Sunday, May 21, 2006


Finally spring has reached the Yough! Despite a somewhat dreary morning we had two beautiful runs with some leaves on the trees! We had a small group, just Mark, Rex and I. It was starting off nice and peaceful. We took more video and pics at Swallow Falls, Swallowtail and Suck Hole:

Mark running Swallow Falls:
Center line (filmed from bottom)
Right line (filmed from bottom)
Right line (filmed from top)

Mark running Swallowtail Falls

Mark running Suck Hole:
Entering the Room
Exiting the Room

Maggie running Swallow

Maggie running Suck Hole

Mark hiking up for another run

Rex running Swallow

On our second run Mark decided to provide some excitement. Below is his account:

A few small rapids after Swallow Tail (right where Muddy Creek dumps in) we came up to one of my favorite little moves. Most of the river narrows down to a little slide that's maybe slightly more than a boat width wide (at this level anyway). There's a sneak to the left but the slide is the best part. You have to enter with right angle and speed so you can boof off the right side of the slide or you end up dropping in the trashy little hole at the bottom sideways. The hole also had the nice feature of having rocks on either side guarding against any side escape. Right at the entrance of the slide is another hole that you have to either punch or cut in behind it just at the top of the slide making it a pretty narrow little move which was my preference.

Maggie went first, I was very close behind but realized she was trying to get her camera out to take pictures of us coming down so I quickly found a small eddy right above the top hole that I could sit in and wait. It put me in a bad position to line up from but I thought it would be cool to have the shot. After she was ready I pealed out of the eddy on the river left side which forced me to have to take a complete U-turn to point back to the river right side so I could make the boof (I couldn't peal out on the right side as that would have put me into the top hole directly). By the time all this was done I was losing good angle and had to power forward to keep from missing the line entirely. I also had to set a little bit of a ferry angle to enter where I needed to enter so I was actually pointing a little bit up stream as I entered into the slot.

All this, of course, caused me to have bad angle, and bad speed for making the move. I realized I was going to hit the rock on the right side if I didn't slow down so I took a back stroke which didn't do anything to help my angle so I ended up just bouncing off the boof and dropping into the hole entirely sideways on my left (off) side. In the hole I found that it was too steep at the bottom to get into a side surf and too boily and aerated to really brace on well enough to even get my head above water. The pool below the slide was pretty deep so I
couldn't even find any green water to grab right away. I felt around a little all the while worrying that at any moment Rex was going to slam into me and maybe also end up with me in the hole. I finally found some green outflow on the far side of the hole to grab and stuck my paddle in as hard and deep as I could. For a moment I started to move some but the the outflow broke up into boils and I had nothing to hold on to and was quickly pulled back in still on my offside. I had not yet even gotten my head up enough to get air, was still not seeing
any way out and still waiting on Rex to slam into my side or land on top of me.

What I didn't know was Maggie had signalled to Rex to stop and he had figured out the rest for himself. So probably a little too soon...I swam. I probably could have struggled enough to get my head up for a moment and grab a breath but I was starting to feel a little weakened from the fight and worried that I would need the rest of my energy to swim to shore. As I popped out of my boat I pushed off it with my feet to get away from the hole but still instantly felt myself sucked down toward the bottom and I opened my eyes to just see brown water all around me. I could feel a little upstream movement so I swam hard and emerged about 10 feet down stream from the hole. Maggie started coming toward me but I told her to just get the boat as I still had my paddle and could easily get myself to shore. My boat was still in the hole when I crawled up onto a nearby rock but was finally let go a moment later. Maggie pushed my boat up to me while I sat on the rock and sulked. It was quite humbling and a good learning lesson for the things I need to work on. My offside roll isn't perfect. I still don't brace or control myself nearly as well with it as I do my onside. I also need to stick myself into some trashy holes in my creek boat so I can get used to how it handles (i.e hole bait). It could have been worse as the swim was short and only my pride was hurt. It had been almost two years since I had swam from a similar situation and it had been almost 9 months before that (and that time had been when I dislocated my shoulder). So it's obvious what I need to work on to just find some holes to stick myself in and fight with....I'm thinking the hole at National would be a good one. -Mark

Mark going into the hole

Rex had actually watched Mark come down and me taking pictures. He saw me take a picture of him, then follow him with the camera and take another picture in the direction of the hole, then sit there and watch. After a few seconds I realized things weren't looking too good so i shoved the camera back in my pocket and held up my paddle for Rex to stop and started heading toward the edge of the eddy to be ready to help. Even before i held up my paddle to tell him to wait Rex already knew what was going on. In the the short time it took to drop the camera and give the stop signal Mark was out of his boat and already swiming for the rock he ended up climbing out on. I quickly gave Rex the go signal so he'd come down quick and help (which turned out to be unnecessary anyway). Overall this incident barely even slowed us down as everything happend within a few feet of the hole. We continued on and still had a decent run overall.

My first run was clean so on the second i decided to go ahead and attempt the room move at Suck Hole. I caught the river right eddy across from it and watched as Mark went in. I followed, made the ferry above the hole just fine but could not punch through the eddy line. I kept getting pushed back into the main flow and eventually decided to give up and tried to peal back out into the main flow. In the process i got spun around and flipped and ended up running the rest upside down. Ooops! I think i'll try that again at a lower level! Overall its a cool move though.

Next i managed to slightly pin myself. It was at "Rick's Rapid" (hee hee). We ran it from left to right and as i came above the last drop i hit a little f-u rock that bounced me over to the left and then pinned there. I was completely upright but it was a little scarry because in order to get myself off i had to spin myslef off the rock and ended up almost running the left side backwards. I had no idea what was over there so i paddled hard, caught a little micro eddy and paddled back over to the right. Of course this meant i came at the hole with no speed and ended up in it (it was munchier this time since the level was a little higher thank we'd run it before).

I side surfed there for a minute and tried to work my way out but the hole was guarded by a rock wall on one side and more rocks on the other. I was getting pushed up agains the left wall and i imagined what Rick must have felt like there but at least i was still perpendicular to it. Really the situation was quite similar to Mark's just a little whiel before. But i was quite determined to get out of there in my boat and i was pretty sure that he and Rex both knew what was going on. So i held my paddle out (which Rex took as a stop sign so that was cool since i didnt want him coming down landing on me anyway) and then flipped. I reached out with my paddle into the green water and it pulled me out. Not a big deal overall but pretty annoying nonetheless! Mark had boofed into the eddy on the right beside me and was in front of me when i rolled up. We both gave Rex the go signal and continued on.

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