The second tricky part about Patterson- predicting the water level- has to do with observed weather data, gauge correlation and straight intuition. Experience helps but it’s not a perfect science. Generally speaking, regional water levels need to be high in order for Patterson to be running. You won’t find it running when nothing else is (thunderstorms aside). The New Haven gauge is useful as a correlation, since their headwater areas touch, but mostly for rain events; in the spring snowmelt season, the west-facing New Haven basin soaks up the warm afternoon sun and rises predictably each evening. Nearby Patterson Brook, with its eastern exposure to weak morning sun, doesn’t come up the same way. It needs very warm spring temperatures, or warmth plus rain, to get the snow melting and the water flowing. The Mad River gauge at Moretown can provide more clues about what is happening locally.
Because it is short and basically roadside, Patterson is a good step-up run for those looking to progress from river-running stuff like the Lower Mad to more technical standards like the New Haven. Pick your day though…your crew should include some seasoned creekers who are cognizant of the water level and current wood situation.