Wednesday, August 27, 2008

pic by Shane Benedict

Pics of the new LiquidLogic Biscuit's during testing on the Ottawa in Canada.

The plan is to hopefully get our hands on a medium Biscuit on our trip to Idaho this weekend. While it should be too big for Devin to throw around like the small coming out. It will give us a little taste of the new Biscuit!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Upper Upper Cispus TR

The crew taking a break on a side excursion near the take-out.
The put-in waiting for the HR crew to show.

This past Sunday me and Devin got to test the question as to which is more fun and harder. The Little White Salmon or The Upper Upper Cispus? The common rivalry is the LW is more continuous with individually easier drops which makes for a fun run as long as you don't get stuck in a hole, pinned, lose grips with your paddle (a common issue) or break your boat on a rock you should not have boofed onto. The result usually is pulling out a breakdown paddle or hiking out. I've heard of a paddler swimming 3-4 times on the run upon losing his boat and hiking out. Another one is a paddler breaking his paddle and going throw 2-3 breakdowns and then having to hike out. The LW is littered with more boats and paddles than any other run that I'm aware of in the NW!!

The UUC on the other hand has pools to collect yourself between the drops but several big class V bouder gardens, several with wood in them and a mandatory waterfall referred to as Big falls or more commonly just Behemoth. Behemoth set the levels that padders run the UUC at. Too high and the stories of bad lines over the falls resulting in getting worked in the hole directly above the falls in the gorge, getting behind the curtain of the falls or having a bad day in the hole below the falls 40 yards.

So off we go to find out in our own opinion.

It's a 2.5 hours drive from Portland, OR to the take-out near Randle, Wa. That makes it one of the longer drives the PDX crew head to as the local runs drop out and the UUC comes in. We met up with a paddler in Vancouver to carpool, Rick Cooley. Rick that had been oddly enough on our first run on the Green Truss run of the White Salmon. We then drove up to the t/o to meet with Ej Etherington and a few others he'd ran the UUC with on Sat and camped nearby. Also, a crew from Hood River was coming up. In the end it was 11 of us in one big crew making our way down. Me and Devin were the only virgins on this day. That's good in that they know the run, the bad is we didn't plan on looking at any drops with the exception of Island and Behemoth. That kinda made us nervous and Devin was pretty quite up to this point.

At the put-in we were told the first fun falls was a portage with wood in it. All but a few hiked their boats along river left and put in below the falls. The ones that paddled down ran the falls eddying out river right to portage the pieces of wood in the run out rapid. Devin decided to put in right above the falls, run it and portage like the others. He had a pretty good left to right line on the falls, flipped, quickly rolled up and made the eddie with no problem.

As we headed down river we came to some pretty stout boulder gardens that were a blast. All you could see was a trail of multi-colored boats heading downstream. normally 24 would be in sight at a given time. We'd eddie out into a large pile of boats and start it all over again. Rick was great at letting us know the lines through the drops.

At Island. I believe it's rated V+ in the WA guide books. The rapid consists of the river splitting around a island with the left side being considered the easier line with a slide into the hole on the right channel as the flows come together. The right side has a narrow channel into a ledge that's hard to boof and then getting right to avoid the same hole the left side feeds into. We all ran the right channel with varying different outcomes but all resulting in a fairly clean line. Devin's line was last and he plugged the ledge hole, claims he rolled up, we never saw him upside down so this happened prior to resurfacing. He then made the right line at the bottom hole with ease.

A few more drops down and we came to a narrow drop that had wood at the bottom on the right side. With no scouting we weren't sure of the angle or move necessary to avoid the wood. My line provided the most entertainment when I didn't get left soon enough, smacked the right wall at the wood, stern squirted up onto the wall and then flushed under the wood. The wood wasn't pinny at normal flows it seems. Oh good!!

A drop before Island the normal right channel was choked with wood and we had to portage on the left. Devin and Joe Stumpfeld? put their boats up on a big boulder to slide in. This caused us to not head down with the others as they started scouting the gorge above Behemoth. We opted to just run the gorge off verbal lines given that worked. I missed my line and dropped into the sticky hole you run on the far right side. After a brief beatdown I flushed out and quickly caught the left eddie above the falls to scout. We watched everyone run the gorge and another ride in the hole and a stern squirt resulting in a flip and we were clear of it. Several ran the falls blind knowing the line, some scouted it. All from the left side then fairing to right eddie. From the right eddie you can easily make the right to left move over the falls to hit the line. I ended up being the last man standing up there since I helped Devin with his boat and filming his line over the falls. He had a great line and it was my turn.

I slid in with a bit to much momentum and got my bow turned downstream and decided to commit to the falls rather that fight for the right eddie. The result was a center to left move that didn't get me up onto the flake and I plugged the middle of the falls. Oops, not good. I disappeared for a bit and was happy to surface downstream and on the right side. The normal line over the ledge hole is far left but the boils were pushing hard right. EJ had told us the right side went. Preferably 5 feet off the right wall or just be pointing downstream with momentum. I ended up not getting far enough from the right wall as it makes the bend out of the punchbowl and got stuck in the right pocket below the hole. One wrong move and I was headed back into the hole. With only being able to us my left paddle it was tough but I was fortunate to dig my way out and run the final class V boulder garden. After that rapid the river dies to class II for a mile it seems and then the bridge we take out at.

