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,

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