Monday, February 25, 2008

The Almighty Question - The Little White Salmon

So I've known for some time now that Devin would start getting on runs more demanding that what I'm up for running for several reasons. Mental, physical or capable of doing. Come on now, I started kayaking at 28 years old. The concept of learning a new language is up there will learning all there is to know about whitewater and kayaks. He has a wee but of an advantage. We both live kayaking but in different ways. Kayaking for me is what I spend all week working on peoples cars for. To relax, exercise and push my mental comfort limits. Devin spends a lot of his free time eyeing beta on oregonkayaking.net, liquidkayak.com and other sites he comes across. Why? To learn of the runs, technique and all around love of that is whitewater. Hell, his only real swim on the river was the "staircase" rapid on the SF of the Payettes when I flipped our raft at the entrance when he was 10 years old. That day as we headed out towards Yellowstone National Park he looked at me and said, "dad I want to learn to kayak". Why? "I can roll it back up if I get flipped over". He had never sat in one prior to this comment. Hmmmm, guess he made a good choice begging me when we stopped off at the Shed in Hood River on the way home from the trip that he wanted to try out a Jackson 1.5. John Hart made us a great deal on a setup of boat, skirt and paddle.

Funny that I was more concerned that he'd only get the boat out on a few class II's before getting bored or outgrow it.

Back to my dilemma, I've had several people wanting to get Devin on the L-Dub or Little White Salmon. As well as few wanting him to hold off. At this point I don't honestly know what to say and Devin probably thinks it's funny that I've been babbling about this for the past few days. Sunday he had an invite to go with Ryan Scott and a crew Ryan trusted but Devin was chilling with some friends already and I was headed out to playboat the Upper Wind.

This would not be the first run without me that Devin has done. First time was the Farmlands on the White Salmon when I got a beatdown in a hole below Little Lave and had to climb out. The next day he ran it again with a great crew I trusted in part to clip into my kayak so I could pull it up the cliff. Then the other weekend he continued on when I had to hike out off the Truss after giving him my PFD. I love him and trust his on the water 110%. He's about at home on the river as a salmon itself it seems. Not so good on land. Just watch the ending of "Toxic Water" and you'll see what I mean. Sorry Devin!!!

I'd like some input to this either way so please post a comment!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I think I need counseling?!


So at what point does your passion become and obsession? Judging by this picture of my living room I'm afraid it's quite clear!!

9 Boats, 4 Paddles for two people can't be healthy, right??

What the hell am I saying??

Kayaking is my life. Plain and simple... and what's wrong with that?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Farmlands-Truss Combo Run

Devin on OffRamp from a previous run. photo by Eric Arlington

Devin on Double Drop from previous run.



Today put a highly desired notch in mine and Devin's paddling wish list. Not that either of us are ones to have a list of runs we want to get on. I'd rather run it right that survive the run to say I've done it and moved on.

The "Farmland" or "Farmies" is 5 miles of class IV to V whitewater that run into the 5 mile "Green Truss" class V run on the White Salmon River in Washington. The Farmies are good above 3' on the Husum stick in the Winter with 90% of the water coming through them and into the Truss section. The problem is the Truss gets more demanding above 3' so running the two back to back can be tricky unless your into a burly Truss run. We have yet to run it over the Winter 2.25' so that's something we're both looking forward to, To find our comfort level on the Truss.

Todays level was once again 2.25' like last weekends run but this time I got a phone call from Heather Herbeck wanting to know it we wanted to run the Farmies and the Truss. It would be just myself Devin and Heather till the Truss were several people were gonna put on with us. The combo makes for close to 10 miles of paddling with a small margin of flatwater all up on the Farmies before "OffRamp" an interesting drop at lower flows. It's a class V drop that you avoid a narrow slot at the bottom left if you like your shoulders.

Both sections were good times even though the Farmies were lower than I'd normally want to run it unless I was continuing on through the Truss. One main benefit is you don't deal with the put-in frozen cliff!!

The only fun I had on the run was my sprayskirt imploding on DoubleDrop. I was using my crappy back up skirt. I was determined to not swim and after coming out of the bottom hole I paddled the swamped Nomad over to the bank and drained it.

No Bootie Beer For ME!!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A lesson learned

This past weekend me and Devin headed out to Hood River for a paddle down the Truss prior to the "Toxic Waters" Premier at the River City Saloon. Devin stayed over at a friends house after a failed attempt at going paintballing for a friends birthday. Of course he stayed up till 1-2am and the result was him sleeping out to HR and crashing on Nate Herbeck's floor till the others showed and we headed to the put-in.

