The Guidebook

To visit the LiquidLore Guidebook, click right here. It's the starting point for all kinds of whitewater beta and the main reason this site exists - be sure to check it out.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dispelling A Myth

The Oswegatchie River - it's a big name, hard to spell. Good river too - there are are bunch of sections, on three different branches. Some are good, and some are good to do once. The Oswegatchie is typical of kayaking in northern New York - there is a lot of flatwater, with rapids in between, some of which are quite big.

The Middle Branch, flowing through the town of Harrisville on route 3 is agreed upon by most people as being the best branch, and the New York guidebook by Dennis Squires talks about 4 different sections that are all fun. Well, not wanting to miss out on all the fun, our crew ran the Bryants Bridge section (section 3) a few years back, and it ended up being great, with many good rapids and one of the best waterfalls in the area.

Our days always ended at the Bryants Bridge takeout. We knew that the takeout served as the start for section 4, the Sluice Falls section, but the tales in the guide about massive class V-V+ rapids that amount to a portage-fest just didn't sound appealing.

It went down one spring day in April when everything in the area was starting to get on the low side of good - having picked off most of the runs in the area, we decided to finally paddle down this section and check it out, even if we did have to carry a lot, just to see something different. We were a little suprised to find out in the end that there is no V+ on this piece of river - in fact, it turned out that there were about 10 class III-IV+ drops including a big steep slide but not including the Sluice Falls drop, which although intimidating and a step above the rest of the run certainly isn't class V+. All in all, a fun day on the water that's on par with all the other rivers in the Oswegatchie/Grass zone.

So, the guidebook description of this section is completely wrong, and it's probably scared a few people away from a good section of whitewater. Hopefully this post will help a few more go check it out - do it with the Bryants Bridge section if you can. Here's the link to the site for the Sluice, or just link to in from the menus on the side over there..

Last weekend, the first one of November when it's usually starting to get freezing cold we got a run down the Sluice on an awesome sunny day - there was 6 inches of snow on the ground and the water was cold, but it was a great way to start the end of the boating season. The fighter jets out of Fort Drum were putting on a cool aerial display too. In a couple weeks the water's going to be frozen and we'll be skiing, not kayaking - get it in while you can!

Down the pipe at the big slide - the low sun makes a lot of glare but doesn't make the rapid any less fun!

The Sluice. It looks impossibly narrow.

Running the Sluice - it's good. Photo by Adin Richardson.

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