Sunday, September 03, 2006


Just to be clear, Mark will be writing this post:

After the Moshier we headed over to the Eagle section. The Eagle section is a short and pretty steep (400 feet per mile through the main rapids). We carried over to the dam and found that he water was obviously on and there were tons of people there but the gate was closed. We were a bit confused but some other people there just climbed around it (passed the barbed wire), so we did the same. After the first obstacle we carried a little further and saw the put in, which consisted of a small eddy at the bottom of a slide on the the top of another slide on the dam. Probably the coolest put-in I've seen yet, this run was starting to look pretty good! The putin basically consisted of a small eddy at the top of a slide on the dam below another slide. You start off by precariously teatering on a small rock shelf just next to the slide. Then you have to paddle up the very edge of a rather mean looking hole then turn of go over the edge of the dam on a 30 or so foot slide. Ben and Andy both looked at it and said they were going to carry down and put on below but after watching a few people go they decided they felt up to it.

After the put-in we paddled through some small drops to a pool above the first big horizon line. Everyone was getting out on the left to scout so we got over to the side to get out. While waiting in line to get out I looked over the edge a little and could see the bottom of the slide in front of us and at least one eddy. It was so tempting to just run it, but I could see there was another horizon right after the eddy and wasn't sure if it would be a good idea to just bomb down. So I got out and we started scouting the rest of the run. We walked up and down looking at it a bit and watching people run the different drops. All told there were three main drops and one small water fall at the end. Visually it was fairly impressive but everything looked very manageable. Jeff decided to put on first so we got to see him come down. He got to the second slide (the biggest and most difficult) and flipped riding the last part on a face brace. He managed to roll up on the slide before hitting the bottom but it was definitely not a performance I hoped to repeat.

I was happy to put on after a scouting it looked to be a fun little run. James and I put on together again and I went first. The first slide slopes to the left so you brace your way down next to the right wall. Immediately after the slide there's a small eddy on the right that is helpful to catch if you're not planning on bombing down. I slid in that eddy then ferried over to another eddy on the left to line up for the next slide and also wait for the sign that it was good
to go. This slide involves punching a sticky hole then negotiating some complicated currents to line up and then run the slide which is angled to the right. As I peeled out after getting the go signal my main thought was "low brace and keep your arms down!", I repeated it at least twice as I punched the hole and lined up to run the slide. Where the slide starts the river bends hard to the right and the water hits the rock side there and sprays up. This blinded me a bit and
just somehow made me stop thinking clearly...the first thing I did was pick up my arms and hold my paddle above my head. I'm not sure why this is my reaction but it's something I really need to work on!! I slid down to the bottom and hit the hole at the bottom squarely. Most people seemed to be subbing out but a few were skipping up over the hole and doing a bit of a stern squirt. This is what happened to me too, I leaned forward trying to push the bow back down, the boat then started falling off to the side so without thinking about it I threw out a brace with my arms still straight out above my head. Due to the speed I was already going and the eddy current from the pool at the bottom of the slide heading back up stream it caused a lot of force on my paddle....and thanks to my poor position I dislocated my shoulder...again.

I immediately flipped, I knew I was still in the pool at the bottom so I stopped and began working to get my shoulder back in. After a few seconds (about 8 according to the video) I got my shoulder back in and swam out of my boat. When I came up the people in the pool started yelling that my shoulder was out, I looked at the closest and said "no I got it back in" he looked at me rather incredulously and responded with "Already?!?". They helped me get my boat and paddle to shore...the opposite shore from where I could get out. Unfortunately there was a lot of current there and a drop coming up immediately down stream. They began trying to figure a way to get me across the river to the other side. My shoulder was feeling surprisingly well at this point and seeing that getting towed across the river would have a decent chance of me swimming some very nasty looking rapids down stream I decided that I could get back in paddle myself over to a tiny eddy next to the other shore. When I told everyone there my plan they seemed a little unsure of how to handle it but let me go anyway. They got the traffic stopped and I went for it. It was a pushy little ferry right down stream from the slide and doing it with my shoulder feeling the way it did wasn't the best experience but I made it. Jeff and a few others on the opposite shore held my boat while I got out and crawled up onto the bank. I was very disappointed to have that happen again as I was wanting to do really well on the run. I had been feeling very comfortable on the run.

I later found out that a professional kayaker had done almost the exact same thing though it didn't make it much better for me. I was having a good time on the run until this happened. It was frustrating not be be able to finish it. Hopefully I'll get to return next year.


PS. Thanks to Margaret for contributing a bunch of these photos and Scott's video!


Mark on Eagle Slide

James on Eagle Slide

Scott on Eagle Slide

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