Sunday, March 25, 2007


Finally spring had arrived! Warm temps and wet weather were making this weekend look pretty promising for some good creeking. Scott and i decided to join a group heading to Fikes Run. I'd been interested in doing that for some time and though it wasn't going to be as challenging as the Canaan Valley creeks it sounded like a good time. When we arrived at the takeout we were surprised at the number of cars and people. It looked like Friendsville on release day!! We all broke up into smaller groups.

After being told that it was running rather high and that eddies would be scarce we decided that a group of four was big enough. Willy and Ed joined us and after confirming the location of the known hazards on the run we were off. Willy had done the run a few years back and once he got on he was able to remember the important stuff. He easily recognized the 'unrunnable' drop, Hubbard's Cupboard, and we all ran the sneak on the far left. It actually had a fair amount of water and did not require much scraping.

At The Room of Doom we got out and scouted then ran it with varying degree of success. With the flow that day there was not much of a hole but rather a big pillow.

Overall I was impressed with the quality of the run. No wood to speak of, quality class III-IV rapids, very continuous but still a fair amount of eddies, no flat water to speak of at that flow. I would call the flow we had medium not high. Would have liked to have seen some more water on a few of the drops, especially the slides. Great run,would highly recommend it. The scenery was also fantastic. Gorgeous evergreen forest and clear water really made the run even more enjoyable. Unfortunately it was a rather foggy day and although it made for a great paddling experience photos did not come out great.

We ended up doing 2 laps with a diversion over to Ohiopyle to check out Meadow Run in between (some drunk local had crashed his truck on the put in road at Fikes so we decided to give the ambulances time to clear out before heading back there).

We arrived at Meadow to find it raging. Scouting the slide we decided it would be too high to do the run. Ed grabbed his boat though and ran the big slide. He made it look really easy but the hole in the crux was just plain nasty.

Finished off the weekend with four laps on the Top Yough at about 800 cfs. Two laps with Scott, Colin and Pete. Then Pete and i finished off 2 more laps on our own. Pete had been running the right line at Swallow Falls and convinced me to follow him down. That middle line is rather boney even at that level so i was willing to give something else a try. As you come down the tongue you realize just how huge the pillow coming off the right bank is. On the first run had no problems, bounced off the pillow, hit the hole straight on and bounced over it. But on the 2nd run the pillow spun me around and i hit the hole completely sideways! That thing is huge! After getting side surfed for a few seconds i flipped and hoped it would let me go. It did but not before trying to rip my paddle out of my hands. It only got one and i was able to grab it back and roll up. Nothing like a little excitement to finish off the day!

Ed running Meadow Run Slide

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Monday, March 19, 2007


Warming temps during the week, a bit of rain and a good bit of snowmelt had once again sent gauges high. Looked like some good creeks would be running. Thursday morning i arrive at work to find an email from Scott. "Maggie, call me when you get this". The time stamp reads 5:30am... Uh oh, i wondered, what is he up to. So i call and as i expected he was on his way to West Virginia, in hopes of catching Upper Seneca Creek, a rare catch. After hearing his plan (to either find people to run it with or else try to solo it) i made it quite clear that i did not approve of the idea (Soloing a 13 mile class V run that you'd never been on just did not seem like a wise idea). Nonetheless he went off on his little adventure and later reported having hiked up from the takeout and only run a bit of class III at the end.

So Thursday night, after already having heard Scott's story, i get a call from Matt. He hade Friday off and he and Jay wanted to try for Seneca. He warned that there would be a very good chance of rejection. Apparently Jay had tried 9 times and only actually got to paddle it twice. Matt had lucked out and gotten one run for one attempt. I called Scott back to check if he'd gotten to the put in at all. He had not gone the whole way but it sounded like it would be possible at least.

