Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ohane/Roaring River attempt

This last week I was able to head North to the Mt Rainier area with Ryan Cole, Chris Arnold, and their friend Shawn (didn't catch last name, sorry). We were able to spend two days running the Ohanepecosh river from secret campground down to the Clear Fork confluence. The first day I loved the river, and by the second day, it had become one of my favorite runs. It is super clean for the most part with a plethora of great boofs and boulder drops.
Nothing mandatory was super challenging, but if you wanted to get your gnar on, their is definitely a couple drops that fit the bill, with one definitely being a class above the rest. Even the seal launch at the put in was awesome and a great way to start the day. Also, with no boring sections, I couldn't have asked for much more.
There were a couple portages. There are three, and they all kind of sneak up on you if you aren't scouting. The first is the log slide, you cannot see the log until you are directly above the ledge, and its not an easy place to get out at that point. If you haven't done the run before, be watching out for a slower section at the downstream end of secret campground where you are running a few hundred yards of class two. When you see a headwall downstream and a small horizon, get out on the left. Another is in what I have heard referred to as "Triple Drop" You will see some wood piled up, portage on the left. Below this a ways is a shallow drop with a small slide on the right that piles into a boulder. The next boulder garden has wood clogging the bottom. Make sure to catch an eddy on the left to scout, and probably portage. It looked like far left would have gone though.
The hole above the falls produced one flip, but this flip pushed the boater left and he was able to have the best boof of the day off the left side slot on the falls(noone else was able to make it left). At this level gutting the hole was the only way to make it left, but there was enough water to take the sneak route as well (~1000 cispus@randle). The final drop has changed noticeably. Definitely worth a scout now. We all ran the main line the first day, but the second day Chris and I decided to try the right side because it looked pretty fun. It was, but unfortunately Chris pitoned on a hidden protrusion in the first drop. If anyone tries this side, make sure you stick your nose on the right wall and keep it there as you slide down while keeping you bow up. The left side goes really well too, just don't get stuck in the hole dominating the center of the river.
Last week we tried running lower Roaring River, we never found the put-in even after three attempts. The upper would have still been accessible in the right vehicle, but that is probably no longer the case. The lower is probably even snowed in for awhile at this point. Here is the video.
~1000 Cispus at Randle
just over 2000 cowlitz at Randle

Monday, December 7, 2009

Slick Rock Creek

Photo by Nate Merrill
Nate, Matt and I ran Slick Rock Creek off highway 18 on the way to Lincoln city back when we had water a few weeks ago.  I had found the creek by chance last year and had wanted to go back to check out what was in there.  Strangely enough, you can drive right to the put-in for this creek on an old forgotten looking gravel road.  The take out we used was right under highway 18.  At the put in there are boulders on bedrock, and immediately enters a section with gorge walls.  We put in and were swept downstream quickly through many class four boulder gardens.  We boat scouted all the boulder gardens, so we didn't get many pictures except where Matt hopped out once.
(photo by Matt King)

Somewhere in here was an island with some bedrock.  We took the left and it was a fast slide ending in some mank, but the right side looked better with a slide and ledge, just watch out for some wood in the bottom right of the ledge.  
       At one point I was in the lead and came across a steeper drop with bedrock on the sides of the walls.  I hopped out to look while Matt and Nate caught up and bashed through some devils club to see a nice double drop.   I signalled Matt through, and Nate went next off verbal beta, then I came down.    It was a nice break from the boulder gardens.

Myself in "Twist off"
(photo by Matt King)

Nate coming through the bottom hole in Twist Off.
(photo by Matt King)
Reason for the name from Matt- "cause it's sometimes nice to get a beer that you can crack easily, but them easy crackin' beers don't taste as good as others."  It also was sort of a twisty drop.
 Below here there were two spots we portaged for wood, and eventually the creek tapered off down to class II-III for the last quarter mile.  In this section Matt found a rope swing and tried it out, in the video it is obvious to tell it was created for low water use :)
            Before too long we passed a building with "park ranger" or something like that on the side.  I decided to hike out here because I was jogging the shuttle, the guy in this building is only there in the Spring.  Nate and Matt continued downstream and reported more class II-III and a surf wave on the way to the highway take-out.  
          The people in the area were very friendly and were interested to see kayakers.  I jogged back to the car, evaded our car alarm (Oakland the dog), and headed back to the highway within 5 min. of Nate and Matt arriving.  The video is not very indicative of the drops, as we have no footage of any rapids except the class III+ stuff at the put-in.   At high flows this run would be rockin'.  Really its a mini version of lower Roaring River.  It's about half the length, the shuttle is 5 min. instead of over an hour, no hike, and the wood situation is better.  Maybe a good way to warm up for Roaring River.
             level of the SF Yamhill should be around 2000, a boater could probably paddle all the way down to 1000, but I wouldn't recommend that. Not sure how high you could go safely.  We had about 1500 and there were a few F.U. rocks.  From Pat Welches site. we ran it 11/18  
A couple weeks ago Ben Sigler and Dan McCain fired up the put-in drop on Butte Creek Oregon.  There used to be wood in there but its good now.  The rafters cleaned up on "The Butte Crack", so I guess it goes.  Here is a video from these two trips.
And I forgot to credit it on the video, but the photos in the video are by Matt King

