Another black rock run. Smooth sailing, despite the date.
Got up to the Narrows of the Poudre to meet up with a guy I hadn't boated with before. We had high water, and should have been in for a good time. Things being as they were, I swam at the run-out of the first rapid, Sports Car Corner. I had relaxed after the rapid and was flipped by a lateral wave. As I was setting up to roll, my paddle hit a rock and was pulled out of my hands. I was screwed. I pulled out of my boat, considered hanging onto it for a second, then gave it up and started heading for shore. The swim sucked; I sucked in a lot of water and was happy to pull myself into an eddy, despite being sans paddle and boat and left shoe. I climbed out, and our shuttle bunny picked me up and we drove down to where the other boater had corralled my boat. The paddle never showed up. I was eventually driven back to my car and I changed clothes (the drysuit kept me dry throughout the ordeal) and started hiking the river to find the paddle.
The paddle never showed up, though I did find the Nalgene bottle that came out of my boat. The paddle is still unreturned. Weak. A 10 second mistake and a $300 paddle down the drain.
I ended up killing some time in Ft. Collins waiting to hang out with a buddy of mine, but when he was late I headed for Denver. I made a bit of a half-hearted attempt to paddle the next day, but we couldn't find a guide, so I ended up hanging around town.
Another Black Rock run, this one with a ton of people. I think we had 10 boaters or so on the run at the same time. Bridger and I ran together as usual, and cleaned everything. We saw a couple somewhat sketchy runs of Rigor Mortis, the V at the bottom of the run, and I packed up to go catch my softball game.
Bridger, A. and I headed out to Crested Butte to do some creeking. Though there was a race on Oh be Joyful, we figured we should be able to avoid some of the crowds and get some boating in. We rolled in pretty late and set up camp in the dark. After a pretty chilly night, we awoke to clear skies.
We hiked the Slate River, since the put-in was right at our campsite. Unfortunately, we found a pile of wood in the middle with a narrow line around it and a bit of an ugly portage. That, combined with mediocre drops, lead us to opt out of the run. A. came along for the scout, which was too bad, since it was a bit of a sloppy, bushwhacking mess.
We headed up to Daisy Creek, which involved a river ford that the FJ handled with abandon, and some 4-wheeling to get to the put-in. We tied in with another group and walked the whole thing, scouting for rapids and wood. One of our crew decided to walk, and the remaining 4 fired everything up. Things went smoothly to start; everything boated a little easier than it looked. Then Mike broke his boat on a fan-tail rapid and we had to patch it while scouting Big Wood Falls, which everyone paddled cleanly. We boated down to Rip Your Head Off, which only I ran. It was a fun rapid, boating fairly easily, though I lost a contact in the last part of the drop when I was keeping my eyes wide open to make sure I wasn't off-line and headed for the head-ripping rock.
We went over to Oh Be Joyful (OBJ) to scout it and catch the tail end of the race that was going on. Then we headed over to the East with a new guy we had met up with. We dropped our boats at the top and our car at the bottom, then hiked the 3/4 mile shuttle. We had good flows, and it was a roller-coaster of fun slides and surprisingly big holes for the size of the riverbed. We took out above Stupid Falls 10 or 15 minutes after we had put on.
We headed into CB for dinner and supplies, though I was battling a headache that was either from dehydration or from borrowing one of A.'s contacts to make it through the weekend. We probably headed for the tents around 9 after a long day of hiking and boating.
After waking up early and breaking camp, we headed for OBJ. It would be my second time on the run (after breaking a paddle on the 25 footer the first time out) and Bridger's virgin run. We hiked our boats up the whole thing, memorizing the order of the drops.
The put-in is on a pile of rocks about 4 paddle strokes from the first drop, a falls of around 15'. We fired things up after resting at the tail end of the hike and getting into the right headspace to run the river. Though a lot of people talk about OBJ as a low-skill plop-and-drop, they're usually class V boaters that have lapped the run dozens of times. As a first or second timer, it's still very steep.
The first drop went smoothly for both of us, and we headed downstream through some small slides. The second falls of any significance is preceded by a tricky lead-in. I penciled more than I would have liked, but ran it clean. Bridger came in at an angle and was rolled at the hole at the bottom, but hit his roll.
Then came a slide with nasty rock on the left-hand side and a hole at the bottom. I had a fairly clean run and continued on towards the big falls, catching the bathtub-sized setup eddy before it and resting for a bit. Bridger was a long time coming. He had gotten stuck at the hole at the bottom of the slide and almost didn't make it out. When he finally did, he was tired and a bit rattled, and rested before meeting me in the setup eddy. It was around then that I started to have second thoughts about running another lap.
The 25 footer (or 30 footer, depending on who you ask) could have gone better; I didn't charge left hard enough and almost smashed my bow on a rock shelf in the right side of the LZ. I bumped it a bit with my bow, and surfaced somewhat sideways and was flipped by the curtain. I fought back to the surface and away from the wall and into the clear. Bridger had a pretty clean line.
The real tough stuff was over, though we both got caught in surprisingly large holes in the bottom slide.
As we were taking out, Bridger mentioned that he thought one lap for the day might be enough. I couldn't agree more. At those flows, it was just a little too sketchy for us to really be having fun on the water. Happy we had ran it, we were equally happy to head back to the truck and home.
Posted by Jake at 11:14 AM