“Let’s all make it known that Maine boaters not only have the skills to send, but also the skills to save”
Whitewater kayaking is a lot of fun, sometimes too much fun, and sometimes we all get lost in the moment and forget the basics, the basics that keep us alive. We’re all guilty of it, we’ve all been there. You put on your favorite creek, your whole crew has run it multiple times and you get casual about setting safety. While this might work for your crew, and you might all have the swiftwater rescue knowledge to make quick life saving decisions, this is not a good example to be setting for younger generations. There are a lot of younger paddlers entering the sport and a lot of the videos on the web show only the good side of paddling. Often times to get that one shot of someone running a clean drop there were many shots of carnage that you don’t see. I’ve personally seen a lot of videos on the web lately the lack severely in proper safety setting and while often times things play out ok, there’s always a chance that your number might be up. And when it is, you need to be ready. Through Send It, Whitewater, we’re bringing professional swiftwater rescue clinics to Maine taught by paddlers that know and use swiftwater rescue knowledge on a regular basis. I would like to personally call on Maine guides and paddlers of all sorts to strive towards being safe and knowledgable whitewater enthusiasts. We live in one of the most whitewater rich areas in the world, let’s all make it known that Maine boaters not only have the skills to send, but also the skills to save.
The live bait rescue at the end of the video was performed by Send It, Whitewater Instructor Jeremy Cass just above the lip of Toaster Falls on the New Haven River during the New Haven Race.
Paddling the West Branch of the Pleasant (Gulf Hagas) has been at the top of my list for some time now. Due to work on the river or other circumstances a trip over has never lined up for me. I finally had the opportunity when Miles Pulio called me up the other day and pretty much demanded that I join the crew. The weather was superb, the flow was right about 2″ (a good first timers flow) and we had a solid crew of 4 that made for a great day. Hagas truly is an amazing experience, almost indescribably so. We didn’t shoot any photos once we entered the gorge, with the exception of Buttermilk, as we were too focused on what was at hand. We did however get some awesome shots of Faceplant and Billings. I can’t wait to go back, and I will now be making sure as to never go another season without at least a few Hagas runs. It truly was one of the most amazing places I have ever been whitewater kayaking.
These photos are actually about a week old now. Right before it really got warm last weekend and the creeks started to rise Mitch Noddin and myself were desperate for some whitewater kayaking. The only thing running in the area was the Carrabassett River. We headed to North Anson because the S-Turns section up by Sugarloaf was still too low. To our surprise North Anson actually had some pretty good whitewater in it. We were a little hesitant at first even though we had run it in the past, this section of river is all sharp blasted rock and nasty unnatural pour-overs created during the log drives. The water was also extremely cold. We decided to give’er after much route planning and discussion. When running something with just two people you are taking some pretty big risks and safety is limited. We had several game plans for any situation that could have come to be on the water but in reality we really needed to be on our A game and stay on our lines. We stopped strategically several times throughout the run in eddies to re-group and plan the next stretch. The pictures without a kayak in them don’t really do justice to how big and intimidating the water was. Definitely a fun run, also a bit terrifying. After running the North Anson Gorge we headed up to where the Katies Crotch Road crosses the river and ran the section under the bridge there too. That section is much tamer and less stressful, next time we’ll warm up there first. Whitewater kayaking is just too much fun…
For perspective, here’s a shot of Paul from several seasons ago just below the 3rd big island up from the bottom of photo 4 above
Well, it’s safe to say it’s boating season. We paddled the last two days in a row, and I’d be out there again today if not for my schedule. It’s starting to get warmer and with good snowpack still in the mountains everything is about to pop. The Carrabassett River is at about 1′ for the S-Turns section, on the very low end of runnable, but it’s sure to come up this weekend with warm temps and rain. Sandy Stream is in, Smalls Falls is in, Madison is close and I’m sure there’s tons of other runs currently in around the state. Above are a few shots from Smalls Falls yesterday. We also hit the North Anson Gorge section of the Carrabassett two days ago and it was at a pretty full on level. It’ll get a little bit cleaner as water continues to rise. Get out there and SEND IT!
Info for the 2013 Send It, Whitewater Racing Series will be up shortly. Some new formats coming this year. Hope everyone is getting ready for spring, we’ve got some good snow waiting to fill the rivers up.
At 7pm tonight in the Unity College Performing Arts Center, Unity Maine, there will be a re-screening of the Maine Outdoor Film Festival. The first screening was hosted in the field at Three Rivers Whitewater in the Forks Maine this past summer. If you couldn’t make it come to Unity tonight and check out the films. Mainely Boating will be playing again on the big screen and you can check it out online here! See you tonight!
A 20 year vision for Sacarappa Falls and the Westbrook River park
Jan. 4-5 the town of Westbrook is hosting a winter festival in the same area of the Presumpscot River where Rob Mitchell has proposed a whitewater park. Sappi, a paper company owns and operates a dam at Sacarappa Falls. If you haven’t been following along, Rob is proposing that Sappi installs a whitewater park instead of a concrete fish ladder. The park will act as a natural fish ladder. Sappi must install a fish ladder to comply with re-licensing agreements, it’s simply a matter of convincing them to consider paddlers and community recreation when they do it by creating a whitewater park and natural fish ladder.
To rally some support and show the town that people are excited about the idea Rob is looking for whitewater kayakers to attend the Westbrook Winter Fest and run Sacarappa Falls (flow permitting). Make sure you show up with all your boats on the roof so people see lots of kayaks. Bring cameras, friends and lets send it. Sounds like people are meeting West side of Riverbank Park at the AMVETs Hall (Dunn st) a little before noon. Be there! This is a great opportunity to promote whitewater kayaking in Maine and get the ball rolling on whitewater parks!
Good eats are all part of a successful camping trip. The Marhsalls crew fostered up this feast while enjoying an empty Omaha beach in the fall. There’s actually a beer can, I think it was a nice full PBR, stuffed in that chicken with a little bacon wrap for the blow hole.