I got out to Western MD at about 11pm and we planned on getting up early. All night i could hear the freezing rain and rather dreaded the thought of getting up at the crack of dawn and driving the still 2 more hours to Seneca. Jay calls at about 7, it is on. So we pack up and head to the takeout. It had been sleeting a fair bit all morning and the trees along the way were covered in ice. We beat Jay there by a few minutes and looked around. Standing there in the middle of an ice storm neither of us were really feeling it. 13 miles in this weather? really? Conditions were going to be brutal. It was not going to get above freezing that day. It really didn't look like it was running anyway, but Matt didn't really remember (had been there 3 yrs ago) and what did i know...

Anyway Jay shows up and confirms that it is indeed not running. Shut out again. But probably a good thing as it is nasty out. 20ish degrees, freezing rain. According to Jay it pretty much needs to look like Dry Fork sized play waves at the takeout for Upper Seneca to have enough water. Entirely possible that it was running Thursday, bummer it was a day early or we would have gotten on it. We pretty much figured that that nights freeze is what did it. The headwaters of Seneca are at pretty high elevation (highest in WV) and with the cold it basically shut off.

Well it was pretty early. about 10am so we had plenty of time to seek out other alternatives. So we started looking at the map to see what the closest options were. Jay wanted to check out a creek called Flatrock, so we headed over there. After some looking around it did not appear to be running. Again, no dice. Okay so the next obvious choice was to head back to Canaan and see what was running there. We drove down the Dry Fork stopping at each creek. Red Creek might have been runnable but we'd already gotten beta that there was no way to get to the put in with the current snowpack. So that was out. Red Run looked low (not like i would have wanted to run it anyway). So we checked out Otter. It was funny to be back there, in daylight this time. lol. Upon initial inspection it appeared to be running. So we debated whether to try to run the whole thing (another long run, 14 miles or so), or just hike up and run the last few miles of Lower Otter. But as we headed a bit up the trail for a better look it turned out that there really wasn't as much water as it had first appeared. Plus i remembered walking DOWN that trail, there was now way i was going to hike UP it. That and after Jay and i both slipped and fell on our asses on the slick, wet rocks, the Otter Creek idea was quickly abandoned. The Dry Fork actually looked pretty good, lots of play. But we did not have playboats, and way too cold for it anyway.

Canaan options were quickly dropping out, but there was one more thing to check. The North Fork. With the Blackwater itself at round 1400 cfs, it was sure to be running. Question was, how high? So we headed up to Davis to find out. To be honest after all that driving around i really wasn't too pumped up to bite into the NF for the first time. Did not matter as it appeared to be rather on the high side for a first time run (1.8- 2 feet from the looks of it, we did not drive all the way down to the gauge. Matt did not want me to get on it above 1.6 or 1.7 for the first time, fine by me). I assured him that if they wanted to run it they were free to do so and that i would gladly wait. It is a short run after all. But he wouldn't really even entertain the idea so we continued on to find something all of us could do.

So the next option was to head a back towards Oakland and try Crabtree Creek (which btw is about 10 minutes from his house!!). So after about 8 hours of driving around to just about every creek in northern wv we were back in Maryland!!. At the takeout though it seemed that the level was a bit low and Jay and i were both somewhat skeptical. So the obvious choice... head BACK to west virginia!!!. The one sure thing that was running and at a good level at that! The Lower Big Sandy.

The LBS was at 7 feet. We set shuttle, and put on around 4:30. So yes, that is right we literally spent 9 hours (not to mention the 2 i'd already driven from home) to end up on the LBS (45 minutes away). But that is how things often turn out when trying to catch creeks like Seneca. It was still snowing a bit but the temp turned out not to be too bad. Yup that's three weeks in a row that i've gotten on the LBS, no complaints here though. :) The gauge read 7.1, highest i'd ever run it. I've always loved the LBS but not sure that i even want to run it below 6.5 again (well maybe so that i can run Big Splat at some point). Way more fun at higher water. at 7 feet the main line at Wonder is pretty ugly. Matt and i ran left while Jay went right. Big Splat looks thoroughly heinous and all the holes just keep getting bigger. I definitely plopped into a few that felt a little like hitting a wall! Really truly a tremendous run at that flow! I love Zume Floom, like a magic carpet ride!!

