Monday, July 21, 2014

Deer Creek - 2013

I only got into Deer Creek once this past season.
I love this run!

Deer Creek, Oso Washington, Badass Rivers, Kayaking near Oso, Oso river, Adrian Wigston, Brad Xanthopolous, Brock Gavery, Sean Lee, Mike Nash, Mamba 8.6 Creeker, Dagger Mamba 8.6

So while I was living in Everett for the winter I thought I would get on Deer Creek at least a handful times. We had some odd weather parterns for the 2013 winter and the Stilliguamish didn't get very high very often. The only time that Deer Creek came in was on a Saturday morning when I was getting off of a 12 hour shift.



Deer Creek, Oso Washington, Badass Rivers, Kayaking near Oso, Oso river, Adrian Wigston, Brad Xanthopolous, Brock Gavery, Sean Lee, Mike Nash, Mamba 8.6 Creeker, Dagger Mamba 8.6

Adrian had called me the night before and told me he was gonna rally. I texted him at about 5am and said that I had left the front door to my appartment open. I fell asleep thinking I was in the clear and that people were gonna bail. I was wrong.


Deer Creek, Oso Washington, Badass Rivers, Kayaking near Oso, Oso river, Adrian Wigston, Brad Xanthopolous, Brock Gavery, Sean Lee, Mike Nash, Mamba 8.6 Creeker, Dagger Mamba 8.6



Deer Creek, Oso Washington, Badass Rivers, Kayaking near Oso, Oso river, Adrian Wigston, Brad Xanthopolous, Brock Gavery, Sean Lee, Mike Nash, Mamba 8.6 Creeker, Dagger Mamba 8.6


I woke up to a Llama in my livingroom at 8am and it was time to start the coffee maker and get all my gear together.

Deer Creek, Oso Washington, Badass Rivers, Kayaking near Oso, Oso river, Adrian Wigston, Brad Xanthopolous, Brock Gavery, Sean Lee, Mike Nash, Mamba 8.6 Creeker, Dagger Mamba 8.6



So we were off. I have to say that I was definitly not having the best of days on the water. I was a little gripped and this didn't translate well in the canyon. I was missing strokes and missing lines. I walked Hudson and the double drop rapid. I also took the scariest sneak-line I've ever taken when I opted out of the Next large rapid after Hudson. All in all it was still a great day on the water. Even the shittiest day on the water is better than your best day on dry land. Huge shout out to the motivated crew that had to hoof it into Deer Creek.


Here is a quick edit I threw together of our run down Deer Creek in March of 2013. I was delerious and out of my mind so for some reason I only have levels from the night before we boated. I feel that Robe was in the vicinity of 7.8 feet? My river log has Deer Creek on 3/2@ 0239 level 1402 cfs.



Monday, June 30, 2014

Jah Bisson runs POW at 9,000 cfs



Jeremy Bisson is a beast. A kind and super under-rated paddler; Jeremy really doesn't mind letting it all hang out sometimes.


After a couple great laps from the Dam to the Red Bridge on Tumwater Canyon, Jeremy decided to fire up POW.


Needless to say; I offered to shoot and "set safety"...







Paddler: Jeremy Bisson
Music: Willy Moon - Railroad Track

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Upper Lempa - El Salvador

Upper Rio Lempa.
El Salvador
May 31 & June 1, 2014



After my recent run on the Upper Rio Lempa, Central America paddling expert Greg Schwendinger of MayanWhitewater.com (MW) informed me mine was the first run down this river since his last descent in 2003.

That led me to ask how such a quality canyon could go unseen by kayakers for more than a decade.

Several things combine to make this one difficult to tackle. Unfortunately for my visit, all the cards were stacked up in my contra. I think I redefined “off-the couch.” While I’m active, surf daily, and take my boat out into the ocean every so often, I hadn’t paddled on a river since July 2013 when I left my beloved state of Washington for surfing and a business venture in El Salvador.

