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.
The Eagle is a really fun but short section of river so I went back up for a second lap. Going into the second drop, my boat got spun out in one of the holes at the entrance and put me off line a bit. I was able to correct the angle and get back on line but wasn’t able to get the boat edged properly and when I bounced off the first pillow I got knocked over. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to roll on the narrow slide but I was able to get up on my elbow pads and keep my body pretty well protected...
Learning a more advanced freestyle move like the loop has made me realize how true the statement “Practice makes perfect” really is. In the process of learning the loop I have broken a boat, and probably nearly my ankles as I repetitively slammed my bow down and hoped for some magic to flip my boat around.
The Friday before the race, which was on Sunday, I play boated a little in the hole and then helped to set up the course. I was a little too excited for June and decided to paddle without any sort of rash guard or bug spray, and just in my bathing suit. The entire mosquito population also decided to reemerge for the summer and they all attacked me. So my first piece of advice for your paddling this summer: always bring bug spray.
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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.