Since none of the smaller creeks seemed to be going (and no one else seemed to want to paddle, including Jay) we did a high water run on the Top Yough Saturday (about 1200 cfs, man there are some big holes!! Suck Hole looks more like Pillow Rock! Swallow Falls is just gigantic, and you'd better be going far left at Swallowtail or you WILL drown). Sunday Jay was off to the LBS again (and as much as i love the LBS too much of a good thing... well you know) so we debated between the NF, TY and UY. After checking the gauges at Friendsville and then Sang Run we decided the UY would be the best choice.It was running about 2.5, again higher than i'd gotten on it before (Little Niagara gets a little angry at that level, lol) . The weather was gorgeous as well. Very cold, about 25 degrees probably, but sunny. The trees were covered in snow, almost giving it an alpine feel. So at least i got to see some familiar runs with higher flow. All in all another fantastic boating weekend. :)

Swallow Falls 1100 cfs

We also did a quick trip to Ohiopyle and took a look at Meadow Run. See some more photos from the weekend here.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Another day on the Sandy

After two great runs on the Upper Yough and the Upper Blackwter, we finished off this weekend with another great run on the Lower Big Sandy (that is three this year for me already!). Perfect weather, a great level, and good friends. We had a nice group of 6 (me, Matt, Scott, Billy, Brett and Ben).

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Upper B

After a month and a half of freeze conditions things finally thawed out enough, and the level was low enough to go for a second run on the Upper B. A fair bit of snow still covered the banks, making for a gorgeous wintery scene. This run did not start off too great. I missed just about every move in 100 Yard Dash and got a good working in the Rodeo Hole. But managed to get myself out without too much difficulty. Thankfully that shook the tension out of me and the rest of the run went without any major incident. The flow was a fair bit higher than the first time, about 270 cfs.

Shock to the System

Putting in below Sticky Fingers

North Fork trail

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Sunday, March 04, 2007


After our trip on Drake Run, Scott and Bobby decided they did not want to deal with the cold on Sunday and opted to go skiing instead. It did not seem like anyone was all that interested in boating. I was conently curled up on the couch enjoying the warmth of the fire. Though I wanted to paddle it was damn cold outside (the thermometer was showing 22 degrees). I was thinking I'd be perfectly happy just staying in. But just as I am getting nice and cozy Jay calls. He'd been planning on running the Lower Big Sandy. I could still go if I wanted.

But the plan had changed a bit. Concerned about the conidtion of the takeout road, he had decided to skip the normal shuttle altogether. The plan was to put on on Laurel Run (an easy class I-II stream), paddle it into the Upper Big Sandy and then down through the LBS, continuing onto the Cheat and paddling 3 miles of Cheat Lake.... hmmm... So... stay nice and warm and comfy... or go paddle 16 miles in 20+ degree weather.....

The smart choice was pretty clear... but I decided to go paddle anyway!!

I met Jay, Brad, and Sam at the Laurel Run put in (up the road from Cooper's Rock). We put on and paddled a few miles of easy class I-II as it started to snow. It was a pretty stream with nice scenery. At the confluence with the Sandy there was one decent class III drop (see photo above). From here we continued on through and paddled the last mile or two of the Upper Big Sandy and reached the normal LBS put in. The gauge read 6.8. Higher than I'd ever run it before.

Jay at last drop of Laurel Run

The bigger water feel of the Sandy was quite the contrast from the previous day. The higher volume of cold water hitting you constantly was fairly shocking at first. But we kept up a fast pace and I was plenty warm. It was nice to see the river at higher flow, definitely a lot more fun this way. We ran most of the standard lines with a few exceptions. At Wonder Falls Jay showed me the right line. A straight forward boof off a narrow launch pad. But the line put you landing right between a big hole and a rock. I could easily have run the main line (which at this level definitely required a boof to clear the hole) but it was cool to do something new. The left side of second island proved to be a lot less manky with more water as well.