It wasn’t long before I pined for the river. Having Washington paddlers like John Ehlinger and Brad Xanthopoulos visit me in the tropics reminded me that I can’t hide out down here forever. Not only did Brad show up in El Salvador with a suitcase full of microbrew, but he also helped me weld my cracked Nomad with the quality welding strips Jeremy Bisson donated before I crossed into Mexico last year. With a welded boat, an impending rainy season, and beta from the MW site, my eyes focused on two particular runs:

1 - Rio Jiboa
2 – Upper Rio Lempa

My main interest in the Jiboa run (other than its quality confirmed by Greg Schwendinger and Rocky Contos’ descent in 2010) is its proximity to my house.  However, the level on the Jiboa seemed less cooperative while the Lempa sat just above what Greg described as a good flow. Lempa Time.

Mayan Whitewater's river description of Upper Rio Lempa:
http://mayanwhitewater.com/rivers/salvador/lempaupper.html

A lot has changed in El Salvador since 2003. Along with increasingly crowded surf lineups, there is also a sick new highway that makes the Upper Lempa takeout a breeze.

After reviewing MW’s listing , I decided that a more practical shuttle route was available. Considering that I had never run ANY of the well described sections of Lempa, I decided to tackle the entire 26km stretch starting from the Citalá bridge at the border with Honduras all the way down to the “new” takeout at the bridge in the town of Santa Rosa Guachipilín. The existing shuttle suggested several hours of driving on rugged roads. I decided I would rather spend extra time on the river versus in the car. Using Google earth, it appeared I was only adding ~6km (3.7 miles) to the run.

Shuttle Route for Upper Lempa


I might be the only whitewater paddler in El Salvador, so unfortunately this descent included just one kayak. I took the day off on Friday to ensure I had everything ready for the trip. I adjusted outfitting, corralled my dry bags & carabiners, and put together a list for the hardware and grocery stores.  I arrived at my girlfriend’s place on Friday evening and we took it easy so I could rest up for the big weekend.

Saturday morning was ominous in San Salvador. Steady, heavy rain blitzed the city from all angles. The weather report I had seen for the region of El Salvador where I would paddle looked favorable, so I remained optimistic. After the 1.5-hour drive to the takeout, the report was confirmed. Blue skies and a nice, low first-time level. The gauge read just under 1.1 meters on May 31, but the river at the takeout looked low, and scrapy. After confirming our take-out meeting spot was legit, we then left in the same vehicle for the put-in. 20 minutes past the famous alpine town “La Palma” sits the Citalá bridge. I was disappointed to find that what absolutely HAD to be Rio Lempa bore no sign on the bridge to confirm. I didn’t want to risk putting onto some nearby tributary (levels were low and scrapy at the put-in too) so I asked a few locals if indeed I was gazing into Rio Lempa’s waters. “Cabal, ese es Rio Lempa”. 3 people told me I was in the right place. The last person told me that I could cross into Honduras without waiting in line. Boom. that was the confirmation I needed.

Early on Lempa Flats. Just below Citalá bridge.


Eugenia left me at the put-in at 2:30 pm and I started my descent. According to MW, I had 1.5 hours of class III paddling before getting to the “Ruta del Jaguar” class IV section. Not taking any chances, early on I scouted 2-3 times. The first rapid, a distinct boulder garden, required scouting to pick a clean route through its channels. That one was manky and shallow. I then continued down for approximately 1 hour until getting to second scout. I couldn’t tell from upstream, but there was a very cool passage through the river right side, cuddled against the canyon wall. After paddling (err scraping) down the center to left line, I noted from downstream that river right was good to go.

Second Scout 

 Soon after second scout came third scout, which appeared to be the rapid MW discussed as having the “blind left curve”. On hard river left sat a nasty undercut shoulder dislocating fanglike beast. That side was quickly identified as undesirable. I had to spend several minutes here getting a clear view of river right and what lay after the “blind left curve”. The line was center to hard river right, and then around the blind curve. Opting instead for the 90 degree left turn, I later saw that I missed a nice boof, up against the large boulder 10 feet downstream of the turn. This rapid was fun, class IV, and not too pushy.

