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In a last minute decision of where we were most likely to have water on our already planned vacation, my husband Daniel and I changed destinations completely and headed north to New England. We started out the trip in Maine, which ended up being perfect timing for the Smalls to the Wall Race.

Daniel and I first tried to paddle Smalls Falls about 5 years ago on another road trip up north. Smalls Falls is a park and huck that consists of 6 small waterfalls, ranging from 5 to 20 feet high. We got all the way into Maine and camped overnight. When we woke the next morning, a log had come down and blocked the channel, making it unrunnable. Without time to wait for reinforcements to help with the log, we sadly left the waterfalls unrun and headed south and back home to work.

Since we’d left the region without paddling the falls last time, we were excited to finally get a chance to paddle them. However, being a low snowpack year, the water level was unfortunately too low. At the same location, there’s a side channel called Chandler Mills that has a series of slides, and doesn’t need as much water to be runnable. The race this year took place on the Chandler Mills side.
The Smalls to the Walls Race course was extremely short, so everyone got at least 2 race laps. The first lap was the time trials and these were used to set the competition brackets. After that they were knock-out rounds. Since there were only 3 women competitors to 26 overall competitors, the women originally did not have their own bracket and were placed solely based on their time trials.

I did pretty well in the time trials, placing 10th out of 26th. I then won my next bracket, which somehow put me up against my husband Daniel for my next race. To Daniel’s excitement and my displeasure, he beat me and knocked me out of the race. The top 2 women both got knocked out in the same round, so the race coordinators decided to do a women’s final lap with the top 2 women. Somehow, I managed to barely come out on top to take the title!

Overall the race day was super fun! We had gotten to know several of the other local boaters over the past few days from some other paddling we’d been doing in the area so it was fun to see them all again. The camaraderie was awesome and we were all constantly cheering each other on, especially the women. There were a bunch of spectators watching from the cliffs, including my almost 2 year old daughter, Aster, and Grandma (my mother), who was watching her while Daniel and I kayaked. Since we still haven’t gotten to paddle the classic Smalls Falls section, Daniel and I will definitely be up north again! Hope to see even more people make it out to the race next year! ~Diane Brasuell (Gaydos)