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


No comments: