Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Middle Santiam: The Concussion run.

With all the water out of our rivers and into the ocean, Eric Arlington, Chris Arnold, Gary Truyens, and myself headed down to the M Santiam for some dam released action. The gauge indicated that they were releasing around 2100cfs everyday around 1:00pm. We got to the river around 3:00pm, and it was flowing. The gate to the dam was closed, so we had about a quarter mile hike in.
(gearing up at the gate.)

(The hike.)
When we got to what we thought was the put-in, the gate was locked with a "no trespassing" sign. There was, however, a trail just outside the gate that led to the river without having to trespass.
(Locked gates can suck.)
The run starts off pretty mellow, and gradually increases in difficulty the further downstream you travel. There were some fun playspots up to Swiss Cheese.

(Eric on the first decent play wave.)
(Chris drops in.)

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of Swiss Cheese or Scrawleys Wall; and the pictures I snapped of Concussion do not do it any justice. I found out about this run while parusing Oregonkayaking.net, and subsequently knew about the extremely dangerous sieve in the middle of this drop. We scouted the nasty sieve, and then ran the rapid without problems. This was a really, really fun rapid that had some huge waves and holes in it. At the bottom of the rapid was an awesome wave with decent eddy service. We played on this wave for about an hour.
(Concussion from downstream. You can see the boulder pile that creates the sieve in the middle of the river.)

( Gary, Eric, and Chris eddied out at the bottom of Concussion, getting ready to surf it up.)





(Chris trying to loop; which he almost did. It was almost retentive enough to do so. Maybe if we were better playboaters!)

Although this run is short (2 miles), it was well worth the drive from PDX. You can do laps, and it's a relatively easy bike shuttle. You can also extend the run by spending some time on the huge waves that litter this run. I'd say this is the best low-water, summer option we have right now.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oregon Coast

This weekend Sara and I ended up heading out to the Oregon Coast. We met up with Brian Rudd, and headed to Indian beach. The surf wasn't the best I've ever been in, but it's always fun. Sara got some shots off, so I figured I'd post 'em up. I demoed a sick surf kayak made by Valley from Alder Creek. Unfortunately, the camera didn't make it out until later in the day. If you're a surf veteran, and haven't checked one out, talk the the folks at Alder Creek. They'll hook you up.

(Sara took this killer shot)

(Brian gets on it)

(Myself working on a blunt)

(Rudd on one of the bigger ones of the day)

(The view at Indian)

I love hitting the surf. I actually spend more time with my playboat in the surf than on the river. If you are a boater who lives in the area, and haven't been in the surf yet, check it out. Its a lot of fun! All you need is a strong roll, a tight fitting skirt, and good judgement. The ocean however, definately demands respect. Rip currents, cold water, and powerful hydraulics can easily make for a bad day in the surf. Always wear a lifejacket and helmet, and never boat alone. The Oregon Coast is a beautiful place to spend a day when everything else is all dried up.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Over Labor Day weekend, I finally made my first trip to Idaho. I was fortunate enough to meet up with ex-Boise-local Erik Larsen and the "Boise Boaters" crew, and head up highway 55 to the Payette drainage.

(Sara and I saw this crazy looking rainstorm just outside of Pendleton)
(Ya! Idaho!)
We got in Friday night, met up with Erik and his friend Kelli Pavelko, and set up camp at the Alder Creek camp site. The campsite was awesome, and by Saturday night, it was loaded to the gills with boaters. Chris Arnold and Eric Arlington got in super late On Saturday night. Erik, Kelli, Chris, Eric, and myself met up with a huge groups of Boise locals and headed up to do the SF Payette Canyon section. It was an awesome twelve mile class III-IV (V) run, with warm water, great scenery, awesome playspots, and one huge and scary drop: Big Falls. Big Falls drops about thirty feet in four or five steps through monsterous holes. When we got out to portage Big Falls, we heard that someone had decided to run it. We watched some dude totally clean the whole thing. It was impressive. Unfortunately, I decided not to bring the camera that day, and ended up with no shots. On Sunday, we headed down to run the Staircase section on the SF Payette. The Staircase section is another quality run on the SF. After the SF, the plan was to head up and run the NF Payette. We hooked up with local Mike Copeland (who runs the Boise Boaters yahoo! group) to lead us down. Now I haven't had the chance to paddle much big water, and I was really nervous about paddling this river. Just a week before, a NF veteran paddler of ten years drowned on the upper section, and I'd definately heard horror stories from this river. We made a plan to run the lower five section. On the scout, Eric Arlington and I decided to play it cool and stick to the warm-up.

(Scouting the NF)

As we got to the put-in, I started to get really nervous. Sara later said that she'd never seen that look in my eyes. Whether we were NF vet's or virgins, the tension was in the air.

(Eric Arlington putting on)

(Erik Larsen: "NF have many big holes!")
(Me nervous, and Sara calming me down)


(Myself taking the boof line at Hound's)

(Eric Arlington at Hound's)

(Chris Arnold takes the main line at Hound's)

(Erik "sack-up" Larsen, aka "Uncle Lar-Lar" boofing it up at Hound's)

After Houndstooth, I started getting in to the swing of things on the NF; which is very different than the tight, technical creeking we have in Portland. At this point, the river became a lot of big and pushy fun!

(Chris Arnold somewhere in Otter)

I don't know if there are any named rapids between Houndstooth and Otter, but we cruised through what seemed like a mile-long, continuous rapid, and got to Otter. Mike told us the lines, and we headed though Otter. Halfway through, we eddied out on the left after a huge hole, and then ferried across to the river right. Mike said this was the "Scary Ferry".

(The group, minus our leader, Mike Copeland, halfway through Otter)

(Erik Larsen at the "Scary Ferry")

(Eric Arlington at the "Scary Ferry")

(Myself at the "Scary Ferry")

(Eddied out at the bottom of Otter)

(Chris Arnold in Juicer)
(Erik Larsen in Juicer)

(The crew finishes off Juicer)

(Looking upstream at Crunch)

(Mike Copeland, Chris Arnold, and Erik Larsen at the top of Crunch)

(Mike Copeland gets ready to punch one of many, many holes at Crunch)

(Chris Arnold at Crunch)

(Erik Larsen at Crunch)

(Looking downstream of Crunch)

All in all, Idaho was f-ing amazing, and I can't wait to go back. A special thanks to Erik Larsen for inviting us PDXer's out... To Kelli for taking pictures... To Mike Copeland for leading us down... To Ben, Mike and Cathy, Jim, and Phil, for being super friendly and giving good beta. Hit me up if you guys ever come out to PDX.

(Lasty, I'd like to give a big F-you to the obnoxious 1:00am guitar player for not letting me get any sleep! I'll find you SUCKA!!!!! Just Joking, I'm not really THAT pissed.)