Third Scout
Some Beta on Third Scout

One drop down from third scout came “Left Boof”. This rapid channeled river left onto a sweet launching pad into a clean pool within constricted rock formations. The center line on this rapid looked manky.

Left Boof

From there I continued downstream in uninterrupted fashion for approximately 2 hours. There were maybe 2 scouts between “Left Boof” and where I camped for the night, still above the harder canyon section. Both scouts I encountered after “Left Boof” turned out to be clean, simple, good-to-go Class III+ or IV- rapids, but with limited visibility from upstream.

Lempa Rock Formations

View from Downstream on river left after scouting. There was limited visibility upstream on this one. Boat scoutable.

This one was simple but should be scouted. There are undercut rocks on river right. Stay center.

I passed a few decent looking spots to camp, but nothing really jumped out at me. I wanted to get as far down the canyon as possible to ensure I had enough light the following day.  Without doubt, I started my descent on Saturday too late. We lost time on Saturday with our insurance stop at the takeout to make sure we had an agreed upon meeting point, finding the put-in, and we just left home too late. Typical.

I had enough light after making camp to forge a rain shelter, organize gear, and get a spread ready.  I used my paddle to shovel nearby sand and create a flatter sleeping area under the tarp. Dinner consisted of pre-cooked chicken sausage, an apple, cheese, water, an orange, and a PBH (Peanut Butter & Honey).

Sure enough, after a day of bluebird skies and 4 hours in a kayak where a splash of water was no detriment, it began to rain. It was light but somewhat steady. Enough that being outside the rain shelter was uncomfortable. With dry clothes on, I wasn’t cold. I had a thin rain shell jacket to keep me dry but avoid getting hot. My rain shelter was pretty close to the ground and uncomfortable for anything but lying down. Using my boat as a backrest, I ate dinner in the rain-free zone and it became completely dark just before 7:00 pm. I hadn’t worked hard enough to fall asleep that early. Fortunately the rain stopped. Safety meeting. I puttered around the campsite for a few hours, checking out the awesome rocks near the shoreline and was alerted by the presence of two large spiders whose eyes blazed with the peripheral glow of my headlamp. 

It started raining again around mid-night, after I had fallen asleep. My rain shelter was in the flattest area of the campsite, but it certainly wasn’t the widest. A large rock wall angled around 30 degrees created one extreme of my sleeping area while the roots from a large nearby tree marked the other. Rain splashed off the side of the rock like faint mist that was just damp enough to irritate me. I changed positions to place my head at the opposite end of the shelter.  That side was getting splashed a little now too due to the wind, but I was wearing my hooded rain shell and that side appeared better than the opposite end. As the wind fluxed, I restlessly attempted to sleep comfortably, all the while kicking up grits of sand onto my therma-rest. I forgot to bring a ground cover.  Typical. I remember saying to my self repeatedly that “it could be so much worse”, which was true. I was dry with the exception of a minor dampness either near the top of my head or my feet. If I wouldn’t move around, I could keep sand off my sleeping pad. But it was hard to sleep. I thought about the potential of the river level spiking,. The rain was still relatively light. I made a few trips outside of the rain shelter to adjust its angle and allow less rain to enter.

I dosed off for a few hours before waking again. The rain was harder now, and the wind was vigorous. Although I was dry and warm enough, sleeping became a significant challenge. Then I heard a low rumble that became louder, followed by the obvious sound of increased water flow at the nearby stream feeding into Lempa. Headlamp on. Shoes on. WTF. I responded quickly and eyed a location to move boating gear. Water from that stream came within 15 feet of where I was sleeping before the sound grew weaker and the water level ebbed. The scare lasted close to 10 minutes. Miniature flash-flood.

Rough Night

At cockcrow the river level was notably pumping. The place where I had pulled my boat out of the river the night before was now completely underwater, along with the 3-foot rock that was sitting atop that bank. I remember not panicking, but immediately shifted from thoughts of an awesome Sunday to a “game-on” mentality. First task was getting sleep. The rain had completely stopped, I was still dry, and after a rough night I was able to fall asleep and remain that way for nearly 3 hours.

