There are several excellent kayak play spots below Dragon’s Tooth and a short pool before Labyrinth. Labyrinth is sometimes flooded from below by the Bear Swamp reservoir, but when it’s all there, it’s the longest, most complex, and most interesting rapid on the river.
After a long fast tongue that pushes onto a submerged snaggletooth, a few small ledge drops lead to the Terminator hole where the entire river drops into a large powerful hydraulic over a 4-foot ledge with a nasty boulder sieve below on the left. The right is fairly clear down to the large eddy at the bottom.
At low reservoir levels another rapid appears below Labyrinth. This one has a large boulder in the center and lines on either side of it. Don’t paddle below this rapid. The power company is required by their federal license to limit access to the reservoir since it fluctuates up to forty feet in a day and has an intake that draws 5000 cubic feet of water per second up the mountain at a moment’s notice.
Access to the takeout is via the Dunbar Brook Picnic Area access road. This is also the road that leads to the power plant, so be careful to observe posted no parking areas to keep the power company’s access open. The town of Monroe has complained of boaters speeding through town, so keep it down. The Dryway is too great a run to lose over inconsiderate boater behavior.
Water level information for the Dryway is available through the Deerfield River information phone 888 356-3663. Listen for the spill at the #5 station dam. A schedule of the release dates for the coming year can be obtained from Zoar Outdoor.
These descriptions are excerpted from the Classic Northeastern Whitewater Guide by Bruce Lessels which is available in our Outfitters Shop or from AMC Books.