R i v e r R at 2013
(with a bit of 2012 thrown in)
Letter from the President
elcome to a yearlong edition of the River Rat! Ledyard has been very busy this past year and we thought it was finally time for us to share with you some of our experiences. In this River Rat you can learn about what Ledyard’s been up to in every season of the past year, from the classic spring break trip, to the dedication of the newly rebuilt Titcomb last fall and the great sportsmanship shown by the Frozen Chickens, Ledyard’s intramural hockey team, this past winter. On top of the great year that Ledyard had during the 2012-2013 school year was the incredibly successful term this past fall. Several trips, both beginner and intermediate, were run every week. Demand was never short. Aspiring leaders, increasingly involved freshman, or people that were just exploring Ledyard for the very first time filled the trips. Council, feeds, and other events were also always well attended, especially by the very enthusiastic ‘17s. With such an increase in membership, Ledyard now has the potential to positively impact more people than it ever has before. There is some bad news: the Ledyard clubhouse was closed earlier this year due to mold problems. The sheds and cage were kept open and accessible, so the rental business and kayaking trips were allowed to continue, but the residents had to move out, feeds were moved to Tom Dent, and, most importantly, Ledyard’s central meeting place, our hub, our home, was made inaccessible. Mold at the clubhouse became a recurring problem this summer but not because of negligence; the residents and FO&M did all they could to stop the problem. The mold was persistent because of a water-intrusion problem, which caused an excess of moisture in the clubhouse that could feed and encourage mold growth. Once this problem was made
known, the college could no longer allow students to inhabit the space because of the possible health problems caused by mold. Within a few days that Ledyard received news, the residents had to be moved out and the downstairs had to be stripped bare to allow further investigation. Since then, the college has added a wall in the living room so that we can continue to use the space despite the water intrusion issue. We’re very excited to be back in the clubhouse, hanging up the signs and paddles again, but we’re also working hard to further plans for a new and improved clubhouse. Until then, we will continue to encourage the growth and success of our club despite the currently limited facilities. In the last few days alone we’ve been down at the club, grilling after trips to Hartlands and Pond Brook, sitting on the porch and looking out on the Connecticut, happy for the warmer weather, good paddling, and great friends. Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of the River Rat! Cohaereamus,
Photos by Nina Frankel ‘13
TRIP INTO THE SEA 2013
Story by Milo Johnson Photos by Scott Lacy
“You guys need to pack it up and go home, this is just stupid.” When I explained to the police officer that we were on day 5 of a 7 day trip from Hanover, NH to the Long Island Sound, he first asked “Are you serious?”, then changed his expression and said “well, then… you should … you really shouldn’t be on the water right now, you need to wait.” The 12 of us had been waiting, for the last hour, in the parking lot of a boat launch below the broken Enfield Dam on the Connecticut River. We had been driven off the river by an uncomfortably close thunderstorm and were now standing in the aftermath of a heavy rain. Excited by the prospect of the added water providing the current we needed to get to our campsite (and a nearby pizza place) before dark, we counted the seconds between flash and bang until we were sure the storm had passed and was headed away. But as we loaded our boats and prepared to shove off, we heard the sirens of a squad car peeling into the lot.
The initiation portage “Why oh why did we bring so much heavy stuff?”
By the time the police officer left, we were no longer under strict instruction to be off the water, but had still been warned repeatedly to “use good judgment” and not to “do anything stupid.” With these words fresh in our minds, we ran down a trail to look at the river around the corner. We had been warned that the rain was causing a flood and the water ahead would be rough. In reality, there was just strong current, and having just paddled through the small rapids of the broken Enfield Dam, we were feeling confident. The thunderstorm was long gone by now, so we shoved off and paddled as hard as we could for the next 2 hours to arrive at Loomis Chaffee school, our campsite that night, just as it was getting dark. We were overjoyed when the nice people at Loomis Chaffee invited us to sleep in their gym, where we ate pizza (we ordered delivery from the water) and slept like babies. That night marked a turning point in Trip to the Sea 2013. The first half of the trip we had very little current, so we paddled hard all day through a mix of sunshine and thunderstorms. During the worst thunderstorm we were again saved by the kindness of people and the gym of a boarding school – this time Northfield Mount Herman. At the halfway point, Brunelle’s Marina on night 4, we were joined by several more ‘13s, as well as Brian Garvey, Bill Webster, Pete Webster, and Pete’s daughter Kelly. The Webster group took an equally interesting but different route at the Enfield Dam, by portaging into the Windsor Locks Canal, which doesn’t reconnect with the Connecticut river... which meant a dreadfully steep portage without a trail. We reconnected with
