Connecticut River Challenge 2017

Like Deliverance, minus the bad parts.
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Connecticut River Challenge 2017

Postby Erik » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:31 am

2017 (20th anniversary!)

When signing up please also fill out the info on this google sheet:

The CRC is a day AND night event beginning Friday April 14, just below the Canaan Dam in Stewartstown, NH. It is for people who really enjoy flatwater canoeing and don’t mind being somewhat sleep-deprived for a weekend. Actually, this trip is pretty bad-ass. Our goal is to paddle back to Massachusetts, possibly reaching the UMASS boathouse in Northampton by sometime on Monday. You will be assigned to a 6-person team to do this. Each team will have a canoe and a support vehicle. At any given time during the trip, 2 team members will be paddling, 2 other team members will be driving the support vehicle, while the last 2 team members get to sleep. Crews will switch every 6 hours or so at predetermined stops along the river. While skill and experience are certainly beneficial, our success depends mostly on your commitment, perseverance, spirit of cooperation, and ability to get along with your fellow paddlers – beginners CAN sign up.

Participants need to commit the block of time from 5 pm on Friday April 14 to the evening of Monday April 17. This is Patriot’s Day weekend, so Monday is a holiday. This is also Easter weekend. Please schedule your workload to keep this weekend free. There won’t be time for schoolwork during the trip, and withdrawing after you become part of a team simply because you are “busy” will result in your being shunned by everyone else! Basic swimming skills are required, as are wetsuits and personal floatation devices (PFD’s), which are available in the equipment locker for those who don’t have their own. Total trip cost won’t exceed $80, and depends on how many vehicles are provided by participants and how many must be rented. Any leftover money will be refunded after the trip.

While most of the river is flat and slow-moving, we will find parts of the Connecticut that flow more quickly, offering even an occasional patch of white water depending on the state of the spring melt and dam releases. There are 11 dams and 1 waterfall along our route. The first is a breached dam, which can be navigated, while the remaining obstacles involve portages of varying difficulty. The river’s elevation drops about 300 meters, start to finish. The water is still freezing cold in mid-April so ice often hinders our progress behind the northern dams.

There will be one mandatory practice during a weekend afternoon/evening in early April. This practice will simulate one shift of the CRC and will take us from Bardwell Ferry on the Deerfield River to the Sunderland Bridge on the Connecticut River. In this 20-mile section of river, we’ll experience both riffles and flat water, day and possibly night paddling, and sitting in a canoe for 6 hours at a time. Wetsuits, PFD’s, warm clothes, and food are required.

To be announced and may be held immediately after a regular Monday UMOC business meeting. We will discuss logistics, team composition, what to bring, what to wear, food, and any other concerns about the practices and the main event.

Any individual who can volunteer their vehicle as their team’s support car will be refunded $50 from the cost of the trip in addition to their gasoline costs. Remember that your team’s vehicle must be able to carry 5 people and some gear from UMASS to the Canadian border. After the put-in, there will only be 4 people in the vehicle – 2 drivers and 2 sleepers. Especially helpful would be vehicles with a tow hook, since UMOC now has a canoe trailer and a kitchen trailer, and this would eliminate tying canoes to car roofs. Cargo vans can be rented to the extent that “volunteer” vehicles are not offered, and, along with gasoline and food, will constitute the bulk of the trip’s cost.

Two sets of detailed maps will be given to each team – one to be kept in the vehicle, and one split into individual shifts to use in the canoe. Paddlers must become familiar with the sections of the river they will be paddling to avoid oxbows and dams and to observe mandatory pull-overs and portages. Before each crew change, shift leaders will brief the next set of paddlers on the upcoming section of the river. Drivers must be able to locate and follow roads and find places where they may be able to make visual contact with their boat. They must also find portage take-outs and crew-change sites, so that they can be on location prior to their boats arriving. We can accommodate those whose map-reading skills are questionable with a bit of tutoring, if necessary. This year's waning gibbous moon will be helpful for night time illumination of the river.

We will rely cell phones to track the whereabouts of the support vehicles and canoes. At least one vehicle must maintain voice contact with the canoes to render assistance if necessary. Double zip-lock bags effectively protect phones from the elements.

Madlyn has volunteered to be food meister to coordinate the menu, kitchen activity, and people helping with food. There needs to be food ready at crew change locations, and two of the “drivers” from each shift will be responsible for setting meals up according to a predetermined menu and schedule. If you volunteer your vehicle as the CRC chow wagon, you will also be refunded $50 for its use. We have a kitchen trailer that needs to be towed.

