Saturday, May 20, 2006

Oh Deer!

Another gorgeous day on the Lower Big Sandy. The five of us (Mark, Ben, Rex, Sam and myself) were having a nice run. I got out and took pictures of everyone running Wonder Falls (Video for Mark). It was a fairly typical run and it didn't seem like there would really be anything too exciting to report....



So there we were.... standing around at Big Splat, checking out the drop, each thinking our own thoughts regarding ever running it. As we stood there i glanced up stream. As i turned my head a saw a quick flash of something going through the horseshoe. At first i thought it was a boater coming down. But it didnt' seem right as it came straight through the meat of the hole and it was too small and not nearly brightly colored enough. Then someone yelled "a deer is going to swim Big Splat! ".

Sure enough the poor animal had just completed its swim of the horseshoe. I didn't see if it had gotten recirculated at all or if it just punched through. In any case the hole let it out. We watched in awe as it despearately (and impossibly) tried to claw (hoof?) its way up the river right wall (as we all wondered "how do you throw a rope to a deer?"). Of course in the process it swam directly behind the huge rock on the right of the main drop. We watched in horror as it disappeard. We were all quite sure it would get caught in the seive and that we'd never see it again. A few seconds went by. To our surprise it emerged on the other side of the rock and continued frantically trying to claw its way up on the right. I imagine that its desperate struggle to keep to the shore probably saved it from getting stuffed under the rock.

It managed to get itself into the little micro eddy at the top of the drop. Unfortunately there was no way it could claw its way out of there and eventually made the leap/fell to the bottom. It disappeared into the froth behind the splat rock and reappeared a short way downstream. It conitinued clawing its way along the shore till it managed to swim into an eddy and climbed up the bank, shaking. After a moment it seemed to get its wits together and stood there briefly. It took one look at us on the other side of the river and bolted up the bank and into the woods. It was truly a bizarre sight!

Bambi in the eddy before taking the final plunge

Bambi boofing out of the seive

Bambi eddying out

Note: Yes the picture is real!! I have absolutely zero photoshop skills. If you click on the photo and look at the large version you will see that the deer is indeed very wet and very scarred. You can also see its shadow on the water and the splash coming off its hooves. :)

Once the deer was out of sight we marveled over what we'd just seen and continued on. Got some good rock launches and finished our run. At Second Island Sam showed us the river left line, a fairly technical and fun rapid. I'll definitely be running that side from now on.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

NUCKING FUTZ!!! Thanks 4 da report.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Pete G said...

Geez. Even Bambi goes extreme. What next? Thumper snowboarding on the half-pipe?

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should enter that photo of the deer at Big Splat into some photo contests. It is an amazing capture.


11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should enter the photo of the deer at Big Splat into some photo contests or maybe to some of the paddling magazines. It is an amazing capture.

11:53 AM  

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