Jay at Wonder Falls

Overall I definitely liked the LBS at higher flow and look forward to running it with more water.

Sam at the Horseshoe

Jay and Sam at Big Splat

Sam running Big Splat

We continued on down past Jenkinsuburg onto the Cheat. It was running at around 5 feet but there really aren't many rapids below the normal takeout. A few big wave trains but mostly a lot of flatwater. The canyon opens up here some and is not very protected from wind. So on top of the 25 degree weather we also had a good wind going. This chilled me pretty quick and I began to dread the 6 miles we had to paddle to the takeout.

Along the way the guys found a boat someone had lost on the Sandy. It's bow was pretty well mangled but otherwise it was in okay shape. So they took some time to haul it up on the river left shore near the trail. After this we paddled on down into the lake and completed the three mile flatwater paddle. At least paddling hard warmed me up to where I could feel my fingers again!

By the time we got to the takeout my pfd was frozen solid, there was a layer of ice on my helmet and 2 inch long icicles hanging from the brim. Even my drysuit was frozen. I could hear it creeking with each stroke. Ice was forming on my paddle shaft between where my hands were. It took a few minutes of standign indoors before i could thaw everything out enough to undo the zippers. I wanted to get another photo but my camera was inside the frozen shut pocket of me pfd!! lol.

Here are the rest of the photos from this trip.

Me frozen

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

"There must be more to creek boating than being ridiculously, unbelievably good-looking"


With warming temps, a fair bit if rain, and lots of snow melt the weekend looked very promising. Watching gauges through the end of the week showed tons of water everywhere. The Sandy was over 10 feet, the Blackwater over 1500 cfs, the Top Yough close to 4000 cfs. Clearly none of the major runs would be an option on Saturday. Lot's of creeks were likely to be running but getting a crew together proved to be tough. Rain in the Shenandoah Valley and promise of warmer temps sent Scott and Brett south. Others made plans to head out to Canaan Valley. But i wasn't too keen on driving all the way out there to trudge through a foot of snow to the put in.

By morning I wasn't sure if I'd be paddling at all. But Scott M. called saying he and Bobby were planning on hitting Drake Run near Confluence and did I want to come. A quick glance at the AW site and I was in. On the way to the put in we ran into Geoff and the four of us put on around 1pm. It was a short run so at least time wasn't too critical. It was also fairly warm, the temp read about 45 degrees at the put in. But as ever I was weary of another Bobby Miller expedition.

Unable to park near the normal put in we went upstream a short ways and paddled through a short stretch of moving flatwater. After passing some houses, a few horses, and ducking some barbed wire and a footbridge, we entered the Drake Run wilderness. Though it is a short run it had a great remote feel. The creek starts off with some easy ledge drops and meanders its way through gorgeous evergreen forest. There was surprisingly little rhododendron on the banks, just sparse trees and a beautiful carpet of snow.

A short way into the run you arrive at the first major (and biggest) rapid, Ignorant. This is a two tier slide drop with about a ten foot ledge at the bottom and a total gradient of probably about 40 feet. We got out and scouted. I was pleasantly surprised to find just how easy it was to hike around the creek banks. The lack of rhodo or other thick shrubbery made it very easy to scout, even with the snow. In general the open feel of the forest hear was very pleasant.

Bobby explained the options. You could run left or right but the middle was fairly manky. It wouldn't kill you but dropped onto a flat rock. Geoff chose to walk this one given his recent recovery from shoulder injury. We watched as Bobby walked back up a bit and ran the drop. I probably should have walked down farther with Scott and watched him run the whole thing. But I just saw as he went down the first slide and over the horizon line. The rapid goes through an S-turn before the final big drop, making the approach somewhat blind.

