Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wiki Creeks: PART 2

The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our 
encounters with new experiences...

       — Jon Krakauer

          Which leads me to the whole point of this post.  Someone who has read my blog for awhile may have noticed the change in the way I have described the exploratory runs that I do.  It started out with "first descent", then changed to "first known descent", then "first documented descent", and my most recent was just titled "Warnicke".  I used to buy into the fact that there was some sort of race to get these first descents and that was why I was doing them.  This being first business turned out just to be another goal to reach, a reason to do what I did.   But the longer I boat, the more I realize I don't really care about whether I get to label my run of a stream a first descent.  What I do care about, is that it was an adventure to me, and I was able to rise to the occasion.  This turned into my revelation.

Exactly where I wanted to be at that moment.
photo: Jeff Hartley

What this got me thinking about, and what lead to my revelation is why then, am I giving out all this information about these creeks?  I am, in effect, ruining the adventure for those in the future who may desire to do the same sort of thing.  I am taking away many aspects of the puzzle.  I used to feel it was important to document these sort of runs for the cumulative knowledge of the kayaking community, but we all know there is a minuscule amount of kayakers who have the drive to make it to these runs and see these new places when there is so much quality kayaking to be had with minimal effort required.  These people have their sport, they don't need the unknown and the new, they don't need to know where some mediocre run buried in Oregon's coast range is located.  The people this is for are the people who do want to know there is more out there.  They want the fuel to feed the what ifs in the back of their mind.  They want their adventure.

Since I still love writing and sharing about what it is I do.  And I am sure that others are out there, or will be out there, who will want adventure some day.  As a moral compromise with myself, I am going to continue writing about the adventures I go on.  The change will be that I will not be giving out the names or information on how to access the streams.  I have yet to decide the format about how I will detail the character as well, though I don't think much will change about that.  I still feel a need to label these runs with something.  Not first descent, not first documented descent, not something thats a mouthful, but something that I can enjoy and will convey that this was an adventure and not just another day of being in my kayak (which is awesome too).
photo: Matt King

What I will be doing, is leaking out pieces of information in the trip reports, so that people know that these streams exist.  If people do the work, they may connect the dots and find the stream.  They could solve that part of the puzzle, and still have more to figure out.  These will be my Wiki Creeks.

If I do happen to stumble upon a section of whitewater I think the community will benefit from, I will not hesitate to share all information.  If someone is truly interested in a run and wants info on it, I will point them in the right direction.  I am not trying to hoard the runs for myself.  I only plan on keeping the last few adventures in the area just that, adventures.


Some more good people, in the spirit of adventure.


Columbia River Gorge Productions said...

Nice Jacob.
Well said, it is good to leave out some details and keep the adventures just that, an adventure. Like you said all paddlers are different; some will only go to a run if they KNOW it will be a quality run. I have dealt with this many times in the past and you only find a couple people who are willing go on an adventure with little to no knowledge about the whitewater and where you are going. If you can't make it sound like the next classic run then most will just go for another quick and easy run down the closest creek/river with easy access and no portages.. Keep exploring! I enjoy knowing that there are endless adventures out there (especially in PNW)and all you have to do is get a map and drop in.

Jacob said...

Thanks Ryan! Well said. There really are a lot more out there than people seem to think.

Pete said...

Interesting posts Jacob. I've got my own thoughts on this as you can probably guess. It will be interesting to see how it turns out over time. Look forward to seeing and talking about some adventures over the summer.