The dawn patrol is an attempt to paddle on days when you don’t really have time. The day starts with a really early morning, well before sunrise. After drinking a little too much coffee and possibly a Redbull and/or Mountain Dew, you drive to the river with the goal of having shuttle set and being fully geared up before sunrise. Then as soon as it is light enough to paddle, you put on and get in some boating. After boating, you head back to reality and start the day.
When we arrived, Tyler and I met up with Steve, Dave, Jeff, and a few other friends and headed down to scout. I think Steve really summed it up, saying it looks like someone photo shopped some water into the forest. There was so much water flowing through the trees that we had a hard time telling where the river bed actually was.
The Pemi is one of my favorite rivers to paddle in the fall. There is a fun class II-III run that is pretty fun but what really draws me to this river is the Pemi Park and Play. This is a fun little playspot at the takeout that was one of my go to spots during college. The Pemi Park and Play is certainly lacking when compared to the world class spots on the Ottawa and even some of the local high water playspots but it is a short drive and is often at the perfect level during the summer and fall. While this spot is a little shallow for cartwheels and many of the vertical moves, it is great for learning to surf, spin, roundhouse and blunt. At the right levels loops are possible and I’m pretty sure that a McNasty might go. There is also a really fun seal launch that drops you right into the surf.
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Every year, for one day, we get to one of Vermont’s hidden gems - the West River. The West River is a perfect mix of adventure and leisure - it has a little bit more adventure than the Zoar Gap and is a little mellower than the Dryway.