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.
We had about 20 inches inches of snow in southern VT. It seemed like winter was in full swing but we are in New England and the temps went from like 15 degrees up to 50 degrees and it rained. The snow melted and the rivers rose so we went paddling a couple days before Christmas.
I had a great 2013 season of paddling and competing. I went to Slovenia to compete in the WildWater Sprint World Championships and competed in the Freestyle World Championships in NC in K1 and squirt boating. Competing in two World Championships in the same year was pretty awesome! Hopefully, I can do it again in 2015.
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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.