Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Intermediate Trip May 17th

Eight of us headed down the Washougal River on the OKCC Intermediate Trip last Sunday. It was the warm sunny spring day we all had been waiting for. Puting-in at the fishing access at mile 8 1/2, we could enjoy the many class 2 rapids above and just below Big Eddy. From the beginning, the plan was to portage class 4 Big Eddy. It's a bit of a chore, but it's pretty straightforward to scramble along at water level and get back on the water while still in the Clark County Park, avoiding the ' no trespassing' signs plastered all over the property below. My understanding is that we have legal access to the bank up to the high water mark anyway. Two experienced boaters in the group ran the rapid.

video

At the gauge reading of 5.60', the little 'Helicopter Wave' below the Mt. Norway Bridge was in, and most of us gave it a try. It's really a good place to get the hang of spinning in a reversal, although it gets to be pretty easy once you get it figured out.

A few of us tried the hole at about mile 5 1/2. It wasn't very retentive. I always seem to get blown out the left hand side.

Cougar Creek rapids were pretty fun. With the eddies well defined, eddy-hopping was the name of the game. Unfortunately, one of the guys flipped in the drop right by the creek and banged his head, eventually requiring 5 stitches behind his ear. After a brief recovery, he was able to continue.

From there on down to the fishing access at MP 3, it's boogey water. At this medium low level, there just aren't many playable features in this stretch. With the warm, sunny weather, a lot of folks were along the river banks, swimming, playing banjo, and having a drink or two.

SYOTR

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

EJ's OKCC Playboat Clinics

This year the OKCC has been offering ongoing playboat clinics thanks to EJ Etherington. They have been a huge success! There is one more for the year on June 6th. This is video footage of the May 2nd class. 



video

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Second Annual Women's Boofing Clinic April 25, 2009











Women's Boof / Waterfall Clinic

Kim Karper has done it again. She organized the second annual women's boofing clinic on the East Fork of the Lewis on April 25th, 2009. James Bagley Jr. led this trip, while Jason Schroeder was setting safety along the river, and Kate Wagner helped with safety on Sunset Falls. It was 580 cfs that day with an intermittent light rain.

It was an exciting day for all of us. James, Jason and Kate drove long distances to be able to support this clinic. For that, we are all very grateful. The rest of the crew included Kristin, Christine, Jenna, Brandi, Lauri, Aleece, Kim and Tracy. This was a first time running this river for a few of us, so nerves were strung tight for some.

The short 2+ warm up above Sunset Falls was enough to familiarize ourselves with our boats and get comfortable. Then Sunset Falls came into view. We stopped to scout, set up safety and, well, some of us just plain stalled. After some instructions from our fearless leader, James, we all ran Sunset Falls. What a blast! Most of us ran it twice or even three times. There were a few uneventful swims, which were dealt with quickly by the safety boaters. One gal decided that this was not her run and walked off. We've all been there, I'm sure. I respectfully admire her ability to make the decision that was best for her.

After Sunset Falls, we ran a few smaller rapids and came upon Sky Pilot, which is a series of 3 drops in rapid succession. The first drop had a hole that liked to stern squirt the boat and briefly pin the paddler against the rock on the left. Kim informed us that this would happen and told us to just "stern squirt, flip, hit the rock, wait a second and roll up". Those that took that line did exactly as she told us. Some of us decided to sneak the right side to avoid the whole playboating experience.

The next major rapid was Screaming Left and Dragon's Back. One brave gal paddled the right line with ease. Looking at the right line, we could see the undercut and a pin potential, but she ran it anyway. We all let out a collective sigh and a smile afterwards. A few others decided to make the move from eddy right, ferry to the left and hit the left side drop, making it look very easy. The rest of us decided to drop in at the fork, so we didn't have to try to make the move to the left. One paddler decided to do the drop backwards and did it with style! Dragon's Back, which is a large boulder on the right after Screaming Left, requires a flare to make the turn to the left. From where I could see, this boulder only got one swimmer.

After Dragon's Back, Hippy John's Swimming Hole rapid was run cleanly by all. Whew. On to the big one: Horseshoe Falls. Some of us thought we may portage this one. Then we looked at the portage route and thought, heck, I'd rather run it. What an amazing waterfall! We took the entrance on the middle right, beside the log, did the slide and dropped right over. Everyone landed this waterfall beautifully! I think I even kept my eyes open ;)

After that, the rest of the run is a 2+ to 3 boulder garden that took us back to the take out. After giving away the prized schwag, we had one last adventure. A set of keys was locked in the car at the take out. After much deliberation, a tow truck was called to pop the lock and we finally ended the day. For some of us, the day was 12-14 hours long. But well worth it! A sincere thank you to everyone for their leadership, safety skills, and planning. Some of us would never attempt those waterfalls without your support. I hope to see you all out on the river again.

Writeup by Tracy