You will notice the rest of these pictures have been altered. This is because Sam would like it if you did not copy paste them or have them used anywhere besides this blog for the time being. Not that anyone would steal these pictures from here, but one of these might end up somewhere a little more high profile than this blog. Please help keep the integrity of the pictures by not removing them from this blog.
After a year of collecting information; water levels, access, legality, ect everything lined up and MLK day 2010 looked like the day to fire up the diabetic duo's "top of the list" run. Unfortunately Ben was stuck in Bend, but Dan was insistent on getting this done. After not being able to land an R2 partner, he set to work trying to get me into the raft with him. I agreed that this had to happen and felt comfortable enough to give it a go. He recruited Sam Drevo to help out and Shane was in as shuttle driver/ground support so we were on our way.
The first goal was to get there at a reasonable hour, so we woke before six, met sam in Troutdale at 7:30 and were in the gorge as the sun was coming up. We went through BZ and made our way East towards our goal. We scouted Outlet on the way over (which was running), then with one short detour, made our way to the takeout. We got to the put-in road and it was blocked. I don't know if this was new, but it made for a quarter mile hike or so. Not too bad with the dolly and three people pushing. We headed into the woods as soon as we felt we were close enough to the creek to justify it. We took about 45 minutes blowing up the raft and outfitting it. I have a new appreciation for why rafts seem so slow, its because they are. We took forever. Now it was time to go, Summit baby!
Sam took the lead and we followed. He would eddy out and signal the wood situation to us and would make sure we got into the "eddies" we needed to catch. We had a couple portages and a lot of dealing but we got through. Eventually we reached some class four slides and we were quickly at the lead in to the Quarterpipe. We went for a long scout hoping to find Shane, no dice. After an hour or more of scrambling around, scouting, sitting, and looking for Shane, we decided to run the lead in. At this point I had opted out because of the close proximity of "The Well" to the Quarterpipe drop. They are back to back and there is one eddy to catch that is about the size of a raft. This meant we had to stick the line. So I didn't think I would be willing to risk it.
We lined the raft to the lip of the lead in slide and made sure we dropped this sweet drop with right angle so we didn't get blown over the big one. This went smooth and soon we were at the lip scouting this monster. We spent some time here and I decided I was in. It looked like we would be fine over the drop and I thought it would go.
Looking itty-bitty at the top
(photo by Sam Drevoemail@example.com)
This photo looks unreal to me.
We took our time practicing our grab while Sam set up media about a hundred feet above the water. We decided it would be wise to come out of the eddy on the right. We started to head over but got stalled out by some shallow rock. We stroked a couple more times, then came to almost a complete stop for a fraction of a second. Dan (weighing 50-75 lbs more than me) was on the shallow side keeping us glued on his side. While I (weighing 50-75 lbs less than Dan) entered the deeper water. This lead my side to start its decent, while Dan's side did not. We each gave one more feeble attempt at a correction stroke and held on for the inevitable disaster. As we went over the lip, I took a look at Dan, then turned my attention to the rock slab waiting 40-50 feet below me. I stared at it the whole way down, tightening my grip as we neared impact.
Staring down at the transition and our fate. Dan on
the right, myself on the left side of the raft.
(photo by Sam Drevo of ENRG kayaking and www.northwestpaddling.com )
Miraculously the transition was buttery smooth, saving us from a trip to the hospital. We
relaunched at the kicker and at this point I new we would survive :) I felt the second impact as
we hit water and turned to see Dan spread Eagle flying towards me. I ditched my paddle as not
to impale him and waited for his body to dismember me. It was not as bad as I anticipated,
and I held on to the raft as my side(weighted and downstream) created a ton of friction at that speed with the water and sunk while Dan's side (airborn, so not weighted) went skyward and
flipped over me downstream. I pushed myself from under the raft and B-lined it to the left shore. Gave Sam the all good signal and asessed the situation.
-raft stuck before "The Well" somehow.
-we were on the wrong side of the drainage ditch
-my paddle was gone
-Sam's gear was still above the drop
After hearing the transition was smooth, Sam decided he would fire it off in the kayak. He thought he might overrotate in the center, so decided to hit a flake on the left to get his nose up. He achieved this goal, but this meant he missed the transition. He bounced off a rock, then bounced off the bottom shelf. To protect his back he flipped himself going off the final transition to lighten the impact. This worked and he rolled up with a bit of damage to his gear, and a sore back, but no worries, sometimes thats how it goes.
Next up was "The Well", a drop normally portaged because it is almost too narrow for a kayak. Despite all my animated discussion of how a baseball bat would have trouble making it through there, let along a raft... Dan decided he would fire it up. I was not about to intentionally eat guaranteed sh*t, so I decided I would hop onto the upside down raft as it came by below the slot in the fast water above the next slide.
Dan drops "The Well"
(photo by Sam Drevo of www.northwestpaddling.com)In a fit of luck and skill, Dan came through that slot like an osmosis experiment without slowing down and didn't even come close to flipping... How does he do it? I was happy to be jumping into an upright raft and did so as we slid down the next drop whooping it up.
Myself jumping in.
(photo by Sam Drevo of www.northwestpaddling.com)As we eddied out we got an unexpected suprise... Shane! He was on a small perch to the right and had been there for 3 hours! Also, my paddle was stuck on the left side of the river, awesome. I retrieved that as Sam came and cleaned this drop along with the next one, which we all fired up without scouting. In the next drop Sam's paddle broke, so it was time for him to hike out, luckily Shane was right there so he was able to show him the path of least resistance after making the decent 3 1/2 hours earlier. We stuck his boat on the back of our raft and started the battle with the trees down to the take-out. After some miscalculations and correct calculations, we arrived at an out of place peice of blue tape on the right. I saw an old road coming down to the river, so I ventured a guess this was our take out. A quick scramble up the road confirmed this and we had a sigh of relief that our adventure was coming to a close. We drug the raft up the road and headed hiked downstream to locate Sam and Shane at the truck. Someone had been kind enough to place some refreshments under a sign. For this we were greatful after such a long day! If it was someone reading this, thank you, it was much appreciated. We shared stories and began the long drive back to Portland. I was very pleased with how the run turned out and would like to thank Sam for making it so smooth and Shane for being so willing to help out even though he has a messed up shoulder and can't boat at the time being. And Dan, thanks for letting me hop in the raft with you, though I will be sticking to a kayak for the most part from here on out :)
Dan would like me to point out that in the video, it looks like he is taking a drag stroke right at the lip that turns us sideways. When in fact he was pushing off the rock, trying to turn us the right way.