Sunday, October 29, 2006


There was quite a lot of interest in heading west this weekend when it looked like stuff would run Saturday. A bunch of us planned to check gauges in the morning and head out if things looked favorable. We got up early and waited for the gauges to refresh. Sure enough the TY and LBS were both starting to shoot straight up. Most everyone else had already cancelled earlier when they got up too early and nothing was running yet. Mark, Ian and I debated what to do. Ultimately though we decided we weren't to keen on hitting anything that was spiking, not knowing when it would peak. Plus it was going to be cold, rainy and gray all day. Ian chose to head on to meet Scott M. anyway and later reported freezing blizzard condtions.

We were glad to have stayed home. Relaxed most of the day and headed to Juliana and Eric's Haloween party. Mark once again donned the bunny ears and this time improved upon the costume by adding a stearing wheel (well okay a cheap cover from Target) + keys = Shuttle Bunny (getting ready for his duties this winter/spring).

The next morning we headed out to meet Scott at the TY. It had peaked above 900 cfs, so not too insanely high. But it was still around 500 when we got there which was just fine. We'd never run it that high before so it was cool seeing it at a different level.

Swallow Falls looked a good bit different than we're used to. The rock we usually scout from was under water, creating a 10 foot drop on the far left. It made the drop look even cooler, adding more vertical drop on that side. We still ran the normal right line. In a way it was actually easier as the curler at the top was mostly washed out so there was nothing to railroad you toward the left. The tongue was also better defined. Definitely a faster ride at this level!! The whole at the bottom was also starting to look beefier but still wasn't much of an issue. Super fun!

At Swallowtail we ran the far left away from the main drop. Fun, easy little drop. You just come down and drive towards the left. Don't fall off the drop to the right, you'll land on the rock. Also once you're at the lip angle back right as going too far left will push you into an undercut wall.

The rest of the run was fun as always. But i do have to say that i like it better lower. A lot of the fun little eddies get washed out at the higher level. We also avoided a lot of the holes that are sticky at low levels for fear of them being even worse. The hole just above where Muddy Creek drops in was especially angry looking. We all ran to the left of it. Mark boofed off the rock that separates the two channels, eddied out behind it and just about got sucked back upstream into the hole.

Suck Hole was probably a bit easier in a way if you just right straight down. The sieve is totally clogged with wood creating a nice safe eddy above it. On our first i caught the eddy above the sieve high and decided i'd try to catch the eddy across from it. Unfortunately i misjudged the push of the water and didn't quite make it. I got into the bottom of the eddy and could not paddle back up. I was starting to flush out of the eddy backwards so i turned my bow to try to peal back out into the main flow. But there wasn't enough time to get enough strokes in to make it around the rock below me. I looked back and realized i was about to go through a narrow slot on the far left. When we scouted i had noted that there was a fair amount water going into the slot and had thought to myself to make sure to avoid it. From above it had also looked a good but narrower, likely to pin you. This scarred me as a floated backwards into it, i was sure i was going to get stuck.

But as it turned out it was plenty wide enough and i just dropped right on through into what we usually refer to as "The Room". I felt silly but in a way it had been kinda cool. Sitting in the room now there was no was i was going to make it back into the main flow as way too much water was pounding in through the normal entrance. So i just paddled out the back door and missed the main drop of Suck Hole. That slot would actually be pretty fun and good practice but you do miss most of the rest of the rapid. Kind of a sneak in a way. On our second run i skipped that eddy and ran the meat of the last drop. Still a fun rapid but not as much as as at lower levels.

After our first run Scott's arm was bothering him so he helped us set shuttle again and headed off. There were two other groups on the river and we ran into one of them a few times but it was nice to have one run just the two of us.

The weather was absolutely perfect too. All you guys that chose to stay home sunday missed a really awesome day. The high may only have been in the mid 40's but the sun was super bright! The partly cloudly forecast wasn't true and it was fully sunny the whole time. Couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous day. :)

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