It was a great run. Both of us considered the LW a better run with the UUC having a lot more consequence factor and more wood currently. It's now our top #2 tun we've done though.

Video of my failed line over the bastard hole as I call it below Behemoth Falls.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lower Little White, A goal achieved!!

Obviously this blog is about my son and this post is no different with one main exception. It's a goal that I've not tossed around till the past weekend to run the Lower section of the Little White River, what most just call the L-Dub. Yeah, Devin's been running the stretch now 5 times this Summer and by chance one of the youngest to have ever ran it. Once again Dane Jackson's name pops up. Austin Rathman took both down for their first times. He likes small boys I'm told. Sorry Austin!!

Last weekend Devin, myself headed out to the LW to meet up with a good friend of ours Michael Williams to take me down for my first time. Levels had dropped down to 2.8'. Most consider 3.1' to be the magic number but under 3.0' the run loses come of it's punch and becomes more technical and I liked the idea of it being more like the Egua that me and Michael had ran in Italy recently. Low, technical and holes that didn't want to eat you alive. Sounds good to me!

I bailed at the put-in! Why? The LW has such a history in folk lore in the PDX paddling community of people losing gear, throwing up or hiking out at the first rapid, "Getting Busy". A 1/2 mile long boulder garden in the 300fpm range. Plus, you can't see any of the run except Spirit Falls if you've hiked in but it fails to give a image of the rapids around this beautiful falls placed in a huge punchbowl. Instead we ran the Upper Little White, also rated class V though tons of paddlers especially outside of the PDX or HR area know or have done this run. It's a shorter version of Getting Busy and provided a really good glimpse of what would lie below in what a lot of people consider the hardest rapid on the run. I had a blast on the stretch below Schroomtrooper and feeling like I could tackle Getting Busy.

Fast forward back to today and once again I find myself with my son and good friend Michael Williams at the put-in for the L-Dub. Levels had dropped a little but still holding at 2.6'. I was in high spirits and this time it wasn't even a question of putting on. What lied downstream of course made me nervous but I'd told myself to not even worry of the lines on the big drops below Getting Busy and take one task at a time. You can't be concerned with making a omelet if you don't have any eggs. So lets get down to them and look at each one. It worked and quickly found myself sitting at a lip of a drop, getting verbal commands mostly and firing off several large drops like S-turn and Wishbone. Both in the 18-20 range I'd guess blindly and nailing my delayed boofs Gene17 had drilled in my head so hard in Italy. Thanks Simon Westgarth, Dave Carrol, Matt Tidy and Ed Cornfield for the instruction like no other.

One of the highlights for me was to see how proud Devin was of my accomplishment to tackle the mental game known as the L-Dub. I realized how special kayaking has become as a bond between us. Thanks Devin for believing in me when I doubted myself.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fitting Comic Strip

So why does this comic resemble mine and Devin's life? Especially in the Summer when I can only boat on weekends and the ocassional weekday evening run if the sun stays out late enough. The poor kid can get out everyday up till the start of Football season and that kicked in last week so now he's back to weekends like me!!

Oh waaa!!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Website Address

I finally registered the wondermidget name today and now the site is:

As I understand by blogspot the old address will still be linking to the blog as it had in the past.

cheers, Corey

Monday, August 11, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

The End of the Weekday Runs?

Last night myself, Devin and Michael Williams headed out to Hood River for what will most likely be our last run in the evening after work. In part due to me and Michael both unable to get away from work at 4pm and the sun starting to set earlier and earlier. Sunset was 8:30pm last night though it was more like 8:45pm it seemed.

With traffic getting out of Portland and a last minute job at work my escaping at 4:30 turned into 5:05 at I found myself at BZ by 6:30pm which had been the planned meet time but Michael had gotten there around 6pm and Devin had been in HR all week so I was the delay. We gathered all our gear quickly into Michaels Subi and we headed up to Green Truss bridge to gear up and climb down to the White Salmon River to cool down. It was in the mid 80's from the time we put on till we got off. OK, it dropped to 78 as the sun came down?

The run went great. Even though it's mine and Devin's first year being focused on the Truss and levels hovering around 2.6'we we're all comfortable keeping a quick pace downstream. With a put-on time of 7:11pm we knew there wasn't a lot of time to screw around. Big Bro' would be out for me and Devin's possible first time, I would run Lower Zig-Zag with the wood in it ( not because of time requirement but because I wanted to run it again! ), and me and Devin would walk BZ Falls unless Devin looked at it immediately and gave it a go. He looked briefly and shouldered his boat.

We walked off the water at Maytag at exactly 8:30pm!!!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Green Truss Video

Video from last weekend on the Truss. Shannon's first time this season.