If you missed it, Vermont had a living legend from the outdoor sports industry visit our beautiful state this week. Chuck Patterson enjoyed a paddle from Shelburne Bay to Burlington visiting Juniper Island along the way.
We connected up with him at Perkins Pier where he talked about his experiences and tips and tricks to make us more efficient paddlers. WND & WVS, the local paddle shop in Burlington, setup the whole event and their staff was on hand with the Naish and Starboard SUP fleets for us to demo.
It was such a great time and with a 50% chance of thunderstorms that never came it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon and sunset. Come back again soon Chuck!!!!!!!
If you didn’t know… today was the 2nd annual Onion River Race & Ramble held on the Winooski River in Vermont. The course started below the Bolton Dam and finished at the bridge in Richmond. This ten mile stretch is a gorgeous scenic cut through the green mountains.
The morning started out a little chilly for early June but attendance wasn’t affected from the cooler temps. Close to 90 people signed up this year to show their support and have fun at the same time which was almost double the turnout from last year. Umiak Outfitters helped out again by providing the shuttle for the eager participants. Noah from the Friends of the Winooski River led the group with a safety briefing before the heats started.
Early in the race was the biggest obstacle, a set of rapids and rock garden, that stood between the racers and the flat water below. The tricky eddy lines surprised many paddlers letting them feel the cold temperatures of the Winooski River in June. There were many safety boaters on the water to help people to shore and recover their gear.
Below the rapids lay many many miles of reasonably flat water on a normal day but today was different. A Northerly wind of 17 mph gave the paddlers a steady head wind most of the trip. At the end of the ten mile stretch you passed under the Richmond bridge and thus the finish line.
After the racers finished and pulled their boats to shore they celebrated with a feast provided by Richmond Grange and sat down to reflect on the past few hours and enjoy some much needed food.
All in all the day was beautiful, the people showed up to had fun and the Winooski River was once again conquered…at least for today.
This is one of those rivers that you can not miss. The Rainbow River bubbles up from its headsprings at Rainbow River State Park and winds 5.7 miles downstream before it flows into the Withlacoochee River. The crystal clear river is loaded with oversized fish and other wildlife that call this river their home. This is the fourth largest spring system in Florida producing 400-600 million gallons of water everyday.
There are three put-ins along this river. The first is at the Rainbow River State Park and costs $2 per person. This put-in has the longest walk to the water, requiring you to walk all the way through the park.
The second put-in is at KP Hole Park, which has bathrooms, changing rooms, a swimming area and a snack bar. The fee to put in here is $5 per person, but you can drive your SUP right up to the waters edge. From here you can paddle 1 mile upstream to the head springs and 1 mile back to KP Hole. From here, if you’re feeling adventurous you can paddle 4 more miles downstream to the Public Boat Ramp in Dunnellon.
The Public boat ramp requires no fee and is just a parking lot with a ramp. This is located on FL 484 dirctly across the river from Swampy’s Bar and Grille.
This is a beautiful river that a lot of people enjoy. It’s recommended to avoid the area of weekends and hot days because their is limited parking at all put in locations. On busy days the state park can reach capacity by noon. Go early, or go on slower days.
We have compiled a list of local Vermont shops and Guides that rent paddleboards, host free demo days and guided tours. There are many amazing river, lakes and ponds to SUP on in Vermont, and these companies will take you there!
Paddle Surf Champlain
Experience the fun and freedom of Stand Up Paddleboarding — SUP — on the Northeast’s premier mountain lake.
What’s better than taking in the spectacular Lake Champlain sunsets, gliding past lush and colorful shoreline, enjoying Green Mountain and Adirondack vistas, all while taking part in a growing new sport rooted in the Hawaiian spirit of Aloha …
Wednesday Night SUP’er Club: An everyone-welcome weekly group paddleboard tour; Departing from the Oakledge Park beach, 6-8 p.m. every Wednesday.
Family Jam! Drop-in session for kids and parents. Anything goes, including frisbees, hula hoops, paddle skis and SUP jousting. Every Friday, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Canoe, Kayak, and Stand-Up Paddleboard(SUP) Rentals & Shuttle
Daily on the hour 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Explore the scenic Lamoille River at your leisure. Our guides will shuttle you upriver, launch you with basic paddling instruction if needed, then send you on your way. Feel free to take a picnic lunch, bathing suits, fishing poles, stop on a beach or just enjoy a relaxing day on the river. Single kayaks and SUPs are $40, canoe and tandem kayaks are $70. One canoe or kayak rental is included in your Adventure Connection Package.
NEW! SUP YOGA
Wednesday, 9:30 am – 11:00 am What better way to enjoy the art of Yoga than floating on a paddleboard on a beautiful, calm, serene pond setting in the mountains of Vermont! Practice traditional poses on the water along with free time to Stand Up Paddleboard. Never tried either? No problem—this is geared toward all levels from beginners to advanced as you challenge yourself. It’s easier than you think. $40 per person.
Every Thursday evening throughout the summer, we are hosting Stand Up Paddleboard Demos on Lake Champlain from 6-8 (weather permitting)
These demos are free and open to the public – we just ask that you RSVP. I know, it sounds too good to be true – but you better believe it. Please RSVP by email to email@example.com. Sign up early as demo slots will fill up quickly.
Equipment Provided: SUP, Paddle, PFD
Location: We will meet at boat launch (please do not park in the boat launch parking lot) near the US Coast Guard Station.