them at Loomis Chaffee and bonded over pizza and exhaustion. The last two days we enjoyed strong current but colder weather, a wonderful paddle through Hartford, and on the last day a final push to the sea with 55° weather and a strong north wind. We tied our boats together, set up a tarp, and sailed the ten miles down to the Pettipaug Yacht club where we warmed up, again saved by the kindness of people along the river. We were joined at Pettipaug by the chase boat, piloted by Charlene and Ed Mazer ‘63, and headed on down toward the SEA! The wind calmed a bit but was still ripping, so we wondered a bit about whether we should attempt to round the lighthouse at the end of the breakwater to paddle in to shore. Encouraged by the calm water within the towering rock piles of the breakwater and the safety net provided by our chase boat, we decided to go for it. Once around the lighthouse we found ourselves in 6-foot swells, strong wind, and a rip tide. We battled the current with all our might, yelling at the top of our lungs, paddling in unison, and keeping our eyes set on the goal. The large Clipper canoe, with 7 paddlers, borrowed a rowing term with a slight modification and called out for a “power 100.” This effort brought them around the
We hoisted a tarp-sail and let the wind take us 10 miles on the last day
lighthouse and, gloriously, in to shore. I was behind in a two-person boat along with 5 other paddlers, and with less paddles in the water, we were struggling to follow our friends. We dug our blades in and yelled above the sound of the waves and wind, but we couldnâ€™t gain enough power to make progress around the lighthouse. Eventually we decided to turn around and paddle back into the breakwater, but by that point we were 20 meters out from the lighthouse and had to contend with the rip tide drawing us out and away from the safety of the protected channel. We were stuck bracing against the swells and slowly being swept out to sea. I watched the lighthouse drift away. Without the chase boat we would have tried to paddle parallel to shore to escape the rip, but with the promise of rescue we decided we had better stay in the main channel. Charlene and Ed had long since
Top row: Gray Kelsey, Robin Costello, Maddie Lesser, Milo Johnson, Matt Picka Bottom row: Remy Franklin, Reed Harder
stopped taking pictures and taken on the role of heroes, motoring out to us as we floated into the surf. My boat was the last to be rescued. We clambered into the motorboat and tied our canoe to the back with a new appreciation for the power of the sea. Charlene and Ed brought us back to the beach at the north end of the breakwater, where we carried our boat a very short distance to the beach where the Clipper had landed. That night we relived all our experiences with the Southern Connecticut Alumni Club over an incredible dinner, warm showers, and the immense hospitality of the Webster family at their house on the shore. It was an eventful and exciting trip, shared with an extraordinarily easygoing and fun group of old friends and new friends. I sure am glad we didn’t “pack it up and head home” at Essex.
art, Sarah Wildes, Katie Schade, Amanda Wheelock, James Lee, Meeta Prakash r, Scott Lacy, Sarah Brim, Emily Blackmer
Let’s Get Down to Business: Rentals Summer 2013 By Frances Davenport ‘13
2013 was yet another successful year for the Ledyard rental business! As always, the Ledyard rentals were popular with students, faculty, and community members alike. We started the summer off with a freshly painted clubhouse, just in time for reunions where we got to meet many of you (and your families)! This year was the first full season that the new Titcomb cabin was open and it was incredibly popular – the cabin was booked almost every weekend throughout Spring, Summer and Fall. The first month of summer was unusually rainy, but the popularity of rentals on sunny days helped compensate for some of the slower, rainy afternoons. Overall, our income from rentals exceeded that of the past few years.
Shelby Hinds ’14 holding down the fort
This was our second year renting out Stand-Up Paddleboards, which have become more and more popular. We plan on increasing our number from 3 SUPs to 6 or 8 next year. This spring we bought five new canoes and at the end of this season we retired three of our oldest boats. We plan on selling these canoes and a few other boats at the start of next season. (If you’re interested in an old Ledyard canoe, let us know!). For the second year in a row, we also rented out our two 8-person “Clipper” canoes – these were especially popular with families or other large groups. Most weekends this summer we rented out every single boat, but at this point we are already over-capacity for boat storage. We hope to find some ways for the business to grow next year given our existing resources. This year we began moving to a more electronic record keeping system, which we plan to continue with next year. While we are sad to see the warm weather go, it really has been a great season and we are looking forward to what will hopefully be another successful year in 2014!
Watching a summer sunset over the Connecticut
The 8th Wells River Rumble was a huge success this year. Created nine years ago by Jolyon RivoirPruszinski â€˜99, the Wells River Rumble has been challenged by extreme weather over the past two years. Two years ago, floodwaters
made the race too dangerous for all except the most skilled paddlers, and last year, bone-dry conditions forced the race to be moved at the last minute to Quechee Gorge. This year, however, despite the new fallen snow, 28 paddlers came
Christian Woodard and Rogan Brown battle it out on Tantric for first place in the mass start
Left: Ellen Ludlow ‘10 and Alex Steinberg ‘07 triumph in the duo race Above: Rogan Brown flies off El Salto falls
out on the morning of April 13th for a great race. The race began with a 28-person mass start race down the mile long section of class IV whitewater including a 12-foot waterfall and some serious chutes and slides. This mass start qualifier was used to the seed five person heats that ran each of the rapids again in quick succession. In the end, Rogan Brown of The University of Vermont took the men’s first place prize and Daphnee Tuzlak of Middlebury won the women’s class.