Maggie running Ignorant

As I am getting in my boat Scott comes over and warns me that Bobby had gotten pushed into the middle and that i needed to paddle hard left on the second drop. Note taken, I headed down. The first drop was fairly easy and I had good left angle. Coming around the S-turn I was pretty confident with my line, heading left the whole way. But as I came over the second drop i realized that it sure was pushing toward the middle. But at that point there is no correction to be done. You're screaming down the face at 30mph, starring straight at that rock at the bottom. A scary sight for sure. I bounced down landed slightly sideways on the rock (got a good bruise on my right side to show for it). Ultimately though bounced down unscathed and continued down the runout without incident. Not a great line but not terrible. Definitely a pretty big intimidating drop.

Bobby's second (cleaner) run of Ignorant

After Ignorant came several more very fun drops. A nice clean ten foot drop onto a slide, more ledge drops and small boulder gardens, and a great narrow chute ending in a eight foot drop beside an undercut rock. We had to portage one of the larger rapids because of a log and one more wood jam but otherwise the creek was pleasantly strainer free.




After portaging a log we decided to walk down to the next rapid since it wasn't too far down and scout. Scott and I eddied out on the left while Geoff and Bobby were on the right. We walked down to the drop, an eight foot or so ledge. Several line options were available. The far left line looked clean and straight forward but required a rather low duck under a log. You could also run to the right of the log but risked getting pushed into it. The far right seemed to offer the cleanest option. However the line was pretty narrow. It required a fairly precise boof right next to a rather nasty seam, with good left angle to avoid landing on the rock at the bottom (or getting pushed into the small undercut cave to the right of it). There was also a fair bit of water pillowing off the rock back towards the drop, requiring careful positioning such as not to get surfed into the hole. We shouted instructions back and forth and Bobby walked up and ran the drop. He had a good clean line and waited for us at the bottom.

Bobby running the ledge

From where we'd left our boats there was a a few hundred yards of easy boulder drops and then a tongue heading toward the main drop. I studied all this on my way back to my boat and had a clear memory. As we put on Geoff got ahead of me and eddied out above the tongue, pointing me in the right direction. But i already knew where I as going. I angled right to catch the eddy above the main drop and looked at Bobby below. I came off the drop with good left angle, just to the right of the seam and bounced off the pillow below with no problems. I eddied out and watched as Geoff and Scott made their way down.

To my surprise I saw Scott come down and miss the eddy. Turns out he'd gotten disoriented above and started off too far left. He got spun around at the top of the drop and was headed for it backwards... right into the seam. He dropped in stern first and immediately vertically pinned. His head was above water thankfully but for a moment things looked pretty sketchy. Bobby and I immediately started heading towards him but before we could get near he had managed to pull his skirt and quickly swam out. What a relief!!!

Seeing this Geoff quickly shouldered his boat and met us at the bottom. Scott's boat unfortunately was wedged in good. We could barely see a little bit of blue as the water rushed over it. We climbed up on the bank and Scott attempted to push on it with a stick, to no avail. He was going to have to clip a rope to it. But it was deep in the seam. So he grabbed a carabiner and jumped back in. After some effort he was able to secure a rope to it. The guys tried pulling on the rope from various angles still to no avail. I ran back downstream to pick up float bags and other gear that was washing out of the boat.

At first it really did not look like they would be able to get it out. It was starting to snow and I worried that we'd have problems getting out of there. Bobby assured us that we were fairly near the takeout at least so the hike out would not be too terrible. But still we did not want to have to leave the boat. Finally they tied the rope off to a tree and binered another one to it, setting up a vector pull. I was impressed and relieved to to see the it finally come out!! But we probably spent an hour there.

Scott's pinned boat

Happy that everyone was safe and sound and the boat recovered we packed up the ropes and headed down. It was snowing a bit more now as we approached the last big drop. A nice 10 footer that landed in front of a big boulder with narrow channels on either side. Very nice.