My original plan was to wake up early on Sunday, and start my descent as soon as possible. It was 9 by the time I had my gear together, food ingested, and was ready to start. Before gearing up, my teeth chattered, but I wasn’t cold.

Increased Flow on Day-Two.  Citalá Gauge - 1.4m.

The first hour of paddling was awesome. The river remained wide and the flow was powerful. In my head I repeated the advice from Mayan Whitewater: “Crux Move: patient scouting”.

Remember when I mentioned redefining “off the couch”? Let’s go ahead and review this list. I hadn’t been on a river for 10 months, I was descending a new river solo, in a class V canyon, the flow was significantly higher than recommendable, l was low on drinking water, tired as fuck, in a loaded down boat.  

I scouted. And I scouted patiently. No chances. I found MW’s overall description to be accurate:  The upper Lempa is classic Central American class V creeking in a steep secluded canyon. The scenery reminds me of California. The pool-drop rapids are varied and high-quality, with some drops getting quite big. When boat-scouting, I recommend doing so extra-defensively since I found several rapids drawing me in a little too close for comfort. The river provides some challenges to everyone, yet when it gets too challenging there is always a portage option over the boulders…. the drops seemed to get bigger and trickier towards the end of the canyon.”

I had to portage 3 times, and 2 of the three were extremely difficult and tiring because of the weight of my boat. On the first portage, I scouted from the wrong side of the river. I had already hiked all the way downstream and back before realizing that I would not run the rapid. and needed to first get to the other side.

The rapid I just described is the one pictured in the MW listing. Here is a look at the same spot on June 1, 2014:

Crux Canyon

Another significant rapid. View from the Scout

View from the boat
Lunch Hole
Crux Move in "a long road to a big hole" right below this hole all the current feeds into the big one, alongside the large rock 40 feet downstream on river right. No margin for error in this hole above it. There was a line to the left of this covered rock to the left of my bow in the picture. But it was hard to make. I tried and missed.
More cool rock formations from Day 1
This one looks burly in the picture but it was the best rapid on the run. It has a straightforward toungue right down the middle, its clean and it went smoothly. You just have to get past this entry wave first..

Just as described in MW, the rapids were more challenging closer to the end of the run. Since I didn’t know where the end of the run was, I maintained absolute focus for each horizon line, each ledge, and each river bend. I took water at regular intervals, and had an orange at lunch. I came to a rapid that I later described in photos as “A long road to a big hole”. This one was a clean big-water style rapid that would be an absolute blast if not for a massive hole on far river right below the crux of the drop. Unfortunately all the water feeds into that hole and feeds into it quickly.  I decided to run the rapid, and in real-life it was as just as hard to get left of the hole as it looked while scouting. In the video clip, you can see me skirting just left at ~ 01:15.

There were several significant rapids below there and the final rapid of the canyon, which was the steepest of the entire run. After portaging it, I was able to get a clearer picture of the canyon walls at the bottom of the drop and now consider it to be runnable even at the high flow.

Last Rapid in the Canyon Section

Immediately after that last drop, the scenery changed and I appeared to have reached the end of Lempa’s most challenging section, unscathed. My hopes were confirmed when I saw typical El Salvadoran street dogs running along the banks of the river barking at me. I passed a couple fishermen bearing looks of disbelief and saw people herding cows on the hillside. 

The fun continued in Class III+ to IV- fashion all the way to the takeout.  I passed several quality surf waves and one with large eddy service. Pleasantly surprised, it only took me around 30 minutes to get from the end of the canyon section to the bridge where Eugenia was waiting for me.  Along the way there was a hammock bridge with a small store on river right. You wouldn’t know it was a store, but if you have my luck, you’ll see people down by the water and they can point you in the right direction.  I only had a 10 dollar bill with me, and without change the owner donated two small plastic bags of Agua Cristal to my cause (In El Salvador we drink out of sacks). I guzzled them down and thanked the owner for her kindness. She asked me why the school buses with rafts never came anymore. 

