back up to catch Peter rolling up. Thomas came down and we collected. I got up on the rocks to grab photos of the rest of the group. It took them some time to start their run. Once they did, things started to go sideways up top. There were people drying out, and some less than stellar lines. I started questioning my decision to lead such a large group of first timers myself. However, they all got to the eddy and had good clean lines down the slide past the hole.
With everyone successfully down the hardest rapid of the run things should be easier from here. I forgot the name of the next two rapids, but they were of less consequence. Unfortunately, I also forgot the second was a nice big ledge with a sticky hole. It didn’t cause much trouble, but could have gone better. This brought us to the Narrows. With the river divided and a horizon line, I announced to the group that we were at a drop, and we would not be scouting it. I made sure everyone knew the line, down the right side of the left channel. Ride the shelf as long as you can and boof back in. The lack of scouting gave some a few nerves. I peeled out and started my run, nailed the line. Looked back to see Thomas nailing it.
Now we were coming upon Tubs, I announced it and the scouting location to the group. Some dropped down, and eddied out prematurely. I collected them and jumped out to scout. With everyone on the rock next to Tubs, I started explaining the line. The view from the main part of the rock isn’t great, so I went out onto the further extension of it and showed some the auto-boof flake that you are aiming for. We watched a few go down so people had an idea what a good line looks like. Then I headed up for my run so I could setup to get photos. As I finished getting in my boat I saw Stevie come down in a long boat for his race lap. I watched as he dropped in and saw Juan and Jon scurry off the scouting rock. As I was the only other person in a boat I hurried off, got a bit of a stern squirt on one of the lead in holes, then executed my line through Tubs without issue.
Upon arriving at bottom of the drop I caught Stevie carping his last roll and bailing. I hurried over to offer my tail to help him to shore, but he was still a bit winded. A rope came from shore, and I paddled back up to the spot I’d setup for photos. On Thomas’ run he messed up the first half of the drop and started getting worked in the tub. After a little working he flushed over the lip and down to the retentive pour over. Here he got lucky and landed in a decent spot, drifted away and rolled up. Tanya came down, made the first drop, but got too far left and hung up on the rock that divides the drop in two. She couldn’t make it into the eddy or down. Andy dropped down and Tanya got pushed down backwards into the pour over. Unfortunately, she didn’t have Thomas’ luck and ended up swimming out of it. Both were left a little shaken.
This brought us to the last big rapid, Particle Accelerator. I led everyone out onto the island to scout. As we watched people run it, Thomas needed some convincing. Andy did not make this easy. While we were discussing the rapid, he went up for his run. Somehow he managed to crash into the right hand wall, get deflected most of the way left, and flipped. I had been insisting that whatever you did, you didn’t want to end up left of the exploding rooster tail. Of course this is where Andy ended up, upside down. Luckily he washed through, but it did not help convince Thomas he should run it. After a bit more discussion, both Thomas and Tanya decided to run it. Thomas wanted to follow me down, so we both went to the top of the island and started our run. The entrance went fine, but as I got to the slide a wave got me and I started to go over. Threw in a quick corrective stroke to keep me upright, but the damage had been done. Landed at the bottom lined up with the sticky part of the hole and stopped. I didn’t have much time and as I was trying to work my way out, Thomas landed right on top of me. Luckily my PFD helped protect from the blow, as I took all of it to my good shoulder.
Chatted at the bottom of the drop a little with Graham about the race and waited for the rest to make their way down. Andy had hiked up for a redemption run and had no issues this time. As we got ready to move on I let the group know we were done and there was only boogie water left. This wasn’t great as I had forgotten entirely about 200 Proof. While not as difficult as the stuff that proceeds it, it’s still Class IV (though you might say that’s boogie water compared to everything before). People had let their guard down and Tanya got momentarily pinned at the top before flipping over. She rolled up at the bottom, but then went for a ride in an innocuous looking hole below it. She held on for a while, but after a good thrashing swam. After collecting her we came to the realization that there wouldn’t be a second lap, nor would I get in my race lap.
We started off our second day a little early, though not as much as when heading to the Raquette. As I wanted to be able to get in two laps on the Moshier section, I suggested we grab breakfast somewhere. Took everyone into Croghan to Josh’s Riverside. It’s a great little restaurant with good food, and if you’re there later in the day, ice cream. Once everyone was no longer hungry we headed up to the put in for the Moshier section. We ran a little later than I hoped, and missed a few minutes of water.
Once on the water, those who hadn’t been here before were impressed with the spillway. We started down the flatwater and made our way to the first falls. As I had a few who had run it before with me, I was able to quickly go down the right side and grab some photos. I’m sure there was a little nervousness in some, as I hadn’t given much info on a line. Just to follow everyone else, and it’s cleaner than Wonder Falls. With everyone down I took us to the second drop. I gave a brief explanation of the line and pointed out the scouting location in case anyone was interested. Then moved on, as I wanted two Moshier laps. As I got to the lip of the drop I realized I was too far right. Nothing bad, but not where I wanted. Thomas followed and went even further right. As more came down a trend was starting. It took a little to get the message relayed up that people needed to be more center/left. The lead out of this drop also has some kick to it. I’ve seen it provide some good carnage. This time round, it was providing some spice to Todd. He went for a ride, and was rolling up as dropping into the last stage of it sideways. It provided for a good show, but eventually we discovered it had cracked his boat.
After this there were some flat water and nice class III’ish rapids, I always forget how many. During this David discovered that he had also cracked his boat. A nice little interlude before we got to the main event, Moshier Falls. We started our dissection of the rapid, breaking it up into sections and working downstream. The first drop is relatively straightforward, so not much time was spend there. The second is where the fun really begins. We made sure everyone had an idea what the line was and watched a couple boaters before going to the main drop. The third drop of Moshier is the most impressive, and provides good entertainment. Once the line had been explained and a couple had watched, Thomas, Peter, and I went to run it. The run went well and we all got into the pool below the third drop with minimal issue and nice boofs. Once Tanya and Andy came down we moved on. I always forget about the last drop. Checked where people were running it, and headed down the right side to plug the big hole.
We finished up with enough time to do a second lap before heading over to the Eagle section. Some dropped and it would just be Peter, David, Andy, and I. Since his boat was cracked, I lent David my creek boat. Somehow he ended up also cracking that on his run down. Three boats cracked on one run in one day seems almost like a record. Andy and Tanya left us to make an early trip home and we were off to the Eagle.
This is one of the most visually impressive pieces of whitewater I have ever seen. You can walk to the bottom and basically just stare up some massive gradient and watch the water flow. It’s amazing what 200cfs and some rocks will do. Took Thomas and Peter down and scouted the drops. If you make it to the slides right side up and going straight, you’ll be fine. Once lines were thoroughly discussed we headed up to the spillway to start our first lap. We meandered our way down and things were going well until I got to the lead in for the big slide. I botched the entrance and got pushed further left by the hole above it. Ended up banging into the wall on the left and spinning around. This was not at all what I wanted. I was very surprised that I wasn’t instantly swept down. There was a bit of an eddy there and I was able to paddle up, surf out, and turn around to make a successful run of the slide.
We now regrouped in the big pool and got ready to run the crux move. I lined it up and though things were going ok. But once again I ended up getting washed into the rock jumble. Rolled up and pulled myself out in time to catch Thomas bouncing off the jumble guard rock. Once Peter came down we continued to the final drop, a nice 5-6ft boof drop. Now that everyone had been shown down, I was off to do my race lap. Since I chose to guide the crew down I got to wait in the race line. Sitting around always helps with the nerves and anticipation.
Eventually my turn came and Alex counted me down. I was happy with how I cut through the top section above the big drop. Getting in a practice lap was nice, it helped me dial in the lead for the big slide and I sailed into it cleanly. But this is where the good lines ended. I didn’t get my entrance to the hole at the bottom quite right and got flipped loosing some time. This brought me to the crux and I once again ended up in the mank upside down. This time I banged around more. This definitely cost me a good 20-30 seconds. The past couple years I had been messing up the entrance to the bottom drop, but cleaned it up for these runs. Still that wouldn’t make up the time I needed. Once down at the finish I was spent. Even though I could do a second race lap I didn’t feel it. The two laps I had done so far were some of the worst I had done.
We woke Monday to rain. Checking the gauges, I saw not much had come in. But it looked like Fish Creek would be running at least if we wanted the option. Couldn’t convince people during breakfast. The allure of a quick run less that five minutes away was hard to beat. Plus it was something no one else had done. While hanging out after eating, Alex came by and chatted. He gave some good info on Fish Creek and it helped add to the case to try getting it on the way back after Taylorville. Eventually the time came to tear down camp, we packed up all the wet gear, and headed over to the put in.
The seal launch at the put in for the Taylorville is one of my favorite. An awesome way to add some low consequence excitement to a fun run. I was unable to convince anyone else to join me. Then it was off to Beaverator. What a great name for a rapid. As we finished up running it, a guy came running up looking for a phone, there was an injury. No one had one, and I offered up my sat device if needed. We got to the Great White Slide to see someone being stabilized. While everyone was ok in the end, it put a damper on the day. I had decided to run the hero line and catch the beer eddy, but botched it. As I could tell I wouldn’t make it, I decided to bail before slamming into the rock that makes the eddy. David took a similar line but didn’t bail and became friends with the rock. Showed everyone the lines at the next couple rapids, but generally moved fast as we were trying to get home. Got in a couple good boofs on the lower half, and spent some time at the play spot at the takeout. With that, another great Beaver River Rendezvous had come to an end and we were headed home.