We ended up skipping the last rapid below the railroad bridge as there was another log in it. We hiked out a mile to the car along the railroad tracks and were well covered with snow. Despite everything everyone was in good spirits and I was happy to be able to thank Bobby for a great run. A beutiful run with some nice drops, definitely worth checking out.

For lots more photos from Drake Run check out the gallery here. Includes full photo documentation of the pin and boat extraction.

Scott wrote up his own, slightly more colorful, trip report. Here it is:

Several weeks ago I enjoyed the privilege of paddling an 07 Nomad 8.5 at Dickerson. I realize that Dickerson is not the most optimal place to test a creek boat, but the eddy lines speak for themselves. Rather than walk back up, we attained and cut through the woods. This afforded us the opportunity to test the Nomad’s ability to paddle through large floating ice chunks, one of a creek boat’s most important attributes. Until now, I have never paddled a boat that had satisfactory ice bashing capabilities, but the Nomad did so with ease and grace. Before I go any further, I will address what I believe to be two of kayaking’s most inanely foolish questions: Does it [modern day creek boat] roll easily, and how well does it [modern day creek boat] boof. It is of my opinion that any modern day creeker boofs well if boofed properly, and rolls easily if rolled properly. But, for you skeptics, yes, the boat boofs easily (autoboofs, as I so frequently see written) and can be rolled with one hand with minimal adjustment of the factory outfitting. Now on to creek boating.

Saturday’s incredibly high levels and frozen conditions left many of us in a quandary as to what we could or should paddle. Seneca, Otter and Red Creek were frozen in. The Yough was so high (almost 4000 grand) that nobody was considering it (but I highly recommend going to see what Swallow Falls looks like at that level). It was almost midnight on Friday and we were still at a loss as to what to paddle. Then I got a call from The Dogg, and everything changed. After much discussion, we settled on checking out Drake Run in PA. Not too far, not too long, not too difficult, and if we got skunked we would still have time to contemplate a higher water run of the Yough. Along with Bobby, I got Maggie Snowell, Geoff Calhoun, Cornelius Sanchez, and Conchita McCoy on board and we made our way to Confluence around noon on Saturday (Bobby had a morning basketball game to coach). Arriving at the put-in we found no room to park because of the plowed snow, so we kept driving, expecting a long walk, when low-and-behold! we crossed an upper section of the same creek. With ample parking room we jumped out and suited up. Bobby was pretty nervous about paddling something that had probably never been paddled before, but Conchita calmed him down with a backhand to the face and we were soon off. Although I didn’t admit it at the time, I was a little nervous as well since I hadn’t paddled in awhile, being far too concerned with who the real father of Anna Nicole’s baby is.

Upper Drake’s is about a quarter mile of raging class II, complete with pool toys and barking dogs, before reaching the normal put-in. Immediately after paddling under the street we found two rows of barbed wire to negotiate, which I can never get enough of. Once into the gorge, however, things got going pretty quickly. The first scout was a monster technical slide with a somewhat tricky lead-in rapid. Messing up his first run, Bobby was determined to keep running it until he aced it or hurt himself. Luckily, his second run was perfect. Cornelius refused to let Geoff run the drop because of Geoff’s recent shoulder injury, and the rest of us made it down unscathed.

