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Trip Reports

GW Canal Loop in High Water (5.07') - Sun 29 April
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      Today's outing was, how shall I put it? elemental - that is the eight of us found ourselves struggling against wind, overcast cold, and current as we started off the trip from Violettes.  Wind of course was downstream, and the Potomac - at 5.07 feet - pulled mightily at our boats to come over the lip of Seneca Breaks.

     The crew today consisted of Gordy, Peter Ryan, Paul, Alf, and the Williamson family - in two canoes - one inflatable - Nathan and Sonia and his father Eric and Rolly.  One group member, upon considering the weather report (50 degrees, 29 mph gusts), had canceled at midnight.  Set shuttle at Pennyfield, as the Canal was totally drained of water - nothing but the least trickle (Got to talk to the C&O folks!).

      To avoid today's strong current toward the feeder lock, Peter and Paul found a much better put-in by walking 20 yards up the Canal towpath; this is where the CCA should be advocating that people enter the water - avoids all those historical old rocks that we currently abuse in putting in.  So we were ahead of the game before we even got our boats wet.

     Paddling across toward Trump's club, we had to set an arc far above the rapids as wind and current grabbed mightily at our boats - esp the canoe, where Nathan was struggling manfully to keep it from setting sail down the Breaks.  Reunited at the mouth of the GW Canal, it was clear from the amount of water being sucked in that there would be no playing in the downstream rapids.  Not only were they washed out, but the log jam at the Canal's opening was completely gone.  In the high water we were able to avoid Diagonal Rapid and Jacuzzi by taking direct channels on the left.

     Getting into the Potomac was achieved through a small passage downstream of the usual entry; the river was flowing too strongly to attain up and around.  Over the top of Steve's Island we passed and in jig time were borne down and across the river to Muddy Branch and our cars parked at Pennyfield (headroom passing under the Canal was totally adequate.)

      This trip - at the ruggedest conditions I've ever done the Loop - was quite a work-out.  We got home early, Paul and I for extended naps.   So, that over, I feel a sense of accomplishment not usual after this usually bread-and-butter run.  Some day will Spring come and stay?
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