After two days of being overfed by my grandparents, doing laundry, and drying our gear we headed off in search of the Juniata River. As if our 107 miles on the Allegheny river wasn’t enough, we were in search of another 126 miles. This river attracted our attention because of its location (near my grandmother) and its size. The Allegheny River was great because it had a constant current and went through some beautiful areas, but we were looking for something a little smaller, that still held enough water for our SUPs. We originally planned to start on the Frankstown branch putting in near Canoe Creek State Park, but as we arrived we decided the water was just too low. We didn’t want to risk damaging our SUPs, so we decided to cut out 28 miles and put in below the only dam on the river. Just above this dam the Little Juniata and the Frankstown Branch join together almost doubling the amount of water giving the river plenty of volume to paddle.
We put in around 1pm on the first day at mile 98 on the Pennsylvania Water Trail Map. The first day flew by as we had a tailwind and a decent current carrying us downriver.
We enjoyed a lot of train bridges that crisscrossed back and forth across the river and were entertained by the trains passing by all day. We paddled through Jack’s Narrows which we found slightly disappointing; with one of our home rivers being the Winooski River with it’s intense rock gorges in the Middlesex to Waterbury stretch, this “narrow” pass was a let down.
It squished the railroad track and the highway into our little valley and made for a very noisy few miles. We made camp just across from the boat launch at mile 76 at the end of a corn field. The first 22 miles of this trip passed so quickly we could hardly believe we paddled that far. Our 126 miles in 6 days could turn into 98 miles in 4 days if we didn’t slow down.
Fortunately we didn’t have to slow down our paddling, as more water came into the Juniata, the current began to slow down and we weren’t moving quite as fast as day one.
For the next three days we paddled through farm land interspersed with seasonal camps and trailer parks. Some areas were much nicer than others, but most were unoccupied and trashy. It seemed like most of the river was lined with summer camps that are not well kept because no one is there full time. This was definitely not something we are used to seeing. Generally the river banks in Vermont are clear of trash and its not accepted to dump furniture, tires or vehicles into the river.
We chose a little island that was a designated camp site on our map as an end point for the day. After 23 miles we pulled up to the island and found that we had to climb up a 5 foot bank to get to the site. We started throwing our gear up onto the island. Once the gear was up, I climbed up to help haul the SUPs out of the water.
The instant I reached the top, a goose started making a ruckus and waddling away from its nest. The goose had decided this was the perfect place to lay its eggs. We weren’t willing to camp 5 feet away from the nest so we loaded our gear back up and continued down river. We found another suitable spot just 500 feet downriver near mile 52; but we had to listen to the geese honking all night long.
We had planned another 20 miles for day 3, but as we rounded the first bend and the river opened up into a 6 mile straight away, the wind picked up. We were expecting some wind, and a storm front to blow in at some point in the afternoon, but we were hoping we would get tailwind from the front. No such luck. By 2:30pm we were so frustrated with battling the wind, we decided 17 miles was plenty for the day. With the rain getting closer, we called it quits and set up camp near Mifflin, PA at mile 35.
Shortly after the tent was set up the first band of rain hit us, and we ducked inside to stay dry and warm. We started watching Avatar on my iPhone. It worked perfectly to put the phone in the net pocket at the top of the tent. We enjoyed our own private “paddle-in” movie theater! Once the first band of rain passed through, we quickly made ourselves dinner and cleaned up before the rain started up again and kept going for the evening. Our tent kept us warm and dry through the substantial rain and we were able to use our solar charger to recharge my iphone.
With the storm now on the other side of us we were able to enjoy a sweet tailwind on day four. We hoped to paddle 20 or so miles to leave an easy last day, with a strong tailwind we easily cruised through the day. By mid afternoon the wind picked up even more, and by late afternoon we were out paddling in 40+ mph wind gusts. We struggled to control where our SUPs were taking us. This was our first real experience paddling in irregular waves. We were used to paddling through river rapids which have very predictable waves. These waves were chaotic at best. They would die down with the wind and then pick up again the next minute. There were white caps everywhere and the wind wasn’t just pushing the water around, it was pushing us too.
We enjoyed it for a bit, it felt like we were flying down the river. One wave would pick us up and surf us a few feet forward, before it would race past us and another would catch up and surge us forward. It was fun until we had to find a campsite. The one serious rapid on the river was approaching and we wanted to be able to see it, scout it and pick our favorite line without the wind at our backs. We couldn’t find a campsite before the rapid so we broke down and stopped at The Green Valley Campground in Newport, PA at mile 6 for our last night.
We were able to get a hot shower and we even splurged with a celebratory dinner at the restaurant on premise. The campground didn’t have our typical alone-in-the-woods feel, but it got us out of the wind and provided a little luxury on our last night.
We tried to go slow in the morning because we only had 6 miles to paddle before our pick up at 12:30on the Susquehanna River. We even made ourselves a big pancake breakfast before before getting on the river. Our slow morning didn’t work out too well, with people milling about the campground, we were antsy to get on our way. We put on at 10 and paddled a short way to that rapid we heard so much about. It turned out to be a single ledge that was easily runnable river right, with several slots throughout the ledge that could have also been run.
It wasn’t much, but in the wind from the day before, we easily could have ended up swimming and damaging our boards.
We took out at the Riverfront Campground & Fish Camp in Duncannon, PA where my grandmother picked us up and brought us back to our truck. Another river successfully completed! The Juniata River was not what we expected, but it held its own beauty and was very typical of central PA. The water trail itself was marked very well, all the public boat launches had mile markers on them and the designated campsites were marked with small silver plates on the trees. Overall, a very relaxing river to paddle.
We’ve had our eyes on the rivers and lakes for weeks now. It’s been a long wait, but the rivers up here in northern Vermont are finally moving again! The last of the ice dams on the Winooski River have broken free and its time to paddle! With cold, high, fast moving water, large ice chunks and other debris floating in the river it’s not quite the season for beginner paddlers; but if you’ve got the right equipment and knowledge the fun can begin right now! Continue reading Winooski Early April SUP Paddle→