Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Second Intermediate/Advanced Clinic

Eighteen eager students met Paul and Ty at Bob's Hole for the second Intermediate/Advanced Clinic on February 20th. Shuttle arrangements were made in a reasonably efficient manner, and we headed upriver, stopping to scout Hole-in-the-Wall and Roaring River rapids. At Hole-in-the-Wall, it's pretty obvious where you don't want to go, and we all agreed exiting on the right was a good idea. At Roaring River we were fortunate enough to see another party demonstrate several lines through the rapid. Soon enough we were at Sunstrip, preparing to put in.

Paul has a great system for people to learn each others' names. After an initial introduction, we toss throw bags back and forth, calling out the intended receiver's name as we throw. It really works. And it's great throw bag practice.

Then it's time for the safety talk. By now we're all pretty knowledgeable of the signals and procedures, but the review is important. We pair up with a buddy for the trip downriver.

There are mellow eddies on both sides of the river at the put-in, so we practice ferrying for awhile. Then we have the challenge of ferrying across on one stroke - it's not easy.

Folks get down through Roaring River rapid pretty gracefully, and the adventuresome spend some time paddling back up around the big rock that splits the flow and catching the little eddies on the left wall.
I always enjoy zipping back and forth through the features where the slalom event is held at the end of August. There are lots of little rocks, waves and holes, and a few bigger ones, in this section, although at this higher flow, about 1,620 cfs, many are covered up.
Down by the play wave across from Roaring River's mouth, Paul demonstrates peeling out above a pillow on a rock, then invites others to try it. It turns out to be good practice not only for peeling out and bracing but for rolling...

Eventually we head downstream.

No more pictures, but we had a good run down to Bob's. Runs at Hole-in-the-Wall were solid. Paul and Ty made it look pretty easy to ferry over to the left eddy (the Hole) and peel back out again.
Then it was lunch at a nice sunny spot above Fish Creek. Fish Creek rapid and the left eddy below produced a couple swims - people were starting to get tired.
At Carter's Falls, a few of us ran without scouting, while most of the group took a look. It's a place where you really want to know where to go.
Paul led most boaters down the righthand side of Rock and Roll, while a few of us opted for the less taxing lefthand channel.
Toilet Bowl always waits at the bottom of this run. It is one of the most challenging rapids, and it comes when you are getting pretty tired. I'd 'cheated' by scouting the rapid before we met in the morning and picked and ran a nice clean line on the righthand side at the bottom. Folks that went down the middle got a pretty bouncy, splashy ride.
Thanks again to Paul Kuthe for teaching this series of clinics.

OWA/OKCC Presidents' Day Rogue Trip

Nine kayakers, 25 rafters and 1 brave soul in an IK, mostly members of the OKCC and OWA, launched at Grave Creek Saturday morning on a flow of 8300 CFS. It was an overcast, dry day with temperatures in the mid 50's. Most ran the fish ladder, one brave soul took the middle chute and one raft ran the main falls, uneventfully. One kayaker took a 'sneak' line next to the middle chute and another hit the line on the main falls, only to swim at the bottom.
A quick scout at Upper Black Bar gave the opportunity for some action snapshots.

Our first night was at the enormous Horseshoe Bend camp. With lots of time in the afternoon, many of us went for a hike, in spite of the steep scramble up to the main trail. Our OKCC group prepared pasta dinner with all of the trimmings Saturday night. Dessert was homemade cookies cleverly placed in Costco boxes. Rain started around midnight and eased off just in time for breakfast.

Delicious breakfast burritos were on the menu Sunday morning, and we were packed and on the river soon enough to enjoy a steady light drizzle over 7300 cfs of Rogue. Yours truly opted to ride a raft through Mule Creek Canyon, then Blossom Bar, leading to a story he'll hear again and again.

Mule Creek Canyon did present its usual difficulties for the kayakers, but Blossom Bar, although big, was wide open. A number of rafts ran the left side of Blossom Bar, over a weak spot in the picket fence. The oarsman in the raft I was riding lost his wife and broke an oar while running this line. The story goes that I pushed his poor, helpless, innocent wife overboard. She was back in the boat quickly enough, demonstrating the safety awareness and capability of the group.

Our destination on Sunday was Tacoma camp, and we arrived by 3:00 to clearing weather. The sun even showed itself by late afternoon. Not much hiking was on the agenda, though, as folks dried their gear and talked over the events of the day. Dinner Sunday night was a famous and delicious chili and cornbread, preceded by made-to-order quesadillas. Monday breakfast was French toast and sausages. What a treat!!

At this higher flow, the float out was fast, and pleasantly dry. A pair of bald eagles waited on the left, at river level, just a couple miles above Foster Bar. The road through Powers was open, so the drive home was scenic and about as fast as it could be.

It was a fabulous time on a fabulous river with a fabulous bunch of kayakers and rafters. If you weren't there, you missed out!!

Monday, February 15, 2010