** Since we ran the creek, a gate has been installed along the access road.  This means a short hike is now required to reach the put in.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rafting the Little White

I didn't get to be there today, but Dan McCain and Ben Sigler from ORT ran the Little White today.  They had a great trip, and cleaned almost everything.  They chose not to run Stovepipe or Island, but they went for everything else.  Including a clean run of Spirit! 
 Check out this photo taken by Paul Thompson of
More photos from this trip will be on that site in the next week or so.  As well as video on Ryan Scott's website

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tumalo Creek

Put in drop was fun.  Then we were glad there was usually a trail along the creek as we portaged our way down to Tumalo Falls.

The most runnable action was gained from a short side hike up the Middle Fork of Tumalo Creek.

More detailed report to come some day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Copper Creek

After getting foiled by high water on Eagle Creek, we ran Copper Creek again.  It has become our go to creek.  We had a decent flow with 1500 on the EF Lewis and rising.  This was a great level, felt pretty full for the creek.  Once again we used the upper put-in for the run.  This is definitely the best choice in my mind.  The Upper has a couple solid drops, and a lot of really fun boogey stuff.  Matt was the only one who ran the Weir this day,  it had a tree limb in the center that he avoided, but everyone else decided it wasn't worth the trouble.  He missed the log, punched the hole, and paddled away upright.
Matt on the Weir.
(photo by Nate Merrill)
From here to the lower bridge was just a fast bombing session through lots of class IV sections that were super fun.  No real wood issues in this section.  Once below the bridge, you will run a narrow ledge on the right, then eddy out immediately on the right to portage Certain Death.  If you want to run it I guess you could go a bit lower, but we all knew we weren't going to run it before we got there.  Then find somewhere to seal launce.  There was a log in the water , but Matt fixed it so it isn't much of an issue anymore.  Below here, the really clean class four continues for awhile.  Eventually it tapers off, before too long you come to Triple delight, one of the sweetest drops in the area.  It starts with a two foot ledge that you want to run leftish, because the right side funnels strongly into the slot on the right that is hard to stay upright through.  I took Matt over blind his first time, and I just said make you are left, left, left.  In the second(crux drop) Two of us hit the boof on the left, one hit the boof pretty far right, and one of us got sucked into the slot, resulting in a pretty interesting line down the rest of the drop...  So take the lead in seriously, and stay left at the top!
Here is Eric Foster-moore dropping the final drop in Triple delight.
(photo by Nate Merrill)
Below here were a few more bedrock drops, some fun slides, ledges, and flumes, all with good sized holes at this level.  One sent Eric airborn!  He was able to pull off a catlike move to keep it upright though.  This section was lots of fun and before too long we rolled into the eddy above Final Five.  After taking a look at the headwall drop, I decided I wasn't in the mood and joined Nate, and eventually Eric in the portage.  This left only Matt, who decided to fire off the entire canyon.  To complicate things, the landowner was firing off gun shots.  Not sure whether he knew we were there, we kept a low profile and seal launched in above the final double drop to keep out of his land, but the gunshots were still a little unnerving given the problems that have arisen here in the past.  Matt didn't let the nerves get to him and fired off the entire series, with a roll in the third drop against the undercut wall in the left eddy.  Then finished off the series with an awesome line in the final double drop.  
Matt attacking the headwall.
(photo by Nate Merrill)

Matt in the Canyon above the final double drop.
(Photo: Nate Merrill)