After several more fantastic boofs, slides, and boulder gardens, we came to our first, and only, wood portage. Since the next rapid wasn’t too far down, we walked down to check it out rather than get out of our boats again. It looked like a fairly innocuous drop, but had a log to contend with. Bobby went first, making it look easy, and the rest of us grabbed our boats to head down. Conchita and Cornelius don’t run rapids that have anything to do with wood, so they walked. Maggie went next, then Geoff, then I. Making my way down the shallow, congested boulder garden, I got disoriented and wasn’t sure how to get to the green tongue to make the move. Seeing Geoff in a river left staging eddy, I made my way over to him, only to find that both of us were now too far down river and just above the drop, but too far left. Normally I would have admitted defeat and started over or walked around, but the Nomad’s speed had been treating me so well I still thought I could make it, and I would have, had it not been for the shallow rocks that I didn’t see, which killed my speed, preventing me from getting into the river right eddy to set up. I ended up flushing over the drop (about 5ft) backwards thinking I would just float out. Instead, I found myself in nasty vertical pin with the water landing on my chest. When I didn’t flush out after a second or so, I fought my way to the rip cord and bailed into the pool below, with the boat fully submerged. After signaling to Geoff not to try such a foolish move, I assessed the situation and came up with very little. There was no way of safely getting to the boat, so I handed Bobby my throw bag, put a biner on the other end, and jumped in, hoping for the best.

Meanwhile, Maggie kept herself busy by collecting my stuff as it washed out of the boat all the while documenting everything with photos, and Geoff positioned himself on the other side of the creek to help out. With the snow beginning to fall pretty hard, Conchita and Cornelius became very concerned, suspected the makings of a Bobby Miller Special, and immediately set forth with building a large fire and cozy lean-to for six to bivy for the night. They set several animal traps and began making potable water, and they also commenced smoke signals.

Precariously perched on a rock at the base of the falls, I was eventually able to get the biner on one of the stern grab loops. The boat didn’t look to be too wedged into anything, just held down by the force of the water. Nonetheless, we tried pulling from a few different angles, to no avail. Eventually I tossed the rope to Geoff and swam across to see if the two of us would have better luck pulling from over there. Nope. The 8.5 is a big boat, and when filled with water and more water pouring over it, can be quite heavy. I got a little frantic at the prospect of losing a new boat, so Bobby threw a mean upper cut to my jaw to settle my nerves. In retaliation, I tackled him supine on a rock ledge next to the water and forced his head under. Just when I thought he was going to succumb to oxygen deprivation, he kneed me in the groin. Geoff proceeded to kick me in the ribs a couple times until I tapped out, but when it was all over, we got a good laugh out of it.

I decided to tie the other end of the rope to a tree with a trucker’s hitch and set up a vector pull rather than engage in the complications of a Z-drag since I was beginning to lose feeling in my hands. Plus, I was quite certain that, if pulled from the right angle with just a little more force than we could apply without mechanical advantage, it would pop free. Once set up properly, the boat came right out. About this time, Conchita announced that she had tracked and caught a bobcat for supper, but with no reason to stay we released the creature back into the wild, but not before a jolly game of Toss the Clawed Beast. About a quarter mile of fun class 4-5 boogie water and we were at the take-out. About a mile of railroad tracks brought us back to the Dogg Mobile, where we shared a group hug, drank hot cocoa, and jammed out to some of Bobby’s music, which I believe was Bananarama.

I always thought that there must be more to creek boating than being ridiculously, unbelievably good-looking, but until now I didn’t know what it was. The Nomad changed all that. I now realize that equipment is probably more important than being really, really, really ridiculously good-looking, especially on more technical creeks. The boat excels at just about everything you could want in a creek boat: speed, ability to carve reliably, resurface predictably, comfort, large amount of easily accessible storage capacity, and most importantly, good looks. The stern is extremely easy to get gear in and out of, and I was able to get my gas-powered generator back there uninhibited. The outfitting is almost TOO comfortable for the stoic creek boater, but I wasn’t complaining. The bulk head has a nifty little plate that can be adjusted to hit the top of the boat to prevent toe curling, and the back band adjustment is unlike any I have seen before, eliminating the annoying ratchets. Knee hooks came with pre-glued minicell and the hip pads needed no adjusting. Dagger has definitely addressed the issue of the leaky cockpit problems of a few years ago, as I was bone dry (before the swim, at least). Anyone who is interested in demoing the Nomad should contact K Po (aka, Kristen Podolak).

And that’s all I have to say about that.


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