Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hotel Charley 4 Tour Announced

What is Hotel Charley you ask? Well, it's just the best darned kayaking film series known to humankind, which happens to be the product of some very cool people: Jesse Coombs and Ben Stookesberry.

Not only are these guys fantastic boaters and ambassadors for our sport, they are genuinely nice guys. Here the recently posted dates and locations for Hotel Charley 4 "At your Own Risk":

If you love adventure films, kayaking, both or just want to show your support for some really great guys, you owe it to yourself to come on out and see this film.

Hope to see you there!


Monday, March 23, 2009

Wilson River March 22nd - TR

The Wilson River's Jones Creek run is really a good run for Intermediate kayakers, although it proved to be pretty exciting Sunday. And I was glad I was able to introduce so many people to it. Eight of the 12 of us were on the run for the first time. Three hardy paddlers started by running the class 3 drop at the put-in, but most of us saved our first face full of water for a little later. A short distance down, there is a tree sticking out from the left bank right into the main flow. Most of us cut right of it, but a few had to challenge it. Not far past there is a long class 2 rapid that ends with the water slamming into the left bank and into a wide ledge hole. Here again most of us cut right on the green water, a few punched the hole, and one boater got several cartwheels before flushing out!

After that, our next excitement was at the S-turn down the right side. My advice wasn't too accurate for this water level, and we had to scramble to get left of the big hole about halfway down. It is a fun rapid, though. Then it's pretty easy boating for a while. There's a very broad gravel bar where the best line is to just keep going right. Most of the other channels shoal out.

This gravel bar feeds right into the first real gorge. There used to be a couple eddies above the entrance, but the ones that are there now are not very big and were bleeding through pretty strongly. I think that gravel bar above is getting washed down into that entrance area. Consequently we went through the gorge without any briefing. Perhaps the nastiest part is just before the entrance, where the water pillows on the right bank in a very turbulent manner. This nasty pillow caused a swim, one where the boater got to shore quickly, but the boat continued through the whole gorge. After hiking halfway, the intrepid boater swam the rest of the way to the boat. At this level, about 1,750 cfs, there were a number of eddies in the gorge that added to the fun of the run.

We stopped for lunch, with the sun shining, below the Footbridge parking area. Here is a nice sand and gravel beach, with restrooms conveniently up the footpath. Clouds and drizzle soon came, and we departed. Although the river lets up some after this point, there are still plenty of rapids, with a lot of wall shots and some turbulent eddies, good practice for more difficult water. It's been a while since I've boated below the Jordan Creek area, which comes after about 5 miles, so that added to the fun for me, although several people seemed to be thinking seriously, "When do we get to the take-out?" But it was worth continuing, with a couple more wall shots, two easy boulder gardens, and the nasty looking riverwide ledge that is easily passed on the left.

Our timing was not exactly perfect, arriving at the take out in the rain, but it just help speed things along to our ultimate destination at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Intermediate Trip Details, March 22nd

Spring is upon us! Water levels are still uncertain with the rain forecast. We're planning on the Wilson, Jones Creek section. We'll boat from the Smith Homestead parking to MP 15. Some of us ran last Monday and saw that everything is clear enough. Both Soggy Sneakers and Paddling Oregon haven't really given this run justice. Although it's class 3 or easier, there is plenty of variety and many playspots. And it's scenic. We're paddling something that is fun, challenging and educational! Timing and meeting place are at Contact Dick Sisson at for additional questions.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday, March 22nd, Intermediate Run

Water levels are pretty uncertain with all this rain. Possibilities include the Molalla, Table Rock Fork put-in, Horse Creek through The Three Bears; Sandy River, Revenue to Dodge; Washougal as appropriate; or the Wilson, Jones Creek section. Paddling something that is fun, challenging and educational! Contact Dick Sisson at

Friday, March 13, 2009

Beginner Progression #4 in a series of about 6 - N. Santiam River, Packsaddle to Spencer's - March 6, 2009.

Due to the cold weather, we decided to run from Packsaddle down to Spencer's and stay there and play until everybody's fingers turned blue.

It was a great day on the water - 16 boaters, including two in IKs. We again split into two groups to keep the trip from being a total free-for-all.

No major carnage, lost gear, stitches required or discouraged kayakers. The river level was about 3500 cfs.

The Gold Star Award for the day goes to Kevin Lane with his 1st, 2nd and 3rd combat rolls - none of them in Spencer's!

Many thanks for the plethora of safety boaters who showed up in the wind, rain, hail and snow and special thanks to Dave Hoffman (again) for help with everything from leading and photography to showing off his trick moves in the middle of Spencer's. We have you on video!