Myself seal launching below the headwall drop.
(photo by Matt King)
After the seal launch, Eric and I decided to take the easy line and ran the final double drop left, left.
Eric driving left at the first ledge of the Final Drop in Final Five Canyon.
(photo by Matt King) 
Myself ducking some branches while getting where I want to go in final drop
  (photo by Matt King)
 I might add that the bottom hole on the right side of the final drop was looking like it could do some serious damage, so consideration of that would be wise.  
    Below here we joined the EF Lewis, which was really fun at this level.  We cruised down to Horshoe falls and scouted to find the funnest line.  We decided to do the triple bounce on the left and it was actually pretty exciting!  We all went deep into the really airated landing.  We were moving fast and didn't have time to set up any intricate safety techniques, so we all just cleaned the drop instead :)
Below here was uneventful, and we finished the run happy with another great run on Copper Creek!

Monday, November 16, 2009

North Fork Lewis

After being snowed out of another run, we decided to do the Waterfall run on the N. fork Lewis (not to be confused with the waterfall run on the East Fork Lewis).  We decided not to deal with trying to portage the nasty drop in upper falls.  We decided to do a throw and go instead!  We all had a good run and jump.  There were no takers for Lower falls, but Matt's girlfriend Caitlin took some really cool photos (and did a great job running shuttle for us the last couple trips, thanks!).
Matt drops Taitnapum falls.
Matt about to hit off the 60-70 ft jump
Josh decided to climb down to take a closer look at the bottom.
That was actually him after he jumped.  He didn't get out very far and landed in the veil of the 35 footer and got stuck in the hole for a bit.  Then worked his way along the wall below the drop.  After seeing this, I decided I needed a bigger jump and cleared out farther, without any problems.
myself nearing impact.
We then boat scouted middle falls and took out just above Lower.  I have become increasingly uncomfortable about drops over 30.  I need to practice my tuck.

Hagen Gorge

all photos by Matt King
Got some cool shots of our Trips to the N fork Lewis and Hagen Gorge from Matt King.
        Ran Hagen with 1600 or so and rising in the EF Lewis.  Usually you want 2000 at least, we definitely felt our low level, but it was good to go.  If I went back at that level I would use the old broken down road right before the clearcut that spurs off to the left and put in right below the logjam.  I am pretty confident this will be the case because it makes sense that there would be a road for when they built the dam.  I was tempted to try it out last time, but we went all the way up and had a portage right at the put-in that Matt punched through(wood) then we bashed our boats down to the log dam.  Let me know if you try out that road.
 I believe this is it.  view in satellite form to see road.
   We didn't get out of our boats between the log dam and Euphoria falls as usual.  I love this creek for this reason.  Just flying down the creek is a great day of boating.  Matt's shots of Nate and I at Euphoria are pretty cool.  He got a good angle that really makes the drop look steep.
Nate at the top of Euphoria. 
Myself halfway down the first tier.
Nate exiting the first tier, heading into the lower drop with the log.
The log was not an issue as usual as long as you were in control.  You could go under it if you had to and if you were so far left you got stuck between ground and log rescue was as easy as it gets.  Luckily none of us had problems and we bombed down to Teakettle.  We did see another group there, that was interesting coming around the corner above Euphoria and seeing the bright colors in the scouting eddy!  We were not expecting anyone else with the low water.
Teakettle looked good so besides some mixed up beta from me to Nate, everything went well.  Even with the misguidance we all stayed upright and headed down to the crack drop.
Myself a half boat width farther right than I wanted.  
Nate keeping it upright.
Below here is a narrow little drop that looks like it has a boof on the right, but it is actually pretty ugly.  I have ended up in the pocket below on the left twice.  This day, one of us didn't make the sneak route on the right and injured his arm in a brace, he was ok by the next day, but watch out for this sneaker between Teakettle and Crack drop.  If there is enough water, far far right, almost drying out has been our line of choice the last couple of times and produced successful runs.
   We all decided to portage the crack drop, as it looked a lot more hectic today.  So I guess I will retract my statement from the last time I ran Hagen that anyone with a roll can run the drop.  At the levels we had, it looked like getting your head slammed into a rock was a very likely outcome. 
Going deep in the crack drop from last year.
 From here to the takeout was fun with some good quality class III-IV drops.  We took out and checked out money drop, but there was a bit too much water for those who were considering it.  All in all a great day after a long day on Upper Opal creek the day before when we decided to portage Harvey Wallbanger.  All I will say about that trip is if you are going to run Upper Opal, watch out for this committing drop.  Its hard to scout and the hole below looks like it has some wood in it.  You might be able to eddy out and portage just above, but we decided not to risk it.  We portaged on the right and it sucked.  Not the worst, but pretty bad.  (all photos by Matt King)