At this point morale was at an all-time high for the trip.  I had survived the canyon, I was hydrated, and according to the locals I had not far to go for the bridge at Santa Rosa Guachipilín. They told me that from their small village of Caserío Lempa it was a 30-minute drive to the take-out bridge. A few fun surf waves down, I caught sight of a cell-phone tower and sent a text to Eugenia that I made it out safely. I celebrated with a safety meeting.

The take-out bridge at Santa Rosa Guachipilín was 2-3 river bends down from the view of that cell-phone tower, and it marked the end of my trip.

In a show of excellent character, the car had 3 cold beers waiting for me, and I got to sip them on the way home while Eugenia drove. I was only 15 minutes late for our scheduled meeting time.

Now that’s boom.


Adrian Wigston, reporting for Fluid: As a Lifestyle, from El Salvador.



Friday, June 13, 2014

Jah Amigos - Aerial footage of Tumwater Canyon at 10,000 cfs

A couple weeks back I was able to introduce Jeremy Bisson and Jonathan Ehlinger to the guys over at AerialMediaWorks in Chelan WA.

AerialMediaWorks


Tumwater Canyon was in the 10,000 cfs range and that means a lot of the river becomes a little too stressful for the average weekend warrior.


However; when Tumwater is that high, it means that the middle section of the river just gets better and better. The Dam Rapid and the three following rapids (the Three Amigos) get better and better the higher it gets.



Whats as my buddies get super sick on the Amigos Section of Tumwater Canyon.




Jah Amigos . Tumwater canyon - 10,500cfs from AerialMediaWorks on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Stikine training in Tumwater Canyon

Sam Grafton put together an edit showcasing his ongoing Site Zed training.


Get ready to get sick to your stomach as Sam takes you on a POV ride down Tumwater Canyon, top to bottom, at over 10,000 cfs.




Early Season Tumwater Edit from Sam Grafton on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sam Grafton runs POW at 6500 cfs




Sam Grafton, Tumwater Canyon Kayaking, Tumwater Canyon, Wenatchee River Kayaking, Kokatat, Sweet Protection, Werner Paddles, Dagger Mamba 8.6, 2014 Dagger Mamba 8.6, New Mamba 8.6, Chaos, POW, Last Exit, The Wall



Sam Grafton is a bit of a Boss around these parts


Sam Grafton, Tumwater Canyon Kayaking, Tumwater Canyon, Wenatchee River Kayaking, Kokatat, Sweet Protection, Werner Paddles, Dagger Mamba 8.6, 2014 Dagger Mamba 8.6, New Mamba 8.6, Chaos, POW, Last Exit, The Wall


This Spring has been off to a slow start in the PNW. Tumwater hasn't hit Nuclear levels yet but it has been hanging arounf the 5-7,000 cfs range for a couple of weeks.



Sam Grafton, Tumwater Canyon Kayaking, Tumwater Canyon, Wenatchee River Kayaking, Kokatat, Sweet Protection, Werner Paddles, Dagger Mamba 8.6, 2014 Dagger Mamba 8.6, New Mamba 8.6, Chaos, POW, Last Exit, The Wall



I was in the area, shaking off the cobwebs and got a call from Sam. He wanted to do a quick Tumwater lap before heading back over the pass. I agreed to the Dam rapid and the Amigos, but decided that Chaos and POW were a bit above my current paygrade.


Sam laughed at me.


Sam Grafton, Tumwater Canyon Kayaking, Tumwater Canyon, Wenatchee River Kayaking, Kokatat, Sweet Protection, Werner Paddles, Dagger Mamba 8.6, 2014 Dagger Mamba 8.6, New Mamba 8.6, Chaos, POW, Last Exit, The Wall




Sam Grafton, Tumwater Canyon Kayaking, Tumwater Canyon, Wenatchee River Kayaking, Kokatat, Sweet Protection, Werner Paddles, Dagger Mamba 8.6, 2014 Dagger Mamba 8.6, New Mamba 8.6, Chaos, POW, Last Exit, The Wall



Sam boated down to POW while I ran shuttle and grabbed my camera. Sam's mom also stopped by to say hello.



