Deerfield River - Fife Brooke Section

Trip Start Jun 06, 2009
Trip End Oct 10, 2009

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What I did
whitewater kayaking

Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Friday, October 9, 2009

Some friends from the Lehigh Valley Whitewater club organized a trip to the Deerfield River in MA to run both the Fife Brooke section and the Dry Way section of the river.We arrived at Zoar Outdoors, where we were camping, very late on Thursday night. Chip and Emily went up earlier on the day and set up camp. John, Jesse and I met after work and drove up together. We made plans for Friday and went to bed.The game plan for Friday was to run the Fife Brooke section of the Deerfield River. This section of the Deerfield is an easier class II (III) section of whitewater, it is roughly a 4.8 mile run with the hardest rapid at the end. We thought this would be a great warm-up for the Dry Way section the next day.

We got up early to about 38 degree temps and drizzle, we ate a quick breakfast and got into our dry suits and gear and set up shuttle. Another paddler named Josh from the Philly area was meeting us at the put-in this morning.

We got to the put-in and saw a group of new guides practicing with throw ropes. When the shuttle was sorted out we put on the Deerfield. It was about 800 cfs which was just enough water to get through this easy class I-II section of river.Although it was cold outside it was very beautiful. The leaves were at peak fall color and the mist just hung right above the river. We had fun playing and surfing in small waves. John and Jessie worked on their bow stalls most of the day. I worked on eddy turns and peel out since there were tons of rocks to get behind.
Both Chip and Emily had their first kayak lessons from Zoar on this stretch of river. It was fun to listen to them reminisce about their first time impressions of kayaking and the small features on this section of river. Josh gave us all the heads up on what to expect from the Dry Way section as we played our way down the river.At one point it began to rain, which is always a magical thing when you are in a kayak. Thankfully our dry suits were keeping us dry and warm. We did not see anyone else on the Deerfield except the group of guides who staged a pinned raft and were working on rescues.
All too soon we came to Zoar Gap Rapid, which is the only class III rapid on this section. We ran it without any problems. I eddied out below the rapid and climbed up some rocks to get in position to video my friends as they ran the rapid, some several times. Once we had some good video and photos we went to take take-out to get into warm clothes.

Back at camp everyone got a hot shower. The plan was to cook dinner at camp but we decided to go into town to check things out and get a bite to eat. We drove to Shellbourne Falls which is a great little artist town full of pottery, antique, vintage clothes and book shops with great bars, bistros and restaurants.

We walked over the beautiful Flower Bridge and settled in on a place called Ollie's Down Under. The had an ecclectic farm fresh organic menu. I had a fantastic burger and a huge salad. The place had a good selection of beer as well.

After dinner we walked around the town for awhile before returning to camp to make a fire and hang out until it was time to go to bed.

Things learned on the Fife Brooke:

1. Fife Brooke info -

2. Zoar Outdoor website -
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