Each team will be assigned a captain, experienced in paddling and outdoor activities, who is responsible for the team’s equipment and actions on this trip. Experienced paddlers will be distributed as evenly as possible across all three shifts to ensure that good direction can be provided as needed. There are numerous potential hazards out there, including cold and darkness which must be safely dealt with in order to maximize our progress down the river.

Sign up here on UMOC’s bulletin board, and then email Jakob and me with your phone number and email. Jakob will direct you to the questionnaire where you provide the info he needs to run the trip. &

- Erik
Last edited by Erik on Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Connecticut River Challenge 2017

Postby guacamolly » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:01 pm

:D :mrgreen:
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Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:58 pm

Re: Connecticut River Challenge 2017 - Pre trip meeting info

Postby Jakob » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:07 am

Pre Trip Meetings will be in the gear locker Tuesday 4/11 at:
12pm (most people are going to this one)

Please email if none of these work for you.

Bring $60.

We will do an overview of the trip, discuss different roles we all will play, personal gear list, answer questions, and go over the timeline.
If you wear a Medium wet suit you will be sharing with others this trip. PFD's will also be shared to save space.

Please make your friends who said they were coming sign up on the message board and fill out the questionnaire.

Can't wait!
Last edited by Jakob on Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Connecticut River Challenge 2017 - Packing list

Postby Jakob » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:11 am


Warm Hat
Wool or synthetic socks
Shoes/socks to paddle in or wetsuit booties
Shoes for off the river
Polypropylene or spandex t-shirt and shorts to wear under wetsuit (esp. if sharing!)
Non-cotton layers like fleece (tops and pants) to wear over wetsuit for warmth
Synthetic windbreaker or rain jacket with hood (light rain is forecast)
Set of dry clothes to wear off the river
Something comfortable to sleep in
Change of underwear
Change of socks
blankets or sleeping bag
shorts (warmer weather forecast for Sunday)
flashlight or headlamp
Pain killers (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc.)
Ear plugs
small personal day bag to quickly get your extra layers in and out of UMOC's big dry bags
personal dry bag if you got one
Mole skin in case wetsuit starts chafing
bowl and utensil for food
toothbrush and floss
skin moisturizer
water bottle
medication, if applicable
plastic hangar for drying wetsuit (bring the one that comes with the wetsuit)
Packable hamoc if ya got one.
cell phone car charger
No cotton clothes while you’re paddling.
No packs with frames - they’re inconvenient to have in the vehicle.
Space is limited - take only what is necessary
Last edited by Jakob on Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:14 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Connecticut River Challenge 2017 - Directions to put in

Postby Jakob » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:16 am

DIRECTIONS TO PUT-IN 2pm meet up crew

Route 91 north to P&H truck stop Exit 17 left off the exit ramp.


Continue on Route 91 north to Saint Johnsbury Exit 19 (Route 93 south)

Route 93 south to first exit (Route 18 north or west)

Go to Route 2 east, and follow many miles, across the river into Lancaster, New Hampshire

Route 3 north to West Stewartstown (pay attention to signage)

Route 114 toward Vermont and cross the bridge

Turn left after crossing the bridge and drive down to the boat launch

Please use these directions. Your GPS may send you on another route where you may end up in a pasportless border crossing quagmire.


Route 91 north to P&H truck stop Exit 17 left off the exit ramp.


Continue on Route 91 north to Saint Johnsbury Exit 19 (Route 93 south)

Route 93 south to first exit (Route 18 north or west)

Go to Route 2 east, and follow many miles, across the river into Lancaster, New Hampshire

Route 3 north for 23 miles to North Stratford

Go left on Town Common road (rt 105)

Go over the bridge and take your first left onto VT 102 south.

The fist crew change is immediately on your left. Parking is on the right. " 8 River Drive, Bloomfield, VT "
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Re: Connecticut River Challenge 2017

Postby Jakob » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:17 am

If anyone is available to help me plug the maps into Cal topo so we have a PDF of each shift let me know. I can come to you. This would be a late night deal (after 10:30) in the next couple of days.

Meeting one. Monday night at Amherst coffee. 10:30pm. Bring a laptop if you got one.
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Re: Connecticut River Challenge 2017

Postby jasmyndube » Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:40 am

You can check it after 10.00 as we are updating it. Phen375
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