Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lynn Creek

Since I started kayaking, I have continually reset my goals as I've accomplished them. Each one seemed unattainable until I did it, so this is a continuously changing process. Until this point, at this point, realizing I have lots of work to do still and lots to learn, everything finally seems somewhat realistically within reach. The kayaking videos I watch of pro's like my personal favorite, Steve Fisher, finally make sense and I can understand why the things they do that seem impossible, look so easy. I can read articles on advanced moves and techniques and understand the concepts and practice them in the once more difficult runs that I now run on a regular basis.

This is something beginners should definitely keep in mind. If you want it and are willing to learn and put in the time and effort, anything is attainable. With that said comes my tale of Lynn Creek.

By now I'd done about 10 runs in Chilliwack canyon, so I figured I was well prepared for Lynn Creek when Ryan and I set off Boxing Day morning (much better than fighting the crowds to waste money on things that would keep me in the living room!). This was the first new run I felt like I would be able to handle, and didn't feel like was over my head, but instead within my ability.

After finding the takeout we met with about 20 paddlers, many of whom I'd never paddled with, which was amazing. I finally got to meet some of the and Vancouver Kayak Club people that I'd heard about and watched videos or read trip reports about. Imagine a minor hockey player meeting their Wayne Gretzky and Gordy Howe, this is how I felt with some of these people (maybe a slight exaggeration :).

We finally set out to the put in. Without really realizing it, I'd been there before with a friend for a beer and to lounge on the beach in the summer, at the time completely innocent to the idea that I'd one day be putting in to kayak the creek. It was a bit of a walk from the parking spot, more than I'd done for my previous runs, but no problem none the less, though I can see now the value of a good 'backpack' system for a boat.

For the first 20 minutes in and around the put in (just below the lower double falls with the non-suspension) people scouted the falls, a few with the idea to run them. Half the people had gone down already as the first group, and the rest of us thought nothing was going on, then it happened. With about 8 of us running good safety Ryan and Steve ran the falls, it was amazing, the first time I'd ever seen anyone run a waterfall in person. I couldn't believe how fast it was.

After that the run seemed anti-climactic. We ran down on what seemed like a low water, slightly more restricted version of Statlu Creek (the lead in to Chehalis). There were a few spots where some moves had to be made, and one hole to break through, I could imagine it being difficult at high water. I misjudged a rock at one point and ended up rolling up, but overall it was only slightly more difficult than Chilliwack Canyon.

The point of the run though it to remind people of what the sport is often all about, which is to bring people together to have fun, and it was fun! I felt the rush of experiencing a new run for the first time in over a month, a very welcome experience. I watched my first waterfall descent in person as well as a manky IV/IV+ rapid run afterwards, and I enjoyed a challenging run that I was well prepared for (much better than the alternative!).

Lynn Creek opens up many alternatives, it was the first run distinctly pegged as one beginners cannot run by the people I ran it with, and it opens doors. The next steps are things like Chilliwack Lake down to Post Creek, the creeks besides Slesse feeding into the Chilliwack, Sowaqua Creek, Silverhope Creek and finally Norrish Creek and Seymour Canyon. I hope to be running these in the next 6 months at the very least. Chilliwack Lake down was the run Ryan originally intended on running with me the day we did the Lynn, so that will probably be coming very soon regardless.

My new goal for my first year of paddling is to do two things, the first is to finally huck a waterfall, the second is to run some kind of class V rapid or section of river. I am about to buy a new creek boat which will help me to more safely attain these goals. This just goes to show you that if you want something, with a little bit of time and work, you can do it.
Lynn Creek from above

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