Friday, October 9, 2009


There was talk about Ik's on the Portland kayaker forum recently and instead of ranting there, I figured I would do it here (which is what blogs are for).  Not that I have anything bad to say.
          I started in an IK and I for one am very happy that is how I started.  My dad has always been an IK'er or rafter and didn't have hardshells, so that was my ticket into the whitewater world.  How this benefited me (besides being taught by a very safety conscious father), was I was able  to learn to read the water and figure out what the water was doing on an intimate level, without having to worry about edge control as much.  I think this is very important because it is critical in my opinion to have your water reading skills a couple notches above you staying upright ability.  There are plenty of places where if you stay upright, you could still be in a very bad situation, yet, had you gone where you needed to go, and flipped, you would be rolling at the end of the pool, instead of swirling around a nasty pocket, or pinned.  In some cases it is a necessity to stay upright, in this case if you read water well enough, you know not to run that one because you know what it will do to your boat.
        You still learn edge control though, you feel when current is sucking a tube under, but you have time to recover.  
        On many of the small woody creeks in Oregon, these are the perfect vessels. David Saquety on Gordon Creek Oregon.  Coming around a rocky, fast, blind corner, only to see a logjam across the current, no real eddies; this is the time to paddle to shore, leap to shore, and then if your lucky grab your boat.  In a hardshell this would not work.  I have a couple experiences like this where I was happy to be in the IK and my dad has quit a few more and this is his strongest argument for why he likes IK's.  If the boat floats downstream, it is ok cause its not full of water so it is much easier to recover.
                              My dad with his Ik where Ik's belong.      Also, I know some IK'ers who can boof, including myself, so I know that is possible and I have to say some of the boofs are smoother and it is more controllable I think.  Its harder to land flat, but you can ride a stroke and keep the nose up for a long time without it dropping out from under you.  I talked to one guy who landed flat off the second tier of Shipperds, anyone who has been there knows this is difficult.  I have never done it (not counting the delayed boof), he boofed from the top and cleared the sloping drop to land flat.  
     During the shooting of "Two Kids and a Duck" I think I was upside down more often than Nick, granted I didn't swim that year and he probably had 3 or 4, but he more often than not self recovered and there were times I wish we would have traded boats.
      If you have seen that film you have seen him clean some gnar.  My favorite clip is him stomping Upper Falls on the Lewis like it was noones business.  He planed away from the drop and had a perfect tuck without getting water in his boat... I broke my nose.
                                                                 Nick tucks up at Twin falls.   Which brings me to my next point, they are less painful, your not going to break your back as easily landing flat, you won't bonk your elbows on the sides, you won't crack your face on the rim of the cockpit, if you pin you are not as trapped.
     And I for one can vouch for the fact you can brace IK's, first you highside, then you brace, this combo can work, watch Nick dropping Taitnapum falls at ~1:30 on this video, now that is some secondary stability. (you will notice this is one of those times he was upright and I was upside down).
The number one biggest reason I don't paddle IK's very often is they fill up with water.  Running the Roaring River in the Clack Drainage felt like class five in an IK because you couldn't miss a single stroke because your boat was always full of water and wouldn't respond well.  That said, it was one of my favorite trips of the year and the Ik's made the portages much easier.  Throw and go's are way easier with Ik's too.
          In this video we run the Lower Wind.  As you can see Nick cleaned the Flume better than all the hardshellers.
In this next one you will see some real clean IK lines.  Also, you will see two flips resulting in swims back to back on the second tier of Shipperds around 30 seconds in.  Guess which boater reunited himself with his boat and was ready to drop over the third tier in 10 seconds, and guess which one took 15 minutes to get back in his boat and didn't run the third tier for another 10 minutes?
This next video has some recent clips of my dad doin some IK stuff that I talked about.  First clip is an example of him running a class V-ish drop.  Second is an example of a boof, not the biggest Iv'e seen but still got the nose up.  Third is something I didn't mention which is Ik's are great for shallow drops cause they don't go deep.  I hit bottom off that drop, in the summer it lands on rock, thats how shallow it is so its not very deep and he didn't hit bottom even though he pencilled because the volume brought his nose up so fast, before the tail was in the water even. Third is the Iguana move where there is not much of an eddy but he just hops out.
Now all that said, I still paddle a hardshell :)  No doubt you can run bigger stuff, and I am a fan of the boof stomp.  I will always run the biggest stuff I run in a hardshell.  My point is there is nothing wrong with Ik's, you can go big in them and they are a great way to start. Check out Bryan Vogt's IK blog if you want to see them run some of the biggest stuff in the PNW which is under my links on the right side of this page.  And check out all the stuff from '07 on my blog for Nick tearing some stuff up. Ok, thats all for now.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mesa Falls (raft)

