Thursday, April 21, 2011

Freyball Runs His First Falls!

I'm not sure how I got the nickname Freyball, but it seems to have stuck. Anyway last weekend Kiah and I headed down to East Fork or Lewis River in Washington with a group from The Vancouver Kayak Club in an effort to run our first water falls and potentially also Canyon Creek at the Northwest Creeking Competition.

Not even sure if it would be worth going as Friday afternoon the water was at 2270 CFS and rising, we headed out anyway arriving around 2 AM to pouring rain which would continue through the night! We woke to reports varying from 3600-3700 CFS (It actually spiked that day at about 3350). We spent most of the morning meeting boaters and checking out the scene, it being the first festival/competition I'd attended in my so far short time paddling. The scene was awesome, the organizers put on a great time down there, though numbers were less because of the high water levels it was an amazing time! There was a local beer sponsor that brought out 2 kegs that were polished off by noon!

We went with some people to check out the gorge, which looked like a sketchy class IV+ or V drop with a big tree stuck at the narrowest part (normally high above the water). We saw Tao Berman and some other kayakers style it (some of the few people who actually ended up running a 2400 CFS Canyon Creek that day as well), but decided to leave it alone for ourselves. By the time we found out the race had been changed from Sunset Falls through the Gorge to above Sunset to just after the falls it was too late for us to get in.

After the race we ended up running the section above the falls, normally an easy class III run it became a bit pushy with the water, but not bad. We also ran the falls a few times, which was a lot of fun! They were incredibly forgiving, and very aerated with all the water running over, making for a nice soft landing. What an experience, not a lot of people will know what it's like to kayak over a waterfall, but it's really worth it, I've never had such an adrenaline driven time in my life, it was incredibly unnerving sitting in the eddy above, realizing as soon as you hit the current there was no turning back!

The Sunday we'd planned to hit Horseshoe Falls, but the landowner had shut off access above it, so the only way in was through the gorge, which we weren't yet all comfortable running at the water level (now down to 2800 CFS or so). Overall it was a great weekend with decent weather and we couldn't ask for much more!

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