Toth ’10 won the longboat race, struggling to stay upright in the chaotic water as he crossed the finish line. Only two teams competed in the tandem boat race, Max Van-Pelt ’11 and Esteban Castano ‘14 raced against Alex Steinberg ’07 and Ellen Ludlow ’10. Many onlookers were shocked to see Ludlow, then in the bow of the winning boat, throw her paddle away in celebration as her team ran the waterfall. Overall it was a great turn out for a great race!
As a finale, long boat and tandem kayak heats were raced. Alex
Written by Alex Steinberg Photos by Catalina Mejia and Milo Johnson
The 50th Anniversary
Scott Lacy â€˜13 charging in the slalom
This year was an important one for Riverfest, because the extensive list of events culminated with the 50th anniversary of the Mascoma Slalom race. This makes the event the oldest collegiate kayaking race in the country. Students were joined in the competition by some notable alumni, locals, and several outof-town visitors. A handful of students from Middlebury and Colby Colleges also participated in the Mascoma along with other portions of the festival. The course itself comprised of eighteen gates. Members of Ledyard were posted at intervals along the course as gate judges. Each judge was responsible for approximately five gates and recorded whether each racer cleared, hit, or missed the gates.
Throughout the morning almost fifty kayakers ran the slalom in open boats, racing boats, long boats, and creek boats. After all racers had finished, the onlookers enjoyed watching Max Van Pelt and Alex Steinberg complete the course in an open canoe outfitted only for flat water. Fortunately they made it safely to the end, although they may not have actually cleared many gates. Rogan Brown won the slalom with a time of two minutes and fifty-one seconds and received an engraved paddle for first place. The weather that day was relatively cloudy and chilly - it even snowed for about five minutes - but the spirits of the hosts and racers made it yet another successful and entertaining day on the Mascoma. â€˘ Ellen Davenport â€˘
Riverfest 2013 Champions Mascoma Slalom Men’s K1
Wells River Rumble Men’s open
Women’s K1 Daphnee Tuzlak
Women’s open Daphnee Tuzlak
Men’s Rec K1 Hugh Pritchard
Open C1 Alex Bender & Josh ?
Duo Alex Steinberg & Ellen Ludlow
Photos by Brian Seitz ‘12
Top left: Max Van Pelt ‘11 and Jon Kubert ‘16 form a lifelong friendship based primarily on haircuts. Top right: Sam Streeter ‘13 boofs into Tennessee on the Watauga, Milo Johnson ‘13 waits for his turn in the eddy with some North Carolina locals. Bottom: A gnarly crew prepares to run the Pidgeon (top row: Anna Gabianelli ‘16, Jesse Harris ‘14, Matt Pickart ‘13, Spencer Chu ‘16, Jon Kubert ‘16, Andi Liebowitz ‘14, bottom row: Sara Gabriele ‘16, Lily Albrecht ‘15, Ellen Davenport ‘16, Audrey Sherman ‘14, Max Van Pelt ‘11). Photos by Jenica Anderson. Top right photo by Spencer Chu.
SPRING TRIP 2013 By Spencer Chu On an early March 15th morning, thirty Ledyardites piled into cars and vans and set off on the drive down to Asheville, North Carolina for our annual Ledyard spring break trip. Aside from the loss of a top rack along the highway and a few mixes unceremoniously thrown out the window, the ride went relatively smoothly. We careened down the highways of eleven states, covering nearly a thousand miles. In the middle of the night, we reached out destination and home for the next week and a half, Camp Rockmont. The next morning, we awoke and headed out to our first day on the river. Our full armada of thirty paddlers headed to the Lower Green for some nice introductory whitewater. Everyone had a successful day on the river, and we carried that momentum through the rest of the trip. The next day many of us went to the Nantahala and took on a slightly bigger river. Throughout the rest of the trip we divided into different groups for different beginner and advanced trips each day. We ran rivers such as the French Broad, the Upper Green, the Chattooga, the Pigeon, the Big Laurel, and others. Many of the beginners got their whitewater “combat” roll for the first time, and everyone tried new and harder rivers. We also visited Asheville and sampled the Mexican cuisine of the area. We played soccer at the lodge, sat around the fire, and learned more about our new and old friends. A night was spent watching paddling videos including some that included various Ledyard alumni. We laughed and gave awards during our nightly trip reports. The group had fun paddling many different rivers, and we all learned different paddling techniques from one another. It was amazing to get to know so many different, fun people in the paddling setting. We had so much fun on and off the river together, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a spring break.
