Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quartzville Creek/Canal Creek

Both pictures by Pete Giordano
        Two weekends ago I got to run Quartzville creek with Matt King, Pete Giordano, Paul ?, Jason Rackley, and James Bagley.  I had high hopes from reading Jason's description of it and I was not let down.  The run is every bit as fun as could be hoped.  It is class IV-IV+ with a minimal amount of time spent not running a fun drop.  We did two laps, with the second definitely being the funnest, as we didn't scout, just flew down the run.  My favorite drops were Grocker and wooden wall, they were both low stress boofs, with short, but requiring focused lead-ins,
          The run starts with TD, a boulder garden with a pin spot that is easy to miss if you know where it is, followed by an 8 foot slide that Matt went for the gut on both times.  It looked fun, but for some reason noone else was up for it, the rest of us boofed left.  Right around the corner is Grocker, it has a narrow lead in to a small hole that is the crux, deciding where you line up for the final ledge.  If you are in the right spot, you take a couple strokes, then launch off the rock center right, if not the consequences are minor.  Some fun, easier drops lead to Wooden wall.  I wasn't really looking forward to this drop because it looked like an uninteresting drop with high consequences.  It turned out to be much funner, much less consequential, and more interesting overall than I had imagined.  The move came down to one critical stroke, but it still took some effort to get lined up
 correctly.  Once you hit your boof, you bounce up and get pushed right and passed the log.
The log is just out of the shot on the left hand side of the picture 
I was told it used to be much more difficult, I am glad it has changed to what it is now 
        Some mellow water leads to David From Behind, this was next on my list of fun rapids.  Most of us snuck on the left side, where you had to boof right then ferry hard to miss a rock.  Again, low consequence, but interesting.  Pete decided to try out the much more complicated right side, and ran it perfectly.  After some smaller rapids, we arrived at Corkscrew, which was the most anticipated drop for me.  We can be thankful that there are people who are willing to cut logs out of drops in the summer, because this one would be unrunnable without the help of "Spider", who cut a log 43' in diameter out of this drop.  This drop was a super fast mini S-turn with no hole, again, low stress family fun.
Awaiting Jason's whoop at the bottom of corkscrew.  What I remember most was flying into the eddy at the right to a whoop from Jason, who was leading the cheering squad on this day.  I have never boated with someone so excited to be on a river! He mustered up a cheer for every boater on every major drop!  It's nice to a have that kind of enthusiasm on the river. 
   Next is Movie star, this had a big hole that James, Matt and Pete ran down the gut on the second lap, while the rest of us boofed right.  
   Below here are some fun boulder gardens, then a small ledge before the take out, Matt went for the ender and got popped completely out of the water! This is the same ledge on the Oregon Kayaking trip report for the creek.  
      After this we headed to Canal Creek to do the falls to falls run.  It was way too low, but Matt and I did it anyway.  The upper falls had wood, making it what I would deem unrunnable.  We ran from the lower bridge down, taking a fair amount of plastic off my new boat :(  
      I would like to say thanks to Matt for the invite, and the whole crew for showing me down this very fun run.
Both Pictures taken by Pete Giordano of me in my new boat.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lewis River video

Here is the video from our trip down the Lewis river this September.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hunter Creek

Last Saturday I was able to talk Tim Brink and Bruce into yet another rafting first descent I had scouted during the summer.  This time the drops were not nearly as big as our Lewis river extravaganza, but the unknown factor was astonishingly higher.  We planned on running Hunter creek, which is buried deep in the coast range.  While I very much enjoyed the run, it will most likely not be run again.  First off, the gate is only open during hunting season, which isn't the end to the access issues.  It is quite possible that you could get a car stuck in the logging roads given the gates open and close at the whims of logging companies.  I have already been in a case similar to this while scouting in the coast range, and it is a stressful and unpleasant experience to say the least.  After the gate, you are treated to a long drive in, followed by a long hike in, just to check water levels.   Then you can start setting shuttle and deal with how to coordinate the rest of your trip.  This is too bad since it is a decent run.
      We got skunked by low water on the upper and middle sections, but decided to try out the less mysterious lower run.  This trip started in excellent fashion, with a peal out into a 15 ft slide we named Bino-gawker in reference to a truck load of hunters that were present to watch the colorful boats through their binoculars slide down this very fun slide/falls.  After this is a short ledge, that demanded its own respect when it gave the raft an exciting shove in the wrong direction [the upside down direction:)].  Shortly after this was Shotgun, the big drop of the day.  I felt it looked good and had a perfect line.  I eddied out on the right above the drop, and once again chose not to get footage cause I was ready to go and didn't want to wait for the camera to get set up ( it was in the back of my boat), which is becoming a theme.  I ferried out to river left and launched a boof off an 8 foot drop into what appeared to be a boil on top of a foot of water.  I landed with just a little left angle to keep from being blown into the large, sticky V-shaped ledge hole on the right, and took a couple strokes, boofed the bottom six footer, and was in the pool.  A very fun rapid I thought, they should make them like this more often :)  The raft ghost boated it,  they were perfectly capable of running it, they just weren't feeling it on this day. Then we took on a few more small rapids before we arrived at a large horizon line.  It turned out to be a 200 yard long series of slides, with multiple lines for each.  We named this one slip and slide, cause the water was low and we were doing just this all the way down the drops.  After this came the two miles of class two we knew we had in store.  It took a long time and drained most of the excitement from the upper run as we dealt with low water, some log dodging, and the ORT raft.  There were amazingly no portages, but it did take us at least an hour to make it down to the take out bridge.  
       Despite the long run out I was so glad to have done this run because of all the work I had put into it and also to get a first documented descent of Shotgun (of course I have learned not to stake to much on it actually being a first D, but first known/documented I can do).  I am very thankful that Tim and Bruce were willing to come along, and that I got to see another awesome place I would never have seen without my kayak. 
 Here is the video,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lewis (falls section) birthday run

