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.
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.