11.11.2006

I got out to the east race last night. It was fun, but it was odd to be putting on to a river in the dark. We had street lights along the paths on both sides, so we could see, but it was still strange.

11.10.2006

No paddling this weekend; the other guys on the trip bailed and I'm too busy to try and scratch something else together. I think the 'ol season may be tapering down until after finals.

10.21.2006

Looks like I've been stood up on paddling this weekend; pretty much everybody bailed. Boo for hanging around South Bend.

On the bright side, it sounds like there may be a trip being put together for Thanksgiving, and if I really work at it I may be able to sneak away for a regular weekend. Stay tuned.

10.20.2006

Zach and I headed south for an hour or so to go catch Pipe Creek, a little II+ stream so we could get on some new water. It was a decent run, and when I was taking some photos I thought I'd do a photo dump. Here ya go:

Fall and summer paddling 001

My new Shuttle.

Fall and summer paddling 085

The big waves on Lake Michigan. Windy as all hell.

Fall and summer paddling 058

D-Rad's still life from our Canada trip.

Fall and summer paddling 092

Me on the big-ish wave on Pipe Creek.

Fall and summer paddling 091

Fall and summer paddling 111

Zach on the pipe creek wave.

Fall and summer paddling 115

Zach sticking his roll. Woot.

Fall and summer paddling 119

This is a dam/ledge combo that we looked at for awhile. There was a line down the right hand side of the double-drop, but it required some cross-current speed and a boof at the end. I would have given it a run if I had my creeker with, but I didn't trust the Kingpin's speed or ability to get out of the significant hole at the bottom. Next time.

Fall and summer paddling 120

The weir half of the drop, along with a pensive Zach. Fortunately, he is using proper scouting posture, with the hands tugging down on the PFD. Well done.

10.17.2006

I'm just back from my trip to West Virginia to paddle the Gauley River. It was a good trip. We got a late start, not leaving South Bend until about 6:30 and not rolling out of Indy until 10, which got us at the take-out of the lower at about 5:30am. I went from sleeping crumped up on the front seat of the van to sleeping on the ground under the stars. Hoffman was supposed to hook up with us at the Gualey but bailed, leaving him without a weekend of paddling and me without a place to sleep. Fortunately, my sleeping bag was warm and I was tired.

Saturday morning we paddled the Lower Gualey, a Class III big water run where a good time was had by all. The weather was cool but clear, though a little windy. It was a good run, though I was excited to hit up something a little more challenging the following day.

That night my sleeping situation improved, and I managed to snag a spot on the floor of a hotel room. Much warmer.

Sunday morning brought on the Upper Gualey. The Upper is a legendary run and a Southeast classic, with five big, pushy rapids, Insignificant, Pillow Rock, Lost Paddle, Iron Ring, and Sweet's Falls. I was a little nervous about the run, since I had heard lots of talk about it, but in the end it wasn't nearly as challenging as I was expecting. I had good lines on all of the major rapids, and only flipped on Pillow Rock. Some of the smaller unnamed rapids in between the big guys still had some bite to them, but our team managed all of them without too much trouble. Al swam below Sweet's Falls when his backband slipped on him, but fortunately he wasn't pushed into the surging, rocky slot benieth the falls.

Hopefully some photos and video will be forthcoming. As for now, it's time to blow the dust off of the old creekboat, as next weekend it looks like I'll be off to the Green Narrows.

10.14.2006

Lake Michigan was windy as all hell; I only got 2 rides in before the 40kt winds stopped me in my tracks and I was too tired to paddle out anymore. I could hardly move. I also got trashed by a 15 footer, and since the few boardies who were out surfing were headed in, I realized that I didn't want to be paddling 50 degree water on a freezing day in 15 foot waves by myself. On the bright side, tonight it's off to the Gualey

10.13.2006

I've been hitting the East Race pretty hard lately, and this weekend I'm headed to the Gauley, and next week I'm off to the Green. Should be a good break. This afternoon I'm off to Lake Michigan to hit up the 10-15 footers which should be hitting the beach about now. Woot.

9.21.2006

Gah, I was under-dressed for the east race today. It's gotten markedly cooler in the past couple days, and I was downright cold today in a dry top, 2 layers of polypro and swim trunks. Time for a hot shower.

8.21.2006

Paddling at the East Race has been good; I've had a couple really good rides (I linked two loops; woot). I tweaked my left elbow last week but I paddled again today and it's healed up pretty well. The trailer is working really well; I bike down to the course every time I head down there.

8.13.2006

The East Race: How I Learned To Stop Worrying About Law School and Love the V-Wave

I took my first tour of the East Race Whitewater Course in South Bend last Wednesday, and I loved it. I'll be headed back tomorrow. The course looks like a cement ditch, which I suppose it is, but the features, especially the V-Wave, are great, especially considering the lack of gradient. The main features have push and size that I didn't expect after paddling at Wausau, and it's amazing to have something like that 12 blocks or so from my house. I'll definately be becoming a regular in the very near future.

7.18.2006

Went up to the St. Louis this weekend for what amounted to be the only water in the state. They released 350cfs and not the 600 that was expected due to the recent lack of rain, but it was still a good time. I got in a few runs on the Lower, including running Octopus (probably a IV at these flows) in my Kingpin. They were running slalom races on Sunday, which I didn’t compete in, but there was a big crowd around and lots of people to hang out with (and good food to mooch), so it was an enjoyable weekend only slightly hampered by some difficulties sleeping at night due to heat and mosquitoes.

I may have to try slalom paddling once I’m in South Bend; it looks like fun and a good way to become a better paddler.

7.12.2006

Had another good trip, this time out to Jim's Falls and Wausau with D-Rad and K$. Jim's falls was pretty tame, but Wausau was a blast (threw some loops and wheels, woot), and the atmosphere at both events was a lot of fun. Hopefully pictures will be coming soon, when I get less lazy.

6.01.2006

Had a good weekend on the Wolf and Peshtigo over labor day; the weather was in the 90s and we were able to man-boat (shirtless, rar) both Section IV of the Wolf and the Roaring Rapids section of the Peshtigo. Both were beautiful Class III rivers; nothing too terrible, but enjoyable for river play. We had to pay for Section IV as it was on the Menomine Indian Reservation, but it was probably worth it. We even roped some rafters out of the falls at the end of the run (we were doing laps on them at the time and a kid, maybe 9 or so, started to get recirced back into the falls. Dennis pulled him out and I roped out his would-be rescuers).

I hadn't done river runs in awhile; it's been mainly play or creeking for me lately, so it was a nice change, with some good river play features on the way, including a nice loop spot on the upper dells on the Wolf. I ran Horserace on the Pesh 3 times; the first 2 with enders and rolls near the bottom (once doing a crazy kickflip thing just over one rock that would have tried to crush in my skull). The 3rd time was a charm though.

All in all, a good weekend of solid warm weather boating. Hopefully there's more to come.

5.03.2006

Another exciting weekend

Paul, John, Chad, Erik and I headed up to the Cascade this weekend. It was running at -12, a good level for us since none of our group had run it before. When we setup our shuttle we ran into John Alt, Jason, and Cliff, and we paddled the river with them. Good thing too, as there would have been a lot more scouting without them. I ran Hidden Falls, which was great; big fast line, and I ran the whole thing cleanly. I think it put a hole in the bottom of my boat though, as things got pretty wet in the usually-dry Phat, and when we took out at the end of the day I noticed a 1/4" crack under the seat where the plastic was wearing thin. Boo.

I screwed up the next drop, Discretion, flipping about halfway down the slide onto my back deck. Since the jagged slide only had a little bit of water flowing over it I had to protect my face with my paddle and my hands; breaking the paddle but fortunatenly not my fingers. As I lost one of my gloves a couple weeks ago my hands took a beating. I brought my split paddle, but as I was digging for it the inside of my boat got covered with blood from my torn hands.

Back on the water, a little shaken, I followed the rest of the crew down the Cascade. It was a great run; lots of fast, curvey slides and fun Class IV-V drops. Everything was pretty bony; good for a first run. We took out above the Cascades of the Cascade, and then John and Jason ran some of the entry drops through Chastity. Hell of a run.

We drove back to Jay Cooke to camp. It was raining and apparntly my tent was no longer waterproof; when I woke up in the morning my feet were in a pool of water. We grabbed breakfast at a cafe near Carlton and then ran the Lower St. Louis. It was a good run; everyone had clean lines through Octopus, and Fin Falls was a blast. We then decided to run The Wall, which was a mistake. The long, technical, bizarre rapid which spread out over 100 yards from bank to bank, was extremely shallow, resulting in hang-ups and pins at every turn. We had to scout often, knowing that there were a couple bony 15 foot falls that wouldn't be any fun to go over blind. Eventually we made it out though, and shouldered our boats for the long hike up Oldenburg Point.

It was a solid weekend overall, giving me a good taste of Class V paddling. Too bad it was so hard on gear though.