Sam Grafton, Tumwater Canyon Kayaking, Tumwater Canyon, Wenatchee River Kayaking, Kokatat, Sweet Protection, Werner Paddles, Dagger Mamba 8.6, 2014 Dagger Mamba 8.6, New Mamba 8.6, Chaos, POW, Last Exit, The Wall


Sam Grafton, Tumwater Canyon Kayaking, Tumwater Canyon, Wenatchee River Kayaking, Kokatat, Sweet Protection, Werner Paddles, Dagger Mamba 8.6, 2014 Dagger Mamba 8.6, New Mamba 8.6, Chaos, POW, Last Exit, The Wall



Sam Grafton, Tumwater Canyon Kayaking, Tumwater Canyon, Wenatchee River Kayaking, Kokatat, Sweet Protection, Werner Paddles, Dagger Mamba 8.6, 2014 Dagger Mamba 8.6, New Mamba 8.6, Chaos, POW, Last Exit, The Wall



Sam Grafton, Tumwater Canyon Kayaking, Tumwater Canyon, Wenatchee River Kayaking, Kokatat, Sweet Protection, Werner Paddles, Dagger Mamba 8.6, 2014 Dagger Mamba 8.6, New Mamba 8.6, Chaos, POW, Last Exit, The Wall



In true Sam form; after I gave him a little bit of grief about not having a beautiful line, he ran it two more times for me so I could shoot photos and some video.



Sam Grafton, Tumwater Canyon Kayaking, Tumwater Canyon, Wenatchee River Kayaking, Kokatat, Sweet Protection, Werner Paddles, Dagger Mamba 8.6, 2014 Dagger Mamba 8.6, New Mamba 8.6, Chaos, POW, Last Exit, The Wall


Water levels are rising; keep your eyes out for some good media coming out of Leavenworth in the near future.


Sam Grafton, Tumwater Canyon Kayaking, Tumwater Canyon, Wenatchee River Kayaking, Kokatat, Sweet Protection, Werner Paddles, Dagger Mamba 8.6, 2014 Dagger Mamba 8.6, New Mamba 8.6, Chaos, POW, Last Exit, The Wall




Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Selway River - 2013

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     I have no idea why it took me so long to get these out.


     Life work and the powers that be, I guess.


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     The summer of 2013 was a good one. An exceptional week of that already awesome summer was spent with a bunch of kayak bums, packed into a van and rallying through Idaho.

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     Some people are born with a third leg, some are born with a brain that needs to be brined. I have somehow been blessed with an ability to either grab a Selway permit or to get invited on a Selway trip every year. Now I don't know what super powers this gives me, or what it entails for the rest of the world, but I do know that it means my tan will run well into the Fall and I get to see the back woods of Idaho every season.

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     This past June was no exception. Scott Waidelich pulled a permit for the Selway and it was game on. We rallied a huge crew, completely filled the permit and had one of the most memorable boating trips I've experienced. There was everything from broken down shuttle vehicles to mexican mechanics. Taxidermied cats, dirt roads, hill billys and shuttle drivers with less teeth than I have big toes. There was also booz, booz and more booz. Not to mention boatin on three different rivers in Idaho with some of my best friends.


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     After boating the North Fork of the South Fork of the East/West Fork of some Fork... and then 3 days in the South Fork Salmon we made a quick detour to Montana for meat and Fireball, then dropped back into Idaho.

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     As we neared the Nez Perce Pass, we pulled over to soak up the views and to chill out a bit after the long drive.


Dagger Kayaks, Dagger Mamba 8.6, Dagger Mamba 8.6 review, 2013 Dagger Mamba 8.6, new Dagger Mamba 8.6 outfitting, Dagger Mamba 8.6 overnight packing, Kayaking, Idaho kayaking, selway, selway river, selway river kayaking, Canon 7D, long exposure, creative river images, Kira Marley, Tom Marley, Michael Horner, Jon Shelby, Scott Waidelich, Ellie Wheat, Chris Totten, Kim Becker, Adrian Wigston, Daniel Patrinellis,Hans Hoosman, Jonathan Ehlinger, Jon Dufay, Jesse Becker, Phil Kast, Emily Dickerson, kayaking in Idaho, Kayaking on the Selway river


     The Selway is the least often run of the nation's famous “wilderness rivers”. This is due to a Forest Service policy that permits fewer than 1,300 boaters to gain access to the Selway each year. The Forest Service only allows one launch per day, so you are pretty much guaranteed to not see another soul on the river outside of your crew.


