Page 28 - WCM-2021-Summer-Flip
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 Stu and Andy’s Icy Adventure
Good Times on the Rapid River by Stu Hickey, photos by Andy Gagne
 This past January, after the extreme Christmas rains decimated our snowpack and skiing, I got word that the road to Middle Dam on Lower Richardson Lake was plowed, and the Rapid River was pump- ing a whopping 1850 CFS. The perfect opportunity had finally arrived for the combined cross-country ski plus whitewater adventure that photographer Andy Gagne and I had been scheming for years.
A long drive north led us to the gate where we would transition to skis. After a double-check of our equipment list and emergency supplies, we set off down on our portage to the Carry Road to Pond in the River where we found solid ice along the banks, and a surreal, especially remote ski experience.
When we reached the river, we basked in the sunshine for a few moments, did another rundown of our emergency gear for the river, hopped in our boats, and floated off. Everything but our morale began to freeze. The mindset was team down stream, heads above water, and dodge crashing waves and big holes. A river, near and dear for summer-time fun, took on a new persona when caked in snow and filled with frigid water. We hit the take out and quickly rigged our boats for
the hike back to the put-in, some warm clothes, and a memorable trek out just as the winter dusk settled over western Maine. ✬

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