Summer whitewater that didn’t feel like summer

It was cool and rainy yesterday in NH. I had my wetsuit on. A couple of paddlers had on dry suits. It didn’t feel like summer at all, but it was still a great day for a run on the Pemi in Bristol, NH. We had 8 boats – 7 kayaks and one canoe (guess who).

This is a short run- about 1.5-miles with a couple of nice play spots. The biggest rapid is located about 1/4 mile down from the put in. A ledge protrudes from the left bank (Wourthen’s Rock) forcing the river to the right. The usual line is to the right, although we had people run the drops in the middle, and even the slot on the left. That rapid continues for about half-a-mile, and is followed by a couple of other class II rapids.

We launched around 11:00 and got off the river around 2:00 – definitely took our time. Few pictures here:


I did that run just once along time ago. I do remember a couple of interesting play holes/waves in that run. There is one spot near the end of the run that is memorable to me. This particular wave/hole is right next to an eddy abutting a rock ledge. I remember seeing folks standing on the ledge, looking down at the kayakers. Anyway, I was in the eddy, waiting my turn to get at the play spot. When my turn came, I tried to break out of the eddy at the sharp strong current edge, right next to the rock ledge. Being new to white water, I underestimated the amount of edging to not trip on that strong eddy fence. I promptly tripped my kayak and flipped. I came right back into the eddy in my upside down boat. I went for a roll, came halfway up, stopped, and went right back down into the capsized position. I immediately shifted to roll on the other side and noticed that my boat was right up against the rock ledge. I pushed out against the ledge to get some room and then rolled up on at side. In that moment, all the rolling practice on flat water to be able to roll up bilaterally paid off! :+1:

I never went back to that particular run, which seems more like a “locals’ run.” For me, it was too long of a drive (2 hours plus?) for 1.5 miles of white water. A similar length drive would get me to the Deerfield for a 5 mile plus run, or the Millers for a 7 mile run in comparison.


That’s the place - here is the playhole.

It was washed out yesterday, but you can see the ledge and the big eddy. It’s a popular park-and-play spot for the locals when nothing else is running in the summer.

It is short run, and over 2-hours away for me as well, so I don’t run it very often. At yesterday’s level there are lots of play spots so we were able to stretch it out. We also had a couple of rescues to deal with, and a pinned boat that ran up on a strainer.

Fortunately, it came off pretty easy.

looks fun, enjoy!

it was a great run, even if it wasn’t a warm, sunny day.