Sunday, October 9, 2016

Beaverfest 2016

This year instead of going to the Raquette Race as usual on the Saturday of the Labour Day long weekend I instead decided to take in the sights and sounds of Beaverfest in all its glory. I’d never done the Taylorville section so it would give me the chance to run something new while at the same time enjoying the ever so classic Moshier and Eagle sections before hitting the Raquette on the holiday Monday at it’s meatier release level.

As usual, there were a ton of paddlers of varying difficulty at each place and every event. The alternative for most at Beaverfest who don’t do Taylorville the Saturday is the Raquette Race, but besides that everyone usually gets on Moshier and Eagle (which also has a race on the Sunday).

The Raquette and Eagle are two of the races of the ‘Whitewater King of New York’ competition, the other two are on the Black earlier in the year and the Moose at Moosefest in October. This provides a good release and competition schedule for those who are into it. The Raquette and Moose do also feature a number of releases throughout the year. Moshier, arguably the most interesting section of the Beaver, sadly releases only one day a year, the Sunday of the Labour Day long weekend.

This year…as was the norm two years ago when I last attended, we lucked out with some amazing bluebird skies and warm weather! Of course, as mentioned, there will be a ton of paddlers at these events, you can expect boat lineups at many rapids of the more accessible sections of the Beaver, but also packed rapids on the more difficult Eagle section and the Raquette. If you don’t like boating with lots of people and a festival environment, this is probably not the place for you. If you do like it…you will love it! It’s a similar feel to Moosefest but a lot warmer normally.

Below are some pictures I grabbed from the weekend.

Put in for Taylorville.

Just after the put in.

The bottom of the above rapid. It actually forms a pretty brutal hole that causes some swims.

The slide following.

A good involuntary rodeo hole at the bottom...

The right side of the next rapid.

Looking back up at the slide.

The other option for the next rapid, you can also climb back up and run this nice notch.

Lineups everywhere on this run...

Following is a fun little slide with some boof options.

The last section of Taylorville.

The far right boof option on the aforementioned rapid.

A boof on the final rapid.

Some play at the takeout.

Lots of people!

Everyone comes out for Moshier! This is the penstock buried underground.

Fran├žois Tremblay on the Moshier spillway, the biggest rapid of the weekend on anything normally. A nice 20 footer into a big slide with an old object in the middle at the bottom that can be hazardous.

Two good options at the start of Moshier, including a nice falls on the left.

The rapid following, another nice slide/falls.

The runout of the slide/falls.

The last rapid on Moshier, Moshier Falls, a fun 4 part drop.

The first slide on Eagle.

Geoff Calhoun on the second slide of Eagle in a handsomely coloured longboat.

The base of the second slide can kick.

Lots of spectators going into the third slide, where the carnage happens.

Eagle finishes with a nice boof.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

West Coast/Cali Spring 2016

This spring I got back from working in Europe, and after a short trip to the SouthEast USA to paddle was able to get over to the West Coast for awhile to boat a fun trip between BC/Washington/Oregon/California and New Mexico. It was definitely a welcome change from the cold thaw back home in Quebec!

Highlights of the trip include paddling with great friends old and new and a few key runs that stood out: Robe Canyon, 49 to Bridgeport of the SF Yuba, Embudo Creek and the Upper Clavey. But there really weren't any bad times! I did also manage to finagle my way into almost every major drainage in Cali while there with the good snowpack not even started to melt really, it's gonna be a long season...!

I was boating a new Dagger Nomad Large, which I was initially fighting with, but we settled into an understanding after the first couple weeks and get along well now.

Following is a collection of photos, some decent quality and some less decent quality that tell a bit of the story of the about 24 different new sections of river I managed to paddle.

49 to Bridgeport on the South Yuba seems to be THE go to dayrun in Cali....after hitting it up I wouldn't argue with that! It seemed like Cooper River meets Robe Canyon for those familiar with the Washington scene.

Denny descending the little waterfall drop on a very low water Upper Norrish, but a beauty day!

Everyone stretches out before a Classic Norrish run, man look at that water, so golden.

Owen getting wet at Whaletale on classic Norrish.

Denny also getting wet on Waletale, classic Norrish.

Tegan spanking the must run entrance on classic Norrish.

Chris suggested the Cascade River in the...Cascade Park in northern Washington. Tegan and I went there the next day and had a great time making our way down!

The pool below 'Where's Scott Drop' on the NF Sauk. I'm pretty sure Brett suggested this, it was an out of the way gem.

Tegan suggested hiking in to the not run in forever Upper Canyon Creek Stilliguamish, turned out to be a slog through some brush after getting lost but we eventually found the river in time to finish an hour after dark...

Sweet redemption came the next day with our first runs down Robe Canyon and reuniting with Kiah who I hadn't seen in years! Photo by Nick Baughman.

Rob on Sunset Falls of the East Fork Lewis. Despite the low levels siphoning many off to the much more moist Leavenworth this was still as classic a weekend as we are used to having at this event!

Breitenbush Creek in Oregon was a fun little jaunt. Sadly this photo of the only wood hazard is the only one I have.

Oregon high plains camping is nice...but can be cold!

The Upper Crooked River in Oregon had decent whitewater and near unmatched scenery. This is looking at Chinese Dam rapid at the end/beginning of the lower.

I was so stoked when I learned the Narrow Escape Colorado crew was coming to Cali just as I was. We got a week of nice boating in. JMack on little Niagara of the Hospital Rock section MF Kaweah.

The V boys lapped us on Hospital Rock, I snapped a shot of them at a triple drop.

John Baker as solid as ever boofing the bottom of the 420 gorge entrance in his little Tutea.

Tony getting it on at Clover Creek near the top of the pass between the Kings and Kaweah drainages in Sequoia Park. This kind of boating was Tony's cup of tea.

Kevin stomping some gradient on Clover.

Camping with the Colorado boys (or any crew of awesome people) is almost as good as the whitewater. Here we're at the transition between the hike in Upper NF and Lower NF Kaweah. Yes, we spent a lot of time in that drainage!

Tony on the Lower NF Kaweah Cherry Falls.

John on the same rapid.

The boys running out the MF Kaweah section above the regular park boundary section. Put in at a trail by the sewage treatment plant.

Joni on the Upper Clavey. This picture does not do the creek justice. This is in the first mile of low volume with some wood portages. The next 7+ miles of this run are classic great kayaking with some meaty drops!

Danny boofs in Disneyland, AKA Amusement Park rapid on the SF Cal-Salmon. The Cal-salmon race is a time not to be passed up.

At the last minute I decided to join the boys at the Embudo Race in New Mexico. This is a great event I highly recommend and an amazing section of river. Like the Ashnola of the south!

John airs out Little Niagara at Hospital Rock.

Big trees in this here state!