Going West! Ahh the West. No, not the mountainous expanses of the Western United States that I like to call home. Now I’m talking about the waterway of history and legend. The West River in Vermont. Running East of the relaxed, but surprisingly happening little town of Jamaica, Vermont (another misnomer) the West River has been called many names in its long relationship with human cultures. Most notably named the Wantastiquet by the Abenaki native people translated as “Waters of the Lonely Way.” Today the West is loved by river runners for its class III, 2.75 mile run from Ball Mountain Dam to Jamaica State Park. What makes running the river so special is that the flow rates needed only come during the US Army Corp of Engineers scheduled Ball Mountain Dam releases. Up until a couple years ago this was a bi or tri annual event, but recently they controversially decided to officially release only once a year. In 2012 it was on September 29th starting at 8:30 am. And it was a sight to be seen. High above the dam a control booth had been built that towered hundreds of feet above the dam lake below, connected to the hillside only by a 50 yard long concrete catwalk. From this vantage point a fairground of vans, trucks and buses in a grassy field could be seen through the chilly morning mist in various states of boat unloadedness. After a glorious release of our bladders streaming hundreds of feet to the lake below, we were ready to take on the monstrous West release. It was a grueling foot descent from the top of the damn down the steep path to the put in. But once there, the explosive wall of whitewater spilling over the dam at 1500 cfs was fully exposed. As rafters, kayakers, and canoers giddily lined up in the choppy eddy below the dam, I felt a sense that I was a part of a sort of holy pilgrimage down sacred waters. The massive wave train through the rapid Initiation was a quick warm up, and exciting moment
By Ari Koeppel for swimmer Ellen Davenport. Then we reached the inconspicuous Boof Rock where the more experienced Ledyard paddlers took the time to show a little skill. And finally, we power garaged the left to right move between the gurgling holes of Dumplings as everyone successfully made it through the most technical part of the river. It was, overall, a jamminâ€™ good time, I thought, as we pulled into Jamaica for lunch. If only they would release the West more often. It is a blast of a river and a great place to take newer boaters looking to step it up. Until next time old Waters of the Lonely Way.
When nothing is running in the summer....
A BIG CROO
By Charlie Governali
2012 was something of a trial run up in the Second College Grant, and it went quite well. More Trippees got to go on the most sought-after trip (whitewater). The Croo wasnâ€™t stretched as thin on the river (because of ten-person instead of twelve-person trips). Croo energy level was more consistently high. Trippees got to interact with a wider range of upperclassmen with more diverse Dartmouth experiences to share. And, Ledyard got to show paddling to more freshmen (recruitment potential!). In 2012, we increased the Croo from five to eight and switched from five sections of whitewater (each with ten trippees and two leaders) to nine sections of whitewater (each with eight trippees and two leaders). This took us from something like 50 freshmen to 72 freshmen exposed
to whitewater kayaking. We could easily have done ten sections, and would have, except for a lack of bus space on section B. Ten-person trip sections were more manageable on the river for a Crooling team of one Level 2 and one Level 1. I’d argue that this translated into improved Trippee comfort and safety on the river. We also had Croo help of 1-2 folks for at least half of the time. This was great in keeping energy up and spreading out the work. The 2013 croo stayed at the larger size and had a blast teaching plenty of ‘17s how to boat. For now, a bigger Grant Croo and more whitewater Trips seems well worth pursuing -- for both the Trips program and for Ledyard.
Photos from Charlie Governali of Grant Croo 2012: Charlie Governali ‘12, Gray Kelsey ‘13, Conor Cathey ‘15, Amanda Wheelock ‘13, Scott Lacy ‘13, Angela Dunnham ‘13, Chris Rhoades ‘13, and Zach Cutler ‘14
Alex Becker ‘15 organized the event. He spoke along with construction team leader Greg Sokol ‘10 and Peter Titcomb ‘66. Photos by Milo Johnson and Catalina Mejia.
Frozen Chickens 2013
The mighty Frozen Chickens had a great year in 2013. They easily bypassed the first round of league play, dangling and deking their way to huge victories. They fought hard for a tight victory in the quarterfinals, held together at the back by goaltender James Quadrino â€˜13. In the semifinals, though, they came up against a formidably fit track-team-based opponent, and couldnâ€™t muster the strength to pull out a win. With only a few losses of key players, next year is almost certainly the year for the Frozen Chickens to claim an intramural championship.
Generations collide: Alex Steinberg ‘07 and Zach Cutler ‘14 on the Mettawee. Photo by Nick Gottlieb ‘11
Until next time, we ’ ll see you on the