Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back to the Bull Run

I am back in Gresham for Spring break, which means I am ten minutes from dodge park. This is not an area for going big, but still a cool place to go boating. It is especially a great place to learn to boat, because you can get on a lot of different runs that are manageable for early on in the learning process.
Looking down towards Swingset.
Growing up, the majority of my kayaking was done on the Sandy River and its tributaries. I remember the first time I went on a hardshell only trip with my dad when i was either in 8th or 9th grade. My dad had acquired an RPM Max and borrowed a Redline for me. We decided to try the Bull Run River at a flow of 56 cfs, that is not a typo, 56 cfs. I don't think either of us had ever even hit a rock with a hardshell before, given that my experience in a hardshell was the last 2 miles of the lower salmon in Idaho, and I don't think his was too much more extensive. However, he was still a class five rafter/IK'er and we scraped our way down the run, and amazingly enough, we had developed enough low water skills with IK's that neither of us had to get out of our boats, and we only had to pull ourselves downstream with our hands once. Swingset was an interesting, reasonably technical drop at those flows (probably my favorite level for that rapid). Everything went really well and neither of us had any problems. From then on I was hooked on kayaking.

My dad gearing up on our most recent trip.I went on to have many more runs on the Bull Run, these runs included my first flip (resulting in my first swim), then my first combat roll, and a high water run with close to 5,000 cfs. We also did a couple exploratory descents on a tributary of the Bull Run, including one I did my senior project on. Making the Bull Run one I remember fondly. On our trip yesterday, we took it slow, paddling the slalom gates and checking out the numerous caves and waterfalls sliding into the gorge. The level of 700 cfs was a tame flow, but we weren't there for the rapids, so it was perfect for a fun class III day.
My dad and a slalom boater talking about caves and what not.
My dad checking out the best of the many tributaries falling over the walls of the Bull Run
My dad running the first part of Swingset.
Swingset is a different rapid every time you see it because it changes so much with different water levels. At 700 cfs, the first part was squirly with a couple waves/holes, then fast water leading into this bottom hole, which flushed nicely but could definitely flip a boater. At levels over 1500, two large back to back breakers form.
I missed my dad crashing the hole, but this is him below it.
Myself in the Wall of water.
Looking downstream, class two from here to the takeout.
-Jacob