Big Branch, Vermont, US
|Usual Difficulty||V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||260 fpm|
As of September 2011 and Hurricane Irene, the river is completely different. I'm leaving the info below for historical records, but the three major drops are no longer really there. Cave Drop is there in some form, but is relatively straightforward compared to how it used to be. The following rapid is best run down the river left channel. Mushroom is no longer really a distinct rapid, although there is a steep boulder garden in its place. BLT has also changed dramatically and now has a much longer lead-in, but more runnable options in the bottom.
Overall, the river is still very good and very runnable. It is still predominantly steep boulder garden. A few sections have been scoured to bedrock. There are some sievier spots than there used to be; hopefully these will fill in over time. The river needs more water than it used to, as the bed is much wider and less channelized than it was before Irene.
Greg and Sue Hanlon's Steep Creeks of New
England has more info on this run.
This run is totally continous from the moment you put in, until you take out. Beautiful boofs, slots and drops. Three drops stand out:
Cave Drop, early in the run, has been the site of a few mishaps. The rapid that follows should be run right, down the rocky sneak.
Mushroom, is a long rapid terminating in a rock with water piling on it.
Boof left twice, is the largest signle drop on the river, and occurs about half way down. There's plenty more to keep you busy though, right to the takeout.
Head North on Rte. 7 from Manchester about 12 miles to Danby and Mount Tabor. Turn right on Mount Tabor Rd. one mile to the Big Branch takeout; park in the pull-off before the bridge.
To putin: Continue upstream to the Big Branch picnic area. Take the switchback trail down to the normal putin.
If the water's high, putin upstream where the Long Trail crosses the river; to get there, continue up the road to the Long Trail; hike the trail about a mile to the river. If the water is really high, you'll want to take out at the normal put in!