4.24.2006

North Shore Weekend

It was quite the weekend. I went up to the north shore with Zinger, Aaron, and John, and had a great time. On Saturday we ran the Lower Baptism, probably the most classic creek on the North Shore. It was a bit low, but the top section was a lot of fun, lots of good ledge drops. Then we came to Ilgen Falls, a 35 foot falls that I had been running in my mind for the past year. It looked good to go, and I knew I would regret it if I didn't run it. So I did. The rest of the crew hiked the falls and setup safety. I slid into my boat and envisioned myself going over the falls over and over. Then I dropped into the water and paddled hard for the lip. My line and angle were both good; I plummeted down and boofed before I hit the bottom. The impact was huge, I could feel it in my spine and on my wrists. My entrance angle was right around 45 degrees, so I resurfaced without getting the top of my head wet. Here are a couple photos:




We then paddled down and portaged High Falls (unrunnable), then got to Two Step, a set of two waterfalls around 10-15ft apiece. Zinger ran the top step sideways and backwards and hit the bottom hard, pitoning in the pool below. The rest of us walked the first step, though Zinger and I ran the 2nd. After a little more paddling we walked The Cascades (also unrunnable) and ran down some more boogie water and some other fun ledges to the take out in Lake Superior.

After camping at Embeck Campground (on the Baptism) and feasting on veggies and steak, we embarked on Sunday for the Poplar, which runs through Lutsen ski area. It looked good to go, so we ran the boogie water and small ledges leading up to Bialek's Surprise (IV-V), a long slide into a hole at the bottom. We scouted it and ran it, and then went into the fun Class IV canyon below. Aaron swam after one tricky ledge, but we got him reunited with his boat in short order, then ran the rest of the ledges and boogie water to the take out.

In front of Bialeck'sSafety at the bottom of the slide

John and I hadn't had enough, so we did a quick second run of the Poplar, bombing everything without scouting, which was a rush when we hit the big slide and the technical rapids below it. Then it was back to the Baptism for a short run from the put-in to Ilgen; we passed 2 separate groups on our way down as we boat-scouted what they were looking at from shore. That was it for the weekend; they headed home while I waited at the campsite for another boater who didn't show, then headed back to St. John's. A great weekend all around, aside from the wrist gasket on my drytop which tore, but that's a small price for running the biggest falls I've ever done. Not only that, we got it on film

HERE'S THE VIDEO


4.18.2006

TR

I had a solid weekend of paddling over Easter. Things kicked off on Friday with a park and play session with Sally, Kent, Nate, and Paul on the Kettle. All of the features on Blueberry were playable, though the best hole of the lot didn't have any eddy access. A couple of the waves were fun though, and the weather was beautiful.

Then I continued north to the Lower St. Louis; sort of the standard advanced boater run in the state. I scouted the whole thing, then met up with Paul, John, Aaron, and Walter for a run. John locked his keys in the car, more on that later. The run went well, though we portaged the lower tier of Octopus. When I scouted it earlier I didn't see any lines that I liked, and the group agreed. The last set of drops near Swinging Bridge were fun, though Walter took a swim below the 2nd ledge. We had a solid rescue though, and swimmer, boat, and paddle were all recovered.

Zinger joined us once we got off the river, and we called AAA to get John's car unlocked. At the same time my car snapped its alternator belt. Boo. We camped at Jay Cooke, and in the morning tracked down belts and bolts for my car, but decided to forgo fixing it until after paddling.

We ran the East Branch of the Beaver; a really fun run with a set of three IV-ish slides not too far past the put in, some great boogie water, and then a set of three big falls. The first looked runnable, but the 2nd wasn't, and since they weren't too far apart we ended up walking both of them. We ran the 3rd though, a really clean 15 footer with a deep landing. A little more boogie water lead to the take-out and the end of a great run.

The rest of the group went farther up the shore, but I decided to limp my car home, since I had to be back for family stuff on Easter Sunday. My car didn't make it though; just before Duluth she gave up the ghost. AAA saved the day again, and I was towed to a repair shop where they replaced the belts, and I was on my way once agian.

4.12.2006

Sauk

Hit sauk rapids a couple times last week; good times, good paddlers. Hoffman swam through the scary ledge, which was exciting, and I've been hiting some loops and cartwheels (man, loops are really freaking fun). Hopefully we'll get a little more rain to keep the levels up, and it'll be creeking on the steeps this weekend.

4.06.2006

Trips

Kettle

I hit the Kettle last Saturday at high water (4,000 cfs). It was real big, real pushy, and real cold. A number of my paddling partners opted out of the main run to surf the green waves at the bottom. I played the big holes and got some good rides. I was in on a rescue too; we got the swimmer to shore before the next dangerous feature (Teacher's) but didn't manage to save his boat. I almost ferried out to go after it until I realized I was in the last eddy before the 3/4 river-wide, chunky, sticky hole that would have kicked my ass. Met some good people though, and ran the river through Triple Drop, which was a solid Class IV at that water level. I got stopped in one big hole and power-flipped a few times, but I kept rolling and eventually worked my way out. I was pretty glad I worked that off-side roll in the off season. Everything else was gravy, and it ended up being a pretty fun 5 hours on the water.