Dan has done it again.  Not a first D (though I imagine no one has R1 the first drop), but still amazing.  The run went very smooth according to him, and the pictures confirm the story.  Check it out.
  Getting set up at the top. All photos by Ümit Yüksel
Dan doing what he does best. R1 descent of the upper tier. With his buddy back in the boat, together they drop the second falls. freefall. stuck it. all photos by Ümit Yüksel Dan's percentage of waterfalls cleaned to waterfalls not cleaned is baffling.  He has a one hundred percent success rate on drops 30 ft or more.  Given the type of stuff he is doing this obviously won't last, but it makes you wonder what is possible in these large rubber boats...
It is difficult to see what is going on in this video.  But if you tilt your head just right you can see them go over the second drop about 20 seconds in.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Gladiator Logistics

This one is tricky to find, and trickier to run, so Iv'e created this page to help stack the odds in your favor.  One of the important factors to getting on Gladiator is being willing to get skunked, you may need to try it a few times before everything lines up right.  Know that even if you do get skunked and leave this Rock un-turned, you will still have another chance to try your luck at the nearby casino.

 The good news is, no shuttle is needed.  4 miles in to the 6 mile hike.
Photo: Priscilla Macy


This is a nice map from ODFW with rules and other information for the area.


As of 2019, walking in is allowed during the rainy season.  When driving up the access road you will cross a bridge over Gladiator Creek, this is where you take out.  To get to the start of the Haul, continue up this Fire road to a gate.  At the end of the day it's an easy 1/4 mile walk up to the gate from the take out bridge so no need to set a vehicle shuttle.  From the gate the hike is 6 miles, 4.5 miles are relatively flat, 1.5 miles is an uphill slog.  If you are running the middle section, you will be paddling 7 miles.  The wheely-walkers are ideal for this hike, also bring food and water.

From the gate at the bottom of the road, it's about 3 miles to the put in bridge for the lower section, there are mile markers painted on the trees to orient during the walk.  To get to the middle bridge, cross this first bridge (the sign is talking about the area next to the road, not the road itself), and it's a steep mile up to a quarry.  A short distance past the quarry veer left (it's not the first turn), this road leads down to the put in bridge in a couple miles.  It is highly recommended you bring your cell phone with a map cached (or a paper map) to help on the hike.


 The visual gauge on Gladiator.

3' is probably too high for a first time trip.
2.5' is a medium flow. IV-IV+(V)
2' is low, and Vesuvius is too low. IV(V) 
1.5' is too low to kayak the creek.

*You can put in at the top of Ludi by hiking down a nose of land from the far end of the quarry if flows are too low for Vesuvius.

Here is how you find the Gladiator gauge:  Find the road that is named after the town.  Along the main highway downstream of the road named after the town is a guard rail as shown in the picture below.  Walk along the guard rail about 75 feet, one of the posts has some yellow paint splashed on it.  Walk to the creek at this point through a couple of trees, the gauge is along the creek bank about 10 yards from the highway.

I use four telemetry gauges to try to guess what the Gladiator gauge will be showing, and it really is a guessing game at best.

Willamina Creek:   I think this one is the most helpful, each time Gladiator has been run, this gauge was between 450-1,000 cfs. 

Sunshine Creek:  This is not in the same drainage, but is at the same longitude and elevation, with headwaters in the center of the Coast Range.
SF Yamhill At Willamina (WRD):    Gladiator has been run with this gauge between 1,000-2,500 cfs, and doesn't seem to correlate beyond that.  Even within that range, Gladiator can be too high or too low.

SF Yamhill at Willamina (NWS):      Gladiator has been run with this gauge between 1,000-2,500 cfs, and doesn't seem to correlate beyond that.  Even within that range, Gladiator can be too high or too low.

Because it is so hard to guess the flow on Gladiator, Iv'e added some data points and photos to help sort it out.

