12 paddlers, 1-2 swimmers, warm water for mid April. Just happened to glance at AW’s safety page and see
Always Wear Your PFD
Research the River You Plan to Paddle
So since it’s come up before say again that the Moonda dams have been run in nearly all levels and both have a kick up at the bottom that prevents the recirc of the traditional low head dam….but both are one flood away from being damaged and dangerous. Though are also far from the most fun things on the Moodna with dozens of interesting lines, small drops, surf spots and surprising remoteness and beauty for exurbia…but they are great photo ops especially for the lazy photog who never ever gets out of his boat just for a better shot.
One of our favorite local runs is the Moodna in Cornwall as it holds, is fun at a wide range of levels, feels fairly remote in parts and, well, it’s local.
So the railroad that runs along the lower stretch of the Moodna is not the Newburgh Branch. The Newburgh Branch starts in… yeah, Newburgh further north and comes close to the line in topic but you have to understand back in the heyday of railroads there were quite a few railroads in the area all competing with each other. Continue reading “Moodna Gorge History”
I know last year was weird year what with covid and pool issues, but I had a great paddling year. Once we worked thru the details, paddling with it’s natural social distancing was a saving grace for me. All the cancelled releases in the spring were a bummer, but most were rescheduled to summer and early fall when paddling is a lot more pleasant. So thanks to the many people i paddled with and the few people i shuttled with.
I know hope everyone had as good a paddling season. I know some of you chose to paddle with your ‘pod’ or not do club trips to control the situation more. Hope we can get you back with the club!
I’m excited to be once again taking the reigns as President of KCCNY.
My goals for the coming year.
Making it easier run a KCCNY trip.
To this end, the board has already approved that we will follow our insurance provider’s (the ACA’s) guidelines on helmets and life jackets, so helmets will no longer be required below class 2 (opening up easier river, lake and open water trips though leaders can and should require helmets) and allowing inflatable life jackets for below class 1. Hopefully more of us will post our more recreational trips.
Making it easier to coordinate.
Accepting ACA online waivers (which will require that use of the same email address for us and the ACA).
Also: We’re working on bringing back training and pool sessions safely in what will hopefully be a post pandemic world.
Continue with a Zoom alternate for meetings even when we can meet in person again.
Last week at the board meeting we discussed paddling within your abilities during the covid situation since you don’t want to force someone to have to get close to rescue you nor do you want to have to end up in a possibly overtaxed local ER.
So when the Lehigh got dumped on I convinced a few unfortunates to join me for the 20 miles from Whitehaven to Glen Onoko. The army core of engineers (ACE) said they’d be releasing 5000 cfs until they got dam back to the maximum they are supposed to keep it at. I’d done 4000 cfs a few years ago and knew to be cautious Continue reading “Do as I say, not as I do”
In this new normal many of us our self-isolating enough that we don’t want to get in a car with others even for a head hanging out the window shuttle…so the obvious solution is a bike (or hike) shuttle.
I’ve also seemed way too many Facebook posts about missing gear – more during this special situation but also during the old normal. So investing in a few locks and using them seems like a pretty good idea.
The basics of bike shuttling are pretty obvious. Drop a bike at one end or a boat at the other.
One of those days you expect to be nice and are pleasantly surprised. It had rained heavily nearly a week ago and then gotten cold, so as the river came down it coated logs and rocks with ice and icicles. And unlike our friends who went skiing, no crowds on the Moodna.
Sun was out, wind was non existent. Saying the Moodna was at a good level is sort of moot as the Moodna’s fun from very low to crazy high…but at a lower level it was a lot dryer which is certainly nice with 32 degree water.
In the easy class 1-2 warm up we saw a wood duck and a pileated woodpecker. Though a little low the upper section and in fact the whole river had plenty of water 6 days after the last heavy rain. Though it doesn’t have a gauge, the Moodna holds well and is fun at so many levels. There were a number of holes that looked liked they’d be fun to surf in or be surfed by…and with the water at 32 degrees neither of us were interested in exploring.
I elected to portage around the first dam as I was feeling poor and good about my boat…this dam’s an easy slide down what feels like a cheese grater. Getting out required breaking the ice at river’s edge until I could get my boat parallel and then delicately climbing out onto a shelf of ice. Getting back in required pushing across 10′ of ice.
At lower water there was no eddy at the final drop on the first real rapid, lumber yard.
For the pillars -the hardest rapid – we ran left to right above the entrance rapid and eddied out just above the main drop and boat scouted close enough to be pretty sure the main drop was clean…with the low flow it was a pretty straightforward ferry and line up to get a straight drop clear of the pillars and then hang on thru the drop.
