Last weekend I headed to Tariffville Gorge to do some paddling with my friends David Silk and Keith Warner. Tville, as it’s known, is a great place to paddle and play and also the site of the Triple Crown every year. This time however, was likely the coldest day I’ve ever been paddling.
The last few months have been pretty exciting for me. While I haven’t been boating, I’ve been having plenty of adventures. With all the recent snow storms, I’ve been pretty focused on skiing. I’ve had a bunch of fun days skiing at the resorts but this year I have been far more excited by the backcountry potential found in the northeast.
It’s at this time of year the the rivers begin to become relatively unusable due to large amounts of ice. Unless you really like the cold, kayaking becomes an uphill battle against icicles and frozen fingers. That’s why I like to take out the bathing suit and rash guards again and head to the pool.
When out on the river there are many pieces of gear that I carry in case something goes wrong. The amount and type of gear depends on several factors. I will consider the difficulty of the river, the strength of the group, the remoteness of the river, the type of river and what problems we are likely to encounter. These factors, in addition to my role in the group (instructor/guide or just another paddler), help me decide what equipment to carry.
After taking a few months off from paddling to focus on deer hunting, skiing and working retail during the Christmas season, it was time to get back in a boat. Every year on New Year’s Day, the Merrimack Valley Paddlers (MVP) run an event on the Winnipesauke River in Franklin, New Hampshire. I have been to this event many times and it is one of my favorites.
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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.