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

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