Sauk

I paddled Sauk Rapids yesterday and today at 17,000 and 19,000 cfs, respectively. Yesterday I paddled on my own for about three hours, though it's getting high enough where I was a little nervous trying to hit loops and blunts since it was pushy and I forgot my skull cap, so each roll ment a wicked ice cream headache. Today there was a good crowd out there, and I stuck some cartwheels and some loops. I even settled a debt of $35 from a year ago, since I owed another paddler for a helmet but didn't see him before I left for New Zealand. It was a great day though, and I had a few of those moments coming down a wave or sticking a loop where I was just like "woo hoO!" Fun stuff; I'm headed back there to meet up with some people tomorrow. Then I'd like to hit the creeks this weekend, but Courtney is coming up from California for the weekend and I figure it would be bad form to go off paddling for the weekend.

4.01.2006

Saulk

Saulk Rapids broke 10,000 cfs today, and I was out there for about three hours. It was really good for me; I started pulling cartwheels more regularly even though the main hole isn't quite deep enough for them yet, and I hit some combat rolls. The green wave is almost bouncy enough for me to blunt on it, and I'm getting the hang of bouncing these little boats down a wave.

There was one point that was almost spiritual, though I hesitate to use that word. Anyway, things really seemed to fall into place.

3.31.2006

Had a pool night tonight; got some new people rolling and some newbies interested in paddling. My kingpin is pretty leaky though; hopefully I'll get things sealed up soon.

Since Hoffman and I are both storing our wet gear here, my room is starting to smell like wet neoprene and polypro. Oh, and I chipped my paddle yesterday. Boo.

Rain today, and I'm heading to Saulk Rapids tomorrow, then maybe the Kettle Sunday. I'd love to head to the UP for some creeking, but our road trip to Notre Dame on Sunday prevents me from doing so. Oh well.

3.30.2006

Saulk

Paddled Saulk Rapids today; the level wasn't great but it's on the rise. Hoffman came with, and he hit his first 2 combat rolls (which was a blessing, as it was pretty damn cold out). Tilt-a-whirl was starting to get fun (though still really shallow) and the main wave was a little too mushy yet to be good. There was a big spike this evening though, probably as a result of the runoff from the warm day, so hopefully it'll do nothing but improve.

Verm

I paddled the Vermillion yesterday with a handful of people (including Swails, who I just learned is back in frigid MN). The level was good(100 ish, but it's still rising) and both Railroad and Doughnut were a lot of fun. I probably playboated harder than I have in a long, long time, and the exhaustion at the end felt great, and cleared my head for the first time in a while. I reccomend paddling therapy to anyone.

3.27.2006

verm

Hit the Vermillion yesterday, as Midwest Mountaineering was hosting a whitewater demo. Hoffman came down with me and ran the river once; handled himself well and seemed to have a good time. Level was around 60cfs but fast-ish; doughnut was fun and I got some really fun rides in. It was also nice to see a lot of paddlers I hadn’t hung out with before, and see all the pretty new boats. Saulk is on the rise, so hopefully I’ll be able to get out there soon.

3.16.2006

Saulk

I hit Saulk Rapids the other day to check out what construction is doing to the run; they're putting in a new bridge just upstream of the existing one and moving quite a bit of rock around. Right now there's actually more debris in the water than before, so maybe once the water comes up we'll have good play both above and below the bridge. We'll see what happens.

I've also been in the pool quite a bit, working on flatwater moves and teaching half a dozen or people or so to roll. Things are going well, and we should have a few new paddlers once things start to warm up.

1.24.2006

Dakib

I just finished watching Dakib, a production by local adventure filmmakers Fluid Groove Productions about creeking on the North Shore of Superior. It's a really well-done film, and manages to strike a nice balance between paddling shots and lifestyle commentary. It's also cool to see footage of a lot of the creeks I want to hit this spring; hopefully I'll have my own photos to go along with it after all of the rivers open up.

1.11.2006

Had another fun day on the Verm last Friday. Weather and water were about the same as last week, but now that's one MN run in December and one in January. I hit some good spins too, fun fun.

I also made it to my first Rapids Riders pool session, which was a really good time. It was nice to get into some warm water and see some familiar faces and work on my rolls in my Kingpin. I want to have my off-side roll 100% and to have back deck rolls by the end of the winter. My off-side is almost there; one more session and I should have enough muscle-memory to roll on either side without thinking about it. The back-deck is coming more slowly, but since it's a completely different motion I'm not too worried.

Should be a good spring.

1.02.2006

Had a great day on the water yesterday on the Vermillion. The water was pretty low, but it was liquid and since there wasn't any alge or anything slowing down the flow the features were still in, even at 45cfs. Doughnut hole was a lot of fun; shoulders were in on both sides making spins easy. I really like the new Kingpin; probably even more than my Rad. The bow is easier to engage since it doesn't have as much volume, and it feels quicker and edgier. Fun stuff.