Lewis River
all photos by Aubrey Russell
For my birthday, my family, girlfriend and I camped at the Lower falls campground.  It had been over a year since I was here last.  That time I had shyed away from the lower falls after seeing Rush Sturges get stuck in the cave, and I broke my nose running Upper falls.  This year, my goal was to run Lower falls if I was feeling ready.  On Friday I ran the upper section with my stepdad Dave, and I had run a pretty interesting falls up there.  Sunday rolled around and it was time to run the falls section.  Jean Loosmore and John showed up along with Tim Brink and ORT, with Paul Guinea also along for the run.  Jean realized pretty quickly he had forgotten his PFD so he opted to video the show.  After scouting, we all put on and ran Taitnapum, a 20 footer that produced some interesting lines.
Paul went first and cleaned up.  I went next and was planning on a plug for practice, but hit a pad anyway and I dropped at a 45 until I hit the rock face forming the fall which dropped my bow and I came up facing the falls but upright. I got out and got a cool angle of the raft running it from where I was.  I was close enough that when they hit, they splashed a sheet of water onto me as I protected my camera!  Last was John, some miscommunication caused him to be offline and he got turned sideways and dislocated his thumb!  So after some interesting lines we headed down to Upper falls.  We scouted the first class IV sliding drop and all successfully ran that, then we eddied out and scouted the big part of Upper falls.
     Jean's girlfriend was starting to get sick, Jean couldn't boat, and John had dislocated his thumb, so they decided to call it a day and head back home.  Meanwhile we all got set up to lower ourselves to the shelf between the nasty part of Upper, and the sweet 35 below.  Getting into the eddy in a controlled manner is the most crucial part of this drop as I learned last year when I got blown out before I could set up.  This year Ox helped lower me backwards into the eddy and I got a controlled ferry into the river left side of this drop which is a bounce bounce hit into the pool below.  Last year Nick and I went much farther right and it is a ten foot slide into an autoboof 25. I wasn't up for that this year, the water was lower and the pool was not very airated over there. The left worked out great and Paul followed my line.  Next the raft worked its way into the current and dropped off the completely vertical far right side.  Amazingly they landed upright with a couple collided heads(football helmets were a great idea).  From here we hightailed it down to Middle falls.  Paul went for the gutsy left side slot and came away upright.  This drop was really technical where he went, the video and pictures should give you a good idea.  I went for the low stress far right slide with a paddle twirl after the raft slid down sideways.
 The raft had already taken off by the time I finished talking to my sister, mom, and Aubrey.  Paul and I played catch up for the next half mile.  We finally rounded a corner and got out above the big one.  Paul and I headed down to scout while Tim and Ox started lining their boat down to below the lead in rapid, which was too narrow for the raft.  I have not looked at a drop as long as I did that one and still decided to run it.  I wanted to do this perfect or not at all.  As I was getting closer to feeling ready we looked up to see Tim and Ox loose control of the raft, as we watched helplessly it plummeted over the edge, unmanned.  Well, that sucked.  As Tim and Ox took off to corral the boat downstream, Paul and I again set our sites on lower falls.  After a large chunk of time I decided to go.  I went upstream and got in my boat, I don't remember the upstream scouting or predrop ritual, but as I floated down I saw Paul waving the camera, signaling that he couldn't get it to work.  I didn't really care, I wasn't running this for the media, it was for me and I didn't want to refocus myself again after showing him what I hadn't pointed out earlier about the cameras more detailed functions, so I told him it was fine and continued into the lead in.
         I came through the lead in and slid into the fast water leading into the falls.  I haven't been so focused on a drop as I was then.  I saw where I needed to go, I took a stroke off the top ledge to keep my bow up but I didn't want to plain out because the lip of the 40 footer was just downstream. I was in control right where I wanted to be, I shifted the boat slightly to the right, took a right boof stroke, left correction stroke, remembered I wanted to tuck, took another right stroke as I came into my tuck so as not to throw anything off.  Then I hit, I am guessing I landed at less than 45 because I didn't sub out.  My face hit my arm, which hit my deck, but it was fine because I was tucked just like I wanted.  I took a left stroke and I was sailing through the gorge below the drop and into the huge pool below.  Sweet, it went absolutely perfect.  
     I was feeling just dandy, I was completely satisfied. No one except one random camper saw my descent (Paul was running down from up-top, my family and Aubrey hadn't arrived, and ORT was collecting there boat).  The moment was mine.  I was feeling so good that helping ORT slog there boat up the canyon rim below the drop wasn't even as painful as it should have been.  This did however remind me of the last time I went on a "raft first descent" with Tim on the N. fork Clack and we shlepped the raft up a couple hundred feet through the brush then too after missing the normal portage.  I have now come to expect this from first descents with the ORT crew:).
Paul drops lower falls
    Next up was Paul, I don't know his thought process so I can't give you a blow by blow from him, but it must have been pretty good cause he came away upright as well! 
All in all a great birthday, and I am very glad to have spent it with all the right people, in the right places, doing the things I love doing.  Thanks everybody.
extracted from my pdxkayaker film fest entryfile:///Users/jacobcruser/Desktop/lewis.mov