Paddling Whitewater with the CT AMC

The Appalachian Mountain Club has paddlers! Lots of paddlers! The largest AMC chapters (Boston, Berkshire, CT and NY/NJ) each have 250-750 whitewater paddlers. Each chapter has white water, flat water and sea kayaking programs, Each conducts training classes and workshops for open canoe (both solo and tandem), and closed boats (kayaks and C1 – closed canoes). Paddling skills, safety and rescue, and trip leader certification are provided by various chapters.

Everyone is encouraged to join the AMC, but guests may participate. The AMC is headquartered at 5 Joy St, Boston, Ma. 02108. Besides whitewater, the activities include hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, ice climbing, orienteering, bicycling, skiing and conservation. See the CT AMC Homepage for more information. AMC members help maintain the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail and many other hiking trails. The AMC operates six self-service and five full service camps, seven campgrounds, and the six-unit AMC Hut System in the White Mountains. See the main AMC website or call any of the committee members for further information.

White water paddlers are rated as Class I (beginner), II (novice), III (intermediate), or IV (advanced). They can paddle rivers that are equal to or below their ratings, and with the trip leader’s approval, can paddle rivers one level above their own rating. If you are a new paddler, you would be interested in trips rated as Class II. Or joining one of our instructional programs.

The CT. Chapter’s boating season begins on New Year’s Day, and usually ends with some ‘Christmas Specials’ in December. Kayak rolling sessions are held in an indoor pool during January and February. We begin paddling on a regular basis towards the end of February. On a typical weekend in season there will usually be trips for different skill levels and which may be in any of the New England states. We occasionally run trips in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maine and even Canada.

If you have no whitewater experience, it would be best to attend one of our instructionals that are listed on our schedule. Professional training is also available from Clarke Outdoors & Zoar Outdoors. If you cannot attend an instructional, some class 2 trip leaders may pair you up with an experienced paddler for some impromptu instructions.

If you have some white water experience, you can paddle with the group with the trip leader’s approval. To sign up for a trip, call the trip leader for the details of the time and meeting place. You should expect to be questioned on your general paddling ability, experience and equipment.

The Whitewater Committee maintains a supply of kayaks and equipment. These are used for instructional classes and can be rented for use on CT AMC trips.

AMC OUTDOORS, the AMC bulletin, is published 10 times a year. It contains news and articles on the environment, conservation, etc and is included as part of your AMC membership. It lists both monthly and future activities of each chapter, including white water. CT. members can participate with the other chapters. If you see a trip that you like scheduled with another chapter, you can join them, provided that you are qualified and make your reservation. This includes training courses—if you cannot attend one of CT’s instructionals, watch for those scheduled by the other chapters.