February 18, 2019
This was a low runnable flow, probably right at the bottom of the runnable flow range.  I would not recommend running Vesuvius at this flow, but putting in at the start of the Ludi stretch would be reasonable.


Willamina Creek:                                500 cfs average and stable/slight drop
Sunshine Creek:                                  100 cfs and stable/slight drop
SF Yamhill At Willamina (WRD):     1,700 avg and stable/slight drop
SF Yamhill at Willamina (NWS):       1,400 avg and stable/slight drop


February 16, 2019

This was a good flow, on the lower side of a high-quality medium.

Willamina Creek:                                  A high of 800 cfs after starting at 700 in the morning.
Sunshine Creek:                                    A high of 175 after starting the day at 150.
SF Yamhill At Willamina (WRD):       A high of 2,500 cfs peak in the afternoon, started at 1,600 in the morning.
SF Yamhill at Willamina (NWS):         A high of 2,400 cfs in the afternoon after starting at 1,500 in the morning.


Dec 6, 2014

Willamina Creek:                                 Peaked at 700 cfs
Sunshine Creek:                                   Peaked at 90 cfs
SF Yamhill At Willamina (WRD):      Peaked at 900 cfs
SF Yamhill at Willamina (NWS):        Peaked at 1,300 cfs mid-day

This was before I found the visual gauge, my guess is it was over 2.5', but less than 3'.
Great flow, mushy in places.  I liked this flow for Vesuvius, but I think the rapids are a little more crisp with a bit less water.  Plenty of padding throughout and the in-between cleans up.


March 2, 2019
I was passing through on the way to the coast, so grabbed a data point.  There was water in the creek, but it was too low to kayak.  1.4'

Willamina Creek:                                   240 cfs and falling slowly, almost stable.
Sunshine Creek:                                     40 cfs and falling slowly, almost stable.                          
SF Yamhill At Willamina (WRD):        450 cfs and falling slowly, almost stable.
SF Yamhill at Willamina (NWS):          550 cfs and falling.


March 3/4 2012
Low water, ran the last few rapids of the Ludi section for the first time. Scraped the lip at Punisher.

Willamina Creek:                                   450 cfs and stable
Sunshine Creek:                                     80 cfs and stable
SF Yamhill At Willamina (WRD):        Right around 1,000 cfs and dropping slowly
SF Yamhill at Willamina (NWS):          Right around 1,000 cfs and dropping slowly

Story reminder: Skirt too small


Nov 15, 2008

Willamina Creek:                                 500 dropping to 400
Sunshine Creek:                                   Unavailable
SF Yamhill At Willamina (WRD):      About 1,000 cfs
SF Yamhill at Willamina (NWS):       1,070 dropping to 970

This was low, probably around 2' on the gauge.  We only ran the lower section this day.


January 1, 2003
High water
First descent of the lower section, from OregonKayaking.

Willamina Creek:                                1,000 cfs and dropping
Sunshine Creek:                                  Unavailable
SF Yamhill At Willamina (WRD):      2,500 cfs and dropping
SF Yamhill at Willamina (NWS):       Unknown


Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I was not close with Ryan, but I wanted to tribute him in some way on this blog. The only time I boated with him was to each of us our first time on the Little White. My dad(the only one who had done the river before) had meant to join us below Gettin' Busy, but fell and injured his ribs hiking in. He hiked back out, this left only Ryan and I to figure out the river together. What I remember most was how much more comfortable Ryan was boat scouting Gettin' busy than I was. He looked right at home on the river. He was very confident committing himself to running the next pitch. This meant I would often be watching him as he peared down the next drop.   Then he would signal me down to his eddy and we would discuss the line. I was very grateful to have some of the stress lifted in this way. We both had a very successful run with each of us flipping only at Wishbone I believe.    We portaged the bigger drops, but just getting in there, just the two of us, and figuring out the run together was a great experience. It was very strange hearing he was gone.
I always knew in the back of my head there was a good chance someone I knew, or myself, could very well die kayaking. It was not pleasant having that thought come to fruition. My thoughts have been recently turning to Ryan now and then, wondering about his family, wondering what his final moments were like, questioning if I should be in a sport where success means you are still alive at the end of the run. I know I am not going to give it up, it is too ingrained in who I am, but this will definitely keep me more attentive and safety cautious. So rest in peace Ryan, hopefully we have all learned from your tragedy.                                            Here is a short video I made some time ago from our first time down the river that eventually took his life.