6.06.2011

Black Rock, Big Day on the Big T

Made it out to Black Rock on Friday, flows were in the low 600s.  Everything was fun, and starting to get a little pushy.  The laterals and boils are starting to show up at these flows.  Lines went pretty well, though I ran too close to center on Mr. Bill and plugged it pretty hard.  I was able to paddle away, but next time I'll be further right.  I was used to worrying about getting deflected from the rock shelf on the right, but at these flows and up it's really not an issue.  I walked Rigo, though it looked like it was fairly forgiving.  Nevertheless, I may be done with Rigo for the next month or so as flows continue to rise.

Yesterday (Saturday) Roy, Bridger and I went to go check out SSV.  It was runnable, but awfully bony.  After some debate, we decided to head to the Big Thompson instead, which had healthy flows of about 650 coming out of Lake Estes, with some additional feeders.  It was getting pretty pushy, with big waves and holes in a fairly small riverbed.  We got to the big drop in the middle of the run, usually class IV+ at regular flows but it was pushing V- or V at these flows.  I had a good line through the entrance and the meat of the rapid, but near the end of the first pitch the nose of my boat was deflected by a lateral and caught on a rock.  I was hoping that it would just spin me backwards, but the rock was too close to shore and as I started to spin, my stern was caught by another rock and the force of the water pinned me horizontally.  My head was underwater, and I felt the boat lock down onto the rocks, so I didn't waste much time waiting for it to dislodge.  I swam, and fast, for shore.  Roy was in the process of getting out of his boat since he saw me pin.  I managed to self-rescue, getting a little banged up on the rocks and swallowing some water, but was otherwise all right.  My boat pined a little ways downstream, and Bridger was able to fish my paddle out of the water. 

The excitement wasn't over yet; below the dam Roy misread a set of holes and got flipped, and then was shoved up against the bank.  He swam, and Bridger and I chased his boat for a looong ways.  About halfway through the chase I realized that I had forgot to put in my drain plug after we portaged the dam, so it was a bit of a race against the clock to try and retrieve his boat before mine filled up with water.  We managed to get it done though.  In all, the casualties for the day were Roy's sponge and my throw rope. 

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