The pond above the second dam had ice at its edges making both getting out and getting close enough to boat scout difficult…
Most interesting challenge came near the end when I got off line and thought I had a line between one partly submerged boulder and one ice covered boulder. The ice as more like a mushroom cap and the left side of my boat slid down and i found myself stuck between the 2 rocks, cockpit out of the water. Pushing of the ice was way too cold without gloves (I prefer pogies for the solid grip and adjustability)…so in the middle of the rapid, water flowing over the boat I pulled the skirt, pulled out my gloves from the drybag and was then able to lift myself free.
The Moodna holds well and is fun at a wide range of levels. With the exception of the pillars it’s similar in difficulty to the Mongaup. More on the Moodna on AW.
I hope everyone had a great paddling season this year! Last weekend we had our annual KCCNY meeting and dinner, and I continue to be incredibly grateful for our paddling community – it was a pleasure meeting a number of legacy members, and welcoming a few new members to the club as well.
Furthermore, I’m excited to be taking the reigns as President of KCCNY.
An additional thanks goes out to the generous charitable contributions of our members that has allowed KCCNY to donate to American Whitewater, the Mongaup EMTs, and the Passaic River Coalition this year.
Looking forward to seeing you on the river (or in the pool) soon!
Following a successful beginner class this past weekend (9 students – all accounted for, no severed limbs), I wanted to share some resources: KCCNY links, other clubs, message boards, stores, and instruction opportunities. Hope these are helpful, and feel free to comment with questions and additions! Continue reading “Whitewater Resources for New Paddlers”
Following the latest Duck Boat tragedy, I thought about the end of a recent boat chase and the potential entrapment in strainers. Between a group of us, a swamped kayak was bullied to shore, in amongst Rhodendron shrubs clogging the bank. This location appeared reasonable to us to get the boat and paddle onto a rather steep bank.
I had hold of the swimmer’s paddle in addition to mine; quite a handful. For the purpose of trying to ensure the boat did not overpower the paddlers pushing it into the bank, I snuck in immediately downstream and nosed my bow in to provide support, while another paddler positioned just below me, with a bush between us.Quite a confined space now occupied by boats and shrubs.
As one of the paddlers was pushed back, I wound up in the shrubs. Both paddles were ripped from my grip, before I could throw the swimmers’s paddle to shore, and I flipped. Now, I was upside down in a space likely occupied by roots, branches, and so on. Fortunately, I hand rolled up and stabilized on the rhododendron branches – or maybe I also used the clutter underwater to aid my roll! Success! I eased my way out of the shrub clutter, into the stream. However, a better use of my effort would have been to position for possible aid for the paddlers already in contact with the swamped boat, had they got into trouble!
Success, but at a the potential for yet another swimmer, or worse. The paddler bullying the swamped boat noted after about wondering how to help me if needed. If the roots and branches were larger and stronger, the outcome would have been different. The swimmer was on shore, and the paddles retrieved.
The lessons I take away are:
Not to get too eager to ‘help’ a boat without considering the immediate scene and potential for entrapment, or compromising the effort.
Overeagerness and the desire to help can produce unintended results.
If in doubt, leave the boat.
If the swamped boat is too hard to handle, let it go.
Let it go into a more quiet and safer area.
Possibly the most important in this or similar instances, don’t push into a tight space without consideration of exits for oneself and the others, even if it appears benign.
Familiarity breeds ‘contempt’.
Take another swift water rescue class and discuss rescues and retrievals, whatever that entailed.
Or beginning whitewater paddling…
As far as safety, I don’t need to tell any of you that strainers and cold water are your big enemy, not rocks, flipping or swimming.
Part of pulling off a combat roll is being comfortable under water….and a big part of being comfortable underwater is not freaking out when you’re not getting air. So practice it and see how long you can last.
As for not freaking out when your helmet is bouncing off rocks, well, that takes a certain amount of just getting used to it and believing that the safest place to be is tucked forward.
That being said, Combat rolls are incredibly cool.
Got to keep fed and hydrated because my own judgment is off when I’m not. Note to self…most whitewater paddlers don’t stop and rest and eat as much as I like to so and I need to remember this and bring snacks.
Make sure even the good guys have cleared the hard spot /drop before you go in. If there’s only one line you want it clear. Ask Andy Frey.
Tie stuff down…this means to your boat if you’re in your boat and tying your boat down when you’re not in your boat.
Bracing (and rolling) on the back deck with my head in the water. Thanks Eric Jackson.
Things I didn’t learn the hard way only because Jeff Bowan gave such a great presentation at my first hrckc meeting. Cold water is really dangerous…actually, come to think of it, I did nearly learn that the hard way, but not when I was boating. Diving into Lake Superior on a hot September day when the lake looked like everyone’s vision of the Caribbean but was probably in the low 40s.
And some things I’ve yet to learn…paddling alone may be dangerous, just as hiking along and mountain biking and swimming alone are. But I like them.
So you may see me on the mighty Hackensack or Delaware alone and holding a beverage…but you won’t see me on something that challenges me alone.
Did I mention how much fun whitewater is?