Gihon, Vermont, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV(V) (for normal flows)|
|LAMOILLE RIVER AT JOHNSON, VT|
|usgs-04292000||1300 - 2800 cfs||IV(V)||01h15m||363 cfs (too low)|
The Gihon can be thought of as two sections, the upper and the lower. These are separated by a mile of scenic flatwater through rolling Northern Vermont hills. For a short run you can do just the lower, but the upper is certainly worth the flatwater.
Starts with a 25ft dam. This is clean and incredibly fun. Folks being led down for their first time are rarely allowed to scout (it is much more fun this way). Check the bottom for wood and then slide over a few boat widths to the left of the center abutment. If the level is above 3 on the painted gauge the hole at the bottom will start to get a bigger until the point where you won't want to run it.
Several class IV ledges/rapids follow in a beautiful gorge-like setting. The culmination is Mustang, a big 3 stage rapid that plunges into a narrow gorge. The left side is a dangerous looking crack and should be avoided. The hole at the bottom is generally flushy but gets big as the level rises. After this rapid is some gentle run-out and then the start of a mile or so of flatwater through rolling farm fields.
Begins at the obvious horizon line. This two stager is referred to as Bed-Head. It is the hardest rapid on the lower and can be portaged on the left. Following are a half dozen or so class IV ledge rapids. You can paddle all the way into town or take out below the rapid after the powerhouse covered bridge.
The guage listed here is on the nearby and large Lamoille. The Gihon rises quicker and drops quicker, so when the level is coming up or down on the Lamoille the Gihon is likely a step or two ahead.
There is a painted gauge on the RR abutment of the powerhouse bridge.
1 is minimum
1-2 is low
2-3 is medium
3-3.5 is medium high
3.5-4 is high (some of the rapids start to close out)
4+ is higher than recommended.