Dagger Kayaks, Dagger Mamba 8.6, Dagger Mamba 8.6 review, 2013 Dagger Mamba 8.6, new Dagger Mamba 8.6 outfitting, Dagger Mamba 8.6 overnight packing, Kayaking, Idaho kayaking, selway, selway river, selway river kayaking, Canon 7D, long exposure, creative river images, Kira Marley, Tom Marley, Michael Horner, Jon Shelby, Scott Waidelich, Ellie Wheat, Chris Totten, Kim Becker, Adrian Wigston, Daniel Patrinellis,Hans Hoosman, Jonathan Ehlinger, Jon Dufay, Jesse Becker, Phil Kast, Emily Dickerson, kayaking in Idaho, Kayaking on the Selway river



     We had learned from our mistakes on the SF Salmon and decided to do some prep work ahead of time for our meals.


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      Adrian has been known to gargle peanut butter if the mood is right. Take that Chuck Norris!


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     We paddled the first day at a pretty leisurely pace. The river was a bit low so it definitely leant a very mellow vibe to the trip. We had all been paddling together for almost a week at this point, so the non-verbal communication was easy.


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     After a couple miles we pulled over into this gorgeous lilac patch to chill, drink some beers and break out the sausage and sharp cheese. Adrian also gave one of the best descriptions of what carnage means to a kayaker while we were sitting and drying off in the sun.



     We were very fortunate to have Adrian on the trip as he was still mid-recovery from a broken foot. In fact, he was wearing a boot, with pretty specific instructions on what not to do while wearing said boot…

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      There isn't much whitewater on the first leg of the trip, so camp was a welcome sight. We pulled over on river left and dug our heels in.

     This was the same camping spot I had stayed at the first time I came down this river back in 2010.


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     I love this spot. It’s got a little bit of everything.

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     Beautiful silky smooth sand. A wide open spot with logs to sit on (irrelevant since we had an inflatable couch). Lots of sunshine to dry out all that moldy wet gear. There is even a little forested section a little farther upstream where you can set up tents or bivys and have a little bit of privacy.


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     Nerd time. I love this 30mm lens.

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     Breakfast of champions right here!


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     After an evening of sweating it out in the steam tent and listening to music around the fire, we put back on the river and started looking for a lunch spot.

     Phil gets sick on day two. He had everything except his food in there, I believe.

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     If you asked, I couldn't tell you where we camped on the second night. But what I can tell you about it is that it was on river left and was possibly one of the best campsites I've visited on a river trip.
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     This camp spot was new to me. Scott was able to find this masterpiece pretty late in the day, but it was worth the wait. A massive mesa of sand right next to a super sick play wave. We had another incredible night next to the Selway under a clear sky.


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     We killed of the last of the beers and snacks as it was our last night of the trip. 

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     Really expensive M&M's. How sick is that stern?!

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     As this was our last night on the river, the mood smelled of stoke, but also had a hint of melancholy. But that could have been attributed to the overcast sky, so who knows.

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     Either way everyone was ready for dinner and finishing the last of whatever food they had been carrying in their laps for the past two days.


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     We told stories. Some of us sang and played music. We laughed about the carnage and the “could-have, should-haves”. We drank each other’s beer and we became an even tighter group. The steam house was rigged up once more and we tried our hand at group light painting. I went to my sleeping bag so happy and content that I didn’t want to fall asleep.

     Tom and Kira even cooked us brownies for desert!

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     These kinds of moments are always very bitter sweet for me. While it’s the last night it’s hard to enjoy it just for that reason. There is this presence looming on the horizon, just out of your peripheral vision. Something is coming. The real world is waiting. It’s the same as that feeling in your lower back when you wake up before your alarm clock. You just want to recapture that warmth, but your body knows it’s time to go.

