Monday, November 17, 2008

Back in Oregon...Just in Time for the rain

Sorry I've not made time to post in awhile. Been working hard to catch up with life in the big city. It's nice to be home, soaking in all the things that were missed the most during my travels, but I find myself gaining appreciation for the slower pace of life in the hills of Scotland. I think not having to work all month had something to do with that. Now I'm back in the grind of things coaching, planning, and working the floor at Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe.

I hit the ground running at work, but have made time for some fun along the way. We were out to the Oregon Coast for a short day of coastal paddling at Alder Creek's employee trip. The boys of the Third Plane Team and I were out for a day of creeking high in the hills of SW Washington, on a tributary of the NW fork of the Washougl named Hagen Gorge, first run in 2006. We even managed a couple runs on the "back yard" favorite Canyon Creek. For now, I will post on Canyon Creek in Washington. Look for the others soon...

I have really enjoyed all the interest and support from the paddling community, and It's a great feeling to know that I can keep friends and family up to date with my shenanigans. I'm inclined to maintain this blog for awhile with the hope that it will continue to drive others to get out there and find adventure and freedom in something that inspires them. Boating keeps me taking pictures and putting them to words, enjoying time with friends, experiencing new places. Thanks for checking in once and awhile. Now, for Canyon Creek...

The weather in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. is, if nothing else... reliable. The whitewater season generally runs well into September and begins almost every year just after Halloween. I timed my Scotland trip perfectly. The day after I arrived home, it began to rain!! Canyon Creek doesn't take much rain to come in. It was an obvious choice to kick the season off right. The close proximity to Portland and fun character of the run, makes this one of the most popular intermediate creeking runs in the NW. It's a stepping stone on the way to the all the classic class V runs the surround us here. Chris was about to be initiated. Nick and I also rallied out for a run on Canyon Creek yesterday with Greg. Some of those photos will be used below.

The view looking down into the canyon at the heart of the run

We took our time on the top and made sure to have a look at the important ones. Richard and Dave have only been on the run at higher water, and Chris was stepping it up for his hardest run to date.

Dave, Chris, Richard all having a look at "Terminator"

Nick nails the top boof before Terminator on our run just yesterday (at a higher flow)

While Nick waits at the bottom of the outflow of Terminator, Dave and Richard stick the line...And then there was one.

I think many of us can relate to this feeling. Standing alone at the top of a rapid that has the potential to hurt more than your ego. Chris was out of his comfort zone, but handling it well. He had styled the entrance rapids above, and was ready for the challenge.

It was go time. Chris drew in one last deep breath as he eases into the eddy above the twisting drop.

The outcome seemed to be a big confidence booster for Chris. He continued to clean rapid after rapid despite this being his first time in a creek boat on anything but class III. It was a friendly level, and a great day to go for it. The photo below shows the same rapid at a better medium+ flow.

Nick making the turn at the crux.

There is lots of great rapids leading up to the drop zone, but "Big Kahuna" lets you know when your there. Mist billows up from a horizon line that looks out over the distant tree tops from across the fish bowl pool at the bottom. It's easy to scout, and is much less intimidating then it looks from the top. Everyone ran their own variation on the far right boof flake line.

Nick stomps it

Dave falls off the flake to the left, but flushes

Richard, makes it look easy

The next shots of the drop zone were taken on the Canyon Creek run Nick, Greg, and I took yesterday. It was at a perfect water level. The drop zone consists of Big Kahuna, a couple boulder gardens, and two beautiful ledge drops called Campaign and Hammering Spot. Below that the river cascades into Lake Merwin for a long flat water paddle out.
Nick at Hammering Spot

Greg comes into view above Champagne.
Another great day on a local favorite!

That's all for now. Check back in soon for Hagen Gorge and Oregon Coast beach shots. I will try to post about once a week for now.