Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Labor Day on the Indian River

After some checking, with the newly acquired state lands of the Finch Pruyn land purchase, the Gooley club access point on the confluence of the Hudson and Indian Rivers is now public. Therefore it is entirely possible for those without the time or technical proficiency to run just the Indian River which is about a grade easier than the Hudson and quite accessible if something should go wrong. At summer flows this is a fairly consistent class III river with some sections of II. It's mostly non stop wave trains that really aren't very technical in nature. However, the length of consistency of the rapids makes this a fun run. This river is a basically a 1/5 scale model of what you'll encounter on the Dead River in Maine at 3500cfs.   

Downsides of this are that the official state takeout and shortest walk to the car is quite a ways up the Hudson. It might be possible at higher water levels to paddle most of the way up, but there are two issues. First, the takeout is just upstream of some rapids. Second, the water level this summer was very low and at best you could paddle about 1/3 of the way up, pull the boat while walking another 1/3 but the last 1/3 required portaging over wet slimy riverbed that wasn't ideal by any means. 

Aim ultimately found the state takeout while I found the longer portage but easier takeout trail on the point at the exactly confluence of the rivers. Neither option was ideal, but in low water the longer trailed portage was the lesser of evils. 

Fortunately for us the Aire Tributary Nine.Five deflates and rolls into a fairly compact package that we wheeled up the portage trail (this was basically an old jeep road). Unfortunately, the walk is uphill (seemingly) both ways which mean the double carry of about 1 mile was not fun (could be done in a single carry for sure, but we needed to go get the other car and the portage cart (beach cart). 

I'd say if you can put in at the beginning of the release you might be able to do two runs, but it would be very close. We didn't put in until almost 11 but I'm not sure I would have done two runs anyway. 

Hopefully next year we have the skills and the confidence to run the Upper Hudson Gorge (the section below the confluence of the Indian and Hudson Rivers) down to North River, which should be a blast in a small raft. In fact, I'm hoping to do it as an overnight rafting trip. 

One of the nice things about the raft is we can live scout runs for the OC. The Indian would be a tough run in an open canoe and we'd have to run tighter lines -we hit at least two rocks that would have likely flipped an OC2- but I definitely would like to be able to run it by the end of 2017.  As fun as it was in a tiny raft, I think it would be awesome in a hardshell OC2.

Indian River R2 Labor Day 2016 from Mountain Visions on Vimeo.
More practice in the Aire Tributary Nine.Five HD. After running familar rivers like the Deerfield (II(III)) and Sacandaga (II-III) several times since purchasing the raft, we stepped it up to the fairly continuous Class III rapids and big waves of the Indian River, which is the access point/warmup for the Hudson River Gorge -one of the premier rafting trips in the east or perhaps anywhere in the US. The Nine.Five has actually been a lot more fun than I expected, and I'm really happy with it. I don't think I'd have enjoyed a bigger raft or one with less kick.

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