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Trip Reports

Staircase 6/21/18
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The 6/21 Thursday Paddlers trip, with 5 kayaks and one open boat, was on a surprisingly high Staircase. What we expected, and what still seemed reasonable when we left home, was Millville at about 4.8 ft (about 5000 cfs) and Hancock at about 7 ft (about 7200 cfs). But when we gathered at the Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (thinking to take advantage of their parking and easier takeout for $5 each), one of the head guys there pointed out that the gauge trajectory had suddenly altered and was rising nearly vertically. This prompted two of our group to reconsider and head instead to Sideling Hill. A couple others had already reconsidered that morning and went to Anglers. That left us with three kayaks and one open boat, but our numbers were boosted back to six at the put-in when two other kayakers on the Thursday email decided to join us rather than go it alone.
Note: the Adventure Center staff seemed confused when we asked for the parking/takeout arrangement, although this has been agreed on between the Center and the paddling clubs and others have found it to be honored. The staff did eventually agree to our request, but given that our numbers had shrunk, we decided what the heck and just went down to the Potoma Wayside lot, which we’d noticed was unusually empty. Although we would have been happy to pay $5 each at the put-in and expected to do so, no one asked us and we didn’t search anyone out. (Maybe it was a High Water Special.)
The trip was speedy (about an hour and a half) and qualified as adventure without misadventure: big waves, big holes, and much less surfing than usual. We all ran the 2nd-from-the-left chute at Bull Falls, and agreed afterwards that the traditional line would have been easier! The most maneuvering required was on the lower Staircase. Whitehorse was big, but it was possible to avoid the most frenetic waves if that’s what one wanted to do (and this one, I’ll admit, did!). 
Paddlers: Dave Cottingham, Gisela Padmali, Keith Lefler, Larry Lempert, Mark Brenneman, Randy Snapp.
Gauge readings: 
Put-in at about 11:30: Millville 6.01/8110 cfs; Hancock 9.05/12,200 cfs
Takeout at about 1:00: Millville 6.21/8670 cfs; Hancock 9.83/14,500 cfs
-      Larry Lempert
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