Friday, June 1, 2007

Back at Home: St. Louis River

The day was bright and the sun was high in the sky. The weather had decided that the last 4 days of rest and healing on my part (after my adventures in Wyoming) were to come to a abrupt end. There was no question that I had to get outside. Fortunately I had received a phone invitation to run the lower St. Louis. In a blink of an eye, I was out the font door jumped into friend's awaiting vehicle.

We arrived at river and saw the river was low and exposing rocks and ledges that had previously been underwater. However, the river's level was still inviting to whitewater kayaks. As we geared up, another arrived to join us. The first order of business was "the slot machine", normally a class V narly drop, but in low water was a fun class III slide down a 15 ft waterfall. I made my way into the mini-gorge that preceded it, got into my boat and ran it cleanly. Then we tackled the "ton" drop followed by the 210 drop (Class III) which managed to flip my boat, but I easily rolled upright again. We then paddle a mile through easy rapids and swept through the "First and Second Sisters" without a hitch.

The "First Sister"

At last we reached the "Octopus". It was characterized by first, a nasty class V hole (possibility of injury), then through a couple explosions of class III finally finishing with a cascade over a 15 water fall into a class IV hole with a nasty rock jutting from it's center. So my first order of business was to gather speed and launch myself over and down a water devoid slide to avoid the first and hungry hole. It was then a difficult eddie-ing out into the main flow, which threatened to push you against a rock wall. Having barely avoiding this obstacle I shot through a narrow channel and tangled with the first of the class III explosions, which threatened to swallow my stern and "ender" me (which would end in me being capsized). Then plunged over the cascade hitting my line and avoiding the nasty rocks.

a portion of The "Octopus"

I emerged with more confidence with the experience of tackling some more technical and burly whitewater. It was another joyful day well spent. We walked home talking and wondering what does the rest of the world does for fun....oblivious to our own departure from the ordinary.

1 comment:

Nora said...

Great Blog Burgess! Love the Devil's Tower trip! I've been there but not as a climber.