A Sample

Here is the first paragraph of a river description. This is the North Branch of the Westfield in Massachusetts:

I used to think (although no longer!) of the labyrinthine Westfield River system as a tangle of branches that doubled back on themselves and unaccountably spawned side branches – most of which accomplished painfully few memorable rapids. The one exception seemed to me the part of the North Branch called The Pork Barrel. The distinction is a forest surrounding it and sustained whitewater for the distance. I had one acquaintance when I started boating who loved to introduce people to this section. “You’ll love The Pork,” he’d tell kayakers, and dentists, and stray black labs. But he was right, at least in my case. Although it seemed The Pork Barrel never ran. Which is true. It doesn’t — often.

From the put in at Cummington, the river is easy and visibly so (from the road) for 2.5 miles. This is a good warm-up. When the Swift River enters on the left, the Westfield turns away from the road, heading into the remote Pork Barrel area. The rapids (II-II+) remind me of a slightly easier Upper West River in Vermont. Constant small waves are broken by a few midstream boulders. At lower water there is a slalom course of eddies and some okay surf waves. At higher water there are constant larger waves and even better surfing. The rapids last a decent while. The river gets easier just before the take out bridge, hiding its true character.

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