Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Puntledge Festival and Cameron Creek

This last weekend was the annual Puntledge River Festival in Courtenay/Comox, BC...on the island of course. The Puntledge River is an amazing river held back by a dam most of the time, but it is awesome to see they do controlled releases that allow paddlers to get out on the water! A huge thanks goes out to the people who make this possible within the paddling community and BC Hydro.

After looking at Nymph Falls with a good 85 CMS flowing down and the huge 'ender holes' that form on the slides, I barely recognized it when I checked it out in it's 'usual' dam controlled fairly waterless state with kids playing on the riverbed and whatnot!

The Puntledge has 2 runs on it, an amazing playrun with a good amount of great, stable surf waves and holes and a stout Upper class IV+/V section with huge slides, riverwide, ender holes to avoid, a difficult double falls rapid (Stotin Falls) and is about 300 feet wide making safety and rescues very unlikely.

After heading up for a run on the Upper Browns River, a trib of Puntledge, we found the road impassable, and to my surprise headed to the Upper Puntledge put-in, so I had my chance to run it but decided this was one I'd leave until I'm a better paddler, mostly in light of the consequences for blown lines on the slides. I ended up trying to polish my surfing skills, which are sorely lacking, on the lower run for the remainder of the festival. Some people did a first descent of the Alpine Browns, almost from the headwaters as I understand it, which is pretty cool and adds another great island creek run!

Sunday night a couple of us ended up heading to Cameron Creek for a quick run, what a beautiful canyon that is, reminded me a lot of Canyon Creek on the Lewis except with smaller, more technical drops, no falls and shorter pools. I ended up breaking my paddle on one rapid and had to C-1 it down a rapid and a half before I caught an eddy, that was a bit unnerving, then I almost lost my drain plug which popped out of my boat! Luckily for me, Ryan had his breakdown. We just barely made it to the ferry in time after putting on around 6:30 PM.

So basically, another great weekend of island boating was had, and what a festival, The Fraser Valley Drinking Team lived up to their monacre taking the cake on the party end of things as well I reckon!

Ryan posing with the broken paddle

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