At the put-in we geared up, parked the cars and started roping boats down the frozen 20 foot cliff to the White Salmon River. Everybody was having a good time with high spirits with the Party to come and Nate Garr coming in from Idaho to MC the festivities. Once all the boats and paddlers made it down we slid into the river like penguins over the frozen bank and down the 8-10 foot ledge to the not so warm White Salmon. It's like 38 degrees year round.

The river was at 2.25 feet at the Husum gauge. Which can be misleading with the nature of the rivers source. Depending what time of the year it is, the ratio of water on the Truss can be from the top of the run or the springs that feed in from the left bank prior to the Zig-Zag rapids. It's quite amazing. In winter most or all is coming from up top. The springs are frozen on Mt Adams. It makes for the rapids before Zig-Zag almost a foot higher om the winter time than it is in Spring. This was the highest we have ran it too date but are slowing working our way up in a controlled manner. To learn our limits of comfort. Me and Devin were both happing with this flow.

Big Brother Falls is one that a large portion of paddlers that run the Truss don't run. It's not the height of the falls but the right cave and shallow rocks waiting you at the bottom. All but two of us were walking around it when Dave Hoffman looked over at Devin and asked, "Where's your PFD at?". Every eye then looked at Devin and realized he had spaced off grabbing his PFD out of the Heather's Bravada and didn't put it on. Nothing like running a class V run and not having your PFD on? To our luck, Big Brother is one of the best spots to hike out of the run.

Options:

1. Devin paddle across the lip of the falls with no PFD, hike up and out on his own.
2. Me and Devin hkie out together. Which means I'll be roping two boats up and out.
3. and the one I love!? I give Devin my PFD. I paddle across the lip of a falls I have no interest in running and hike up and out while the midget gets to continue down river with the others.

I think I drew the short straw and #3 was the best choice in my opinion only because I trusted Devin's skills to paddle the rest of the run that he knows and the safety of the crew that we were in the company with.

The fun part:

After getting him geared up I hopped in my boat and paddled across the lip oddly like my life depended on it. Made the eddie with no issues and started my trek onto the snow. The cliff heads around the falls and then up a steep embankment that was more challenging with 1-2 feet of snow. I used my throw rope out of my Astral PFD to tow my boat up the hill in 20-30 foot increments. Fun Fun!! I know Ken and Dave both told me how to get back to the road but when I made it to the top I saw no trail thanks to all the snow. 2-4 feet at this point. I headed down the hill thinking I'd hit the road soon. On my way down I lost my footing, slid and came to a stop still on the hill. Oh crap?! I had the boat in tow behind me and the rope was around my waist. He come the boat!! The nose of the Nomad 8.1 nailed my square in the back of my head. Luckily I had been wearing my FNA full face still. It wrung my bell but I don't want to think of the other optional outcome without it on. Keep your helmet on!!

I made it to the flats and waled right to the cliff of the same river I'd just hiked away from. Oops, a horseshoe bend. Yippee!! I get to drag my creekboat back up the hill and try to find my way out. In time I did and quickly came to a clearcut land that allowed vantage of the powerlines that run along the roadway. Nate was driving my Subaru by as I made my way to the road. I'm saved!! It's usually a ten minute hike. It took me close to an hour.

Conclusion:
1. I need to check Devin over more closely prior to putting on the river. He may be a talented kayaker but he's still only 13.
2. Devin may want to think about staying up too late and make possibly fatal mistake.

Sunday we ran another lap on the Truss and I got to complete the run. Oddly enough the majority of the paddlers in Sundays crew were underage boaters that hadn't been out partying and drinking at the Premier Party. We'd paddled with Christina Russell who is sponsored by LiquidLogic like Devin in a prior Truss run, Today we got to paddle with her younger sister Kim Russell. You could not meet a nicer pair of sisters that happen to love kayaking as well. Proof that family is quality!!

SYOTR

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Toxic Waters Premier - This Weekend

Come this weekend, we all get to see Nate Herbecks new movie at it's Premier in Hood River. I guess not all, the poor midget has 8 years till he can step into a bar in the US. Good ole Mexico!!

Guess we'll make it up by running the Truss with him on Saturday prior to the party....

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Devin joins LiquidLogic

Upon Devin testing out the Jefe Chico and loving the way the boat performed he has accepted the offer to join Team LiquidLogic. I ordered his new boat from LL and it will be here soon and Devin can get more familiar with the boat. As well as the Jefe Chico I have a Ronin 49 on it's way.

All while I'm paddling a creekboat with a duct tape weld on the hull of the boat.

Darn Kids!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008