A Leisurely Run on the Nescopeck Creek

Trip Start Mar 21, 2010
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Trip End Oct 17, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Sunday, March 21, 2010

Today was my first run on the Nescopeck Creek, a popular local class I-III creek. It was my first run of the season in the northeast after paddling in Mexico a month ago.

Thankfully we had one of those rare summer-like 70 degree days with sunny skies to cut the chill factor of the 38 degree water. I had a hole in the gasket of my dry pants, which is a critical piece of cold weather paddling gear. I opted to do the run in my wet-suit pants. I know that if the combination of air temperature and water temperature is atleast 100 degrees than the chance of developing hypothermia is slim. I knew a swim in only wet-suit pants would be cold but I shouldn't get into too much trouble. I had my dry top as well as two fleece under-layers to wear underneath and my gloves. 

I met Mary, Neil and Joe at the put-in at 11:00 a.m. We quickly got dressed and hiked our boats to the river. We were all using creek boats today, except for Joe who paddles a canoe. The Nescopeck was running about 98 cfs which I'm told is a nice level. The water was cold but with the air temperature it felt fine.

One of the nice things about the Nescopeck is that it runs alongside a road, so if trouble happens while on the creek help is easy to get to. Most of the rapids on the Nescopeck don't have names, the biggest drop was about 5 feet high. I practiced some eddy turns and peel outs, took some pictures, admired the view alongside the river and had alot of fun.

One of the more technical section is called Raceway, I believe, and it required boulder dodging and some side to side moves. The creek was on its lower end of runnability so there were alot of rocks to boof and dodge. I hit a large rock and got bounced back into a hole and flipped. I tried my roll 4 times but it was just too shallow to roll so I had to pull and swim.

I was able to self rescue all of my gear and myself. The water took your breath away when you hit it and I was cold but after a few minutes I felt fine. Joe helped me get my kayak drained out and we continued down river. 

We had to duck under a large tree that feel across the river during one of the recent storms. Its always a good idea to check on American Whitewater or local kayak club forums to see if anyone has posted anything about strainers or other hazards before running a creek. During the spring rainy season it is common for local creeks to flood and new hazards to enter the creek.
 
As we went through a rapid we were each attacked by a large canadian goose, she must have had a nest nearby. Its really common for ducks and geese to freak out and quack at you but I've never been attacked by one before. She just dive bombed our heads as we went through, it was really funny until it happened to you!

We rounded a bend and came to the infamous "Chicken Hole", its a local surf spot on the creek. Joe went in and got flipped and swam. Neil went in and nearly flipped. He said it was alot stickier than he remembered it so that was the end of the surfing for the day.We spent about 3 hours on the Nescopeck and had a great time, the weather was warm the sky was sunny and it was a great day to be on the river in late March.

Things Learned on the Nescopeck:

1. Nescopeck info: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/1646/#zzqmamqnvltcojbRiverMainGadget19
 
2. Hypothermia info: http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/coastal_communities/hypothermia

3. If the combination of air and water temps are atleast 100 degrees the chance of hypothermia is greatly reduced.

4. American Whitewater: www.americanwhitewater.org

5. Its always a good idea to check on American Whitewater or local kayak club forums to see if anyone has posted anything about strainers or other hazards.
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