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     Bright and early, we knew that the last big rapid of the trip was coming up quickly so I ran ahead a little bit to jump out on river right and snap some photos of the crew.

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Wolf Creek rapid served up some hits!

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    And just like that! It was over. The trip, the dream, the binge drinking. All of it.


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     No one wanted this leg of the trip to end as it would mean the return to civilization. The return to cell phones , emails, bills and responsibility.


Dagger Kayaks, Dagger Mamba 8.6, Dagger Mamba 8.6 review, 2013 Dagger Mamba 8.6, new Dagger Mamba 8.6 outfitting, Dagger Mamba 8.6 overnight packing, Kayaking, Idaho kayaking, selway, selway river, selway river kayaking, Canon 7D, long exposure, creative river images, Kira Marley, Tom Marley, Michael Horner, Jon Shelby, Scott Waidelich, Ellie Wheat, Chris Totten, Kim Becker, Adrian Wigston, Daniel Patrinellis,Hans Hoosman, Jonathan Ehlinger, Jon Dufay, Jesse Becker, Phil Kast, Emily Dickerson, kayaking in Idaho, Kayaking on the Selway river



Dagger Kayaks, Dagger Mamba 8.6, Dagger Mamba 8.6 review, 2013 Dagger Mamba 8.6, new Dagger Mamba 8.6 outfitting, Dagger Mamba 8.6 overnight packing, Kayaking, Idaho kayaking, selway, selway river, selway river kayaking, Canon 7D, long exposure, creative river images, Kira Marley, Tom Marley, Michael Horner, Jon Shelby, Scott Waidelich, Ellie Wheat, Chris Totten, Kim Becker, Adrian Wigston, Daniel Patrinellis,Hans Hoosman, Jonathan Ehlinger, Jon Dufay, Jesse Becker, Phil Kast, Emily Dickerson, kayaking in Idaho, Kayaking on the Selway river


     Another lap in the books and more scar tissue on the knuckles; if I never paddle again I will always remember this awesome trip down these amazing rivers. This trip proved that regardless of the water levels or weather, the people you surround yourself with will make or break you. I’ve got some great people in my life.


Dagger Kayaks, Dagger Mamba 8.6, Dagger Mamba 8.6 review, 2013 Dagger Mamba 8.6, new Dagger Mamba 8.6 outfitting, Dagger Mamba 8.6 overnight packing, Kayaking, Idaho kayaking, selway, selway river, selway river kayaking, Canon 7D, long exposure, creative river images, Kira Marley, Tom Marley, Michael Horner, Jon Shelby, Scott Waidelich, Ellie Wheat, Chris Totten, Kim Becker, Adrian Wigston, Daniel Patrinellis,Hans Hoosman, Jonathan Ehlinger, Jon Dufay, Jesse Becker, Phil Kast, Emily Dickerson, kayaking in Idaho, Kayaking on the Selway river

Standing Row: Kira & Tom Marley, Michael Horner, Jon Shelby, Scott Waidelich, Ellie Wheat, Chris Totten, Kim Becker, Adrian Wigston, Daniel Patrinellis

Seated Row: Hans Hoosman, Jonathan Ehlinger, Jon Dufay, Jesse Becker, Phil Kast and Emily Dickerson


Go to Idaho!

Dagger Kayaks, Dagger Mamba 8.6, Dagger Mamba 8.6 review, 2013 Dagger Mamba 8.6, new Dagger Mamba 8.6 outfitting, Dagger Mamba 8.6 overnight packing, Kayaking, Idaho kayaking, selway, selway river, selway river kayaking, Canon 7D, long exposure, creative river images, Kira Marley, Tom Marley, Michael Horner, Jon Shelby, Scott Waidelich, Ellie Wheat, Chris Totten, Kim Becker, Adrian Wigston, Daniel Patrinellis,Hans Hoosman, Jonathan Ehlinger, Jon Dufay, Jesse Becker, Phil Kast, Emily Dickerson, kayaking in Idaho, Kayaking on the Selway river