Monday, April 28, 2008

Lucky Number Seven

It was my seventh run of the Lester River this season. As we put in, it was becoming more clear that the river level was medium-low and a bit scrappy though not un-runnable. The run was going well, "Limbo Falls" and "Mini-Octopus" all went clean. As I crested the top of the drop "Oh, God", looking down it looked rather bone-y. As I descended, I hit rock piton-ing hard and was violently stopped dead in my tracks as my body whipped forward. Wide eyed, I kept the boat up right as I pushed through the next two waves sideways. Making through, I was a little miffed and frustrated. Brushing it off I was determined to hit the next drop ( entitled "Oh, Shit") clean. I paddled in the lead. While sliding into the first ledge I piton-ed again and was pulled into the top hole side surfing. Pulling the side-surf into a hero front surf, I was held facing upstream with the rest of the class IV drop at my back. Seeing the grimness of the situation, my only option was to back out of the mini-hole backwards. Luckily through the next reactionary wave I was able to get my boat pointed downstream, however I had lost all momentum as I plunged into the large hole that completed the drop. It turned my boat sideways and attempted to flip my boat on edge. I braced hard hoping to pull through, but it was a futile effort. Before I could properly tuck to roll, I was hit within a micro second by a rock catching my eye brow and the bill of my helmet.

The damages...

Knowing ahead lay 20 ft class V waterfall, I shook off the blow, rolled up, and peeled into a nearby eddy. As Anthony and Lara pulled up having learned from my terrible line on the drop, they looked at me with an expression concern. Then a bitter iron laced taste let me know that my eye brow was cut. Fortunately, it was a mere a minor scrape. I finished up the run and pulled my dented boat from the water. My pride took a decent hit, although I at least kept the small consolation that despite my disastrous lines, I had maintained enough composure to keep from swimming and burdening my fellow paddler's. My knowledge of the location of the piton potentials on the Lester greatly improved having intimately probed them. After beating myself up about it for a bit, I let it go... All paddlers are bound to have a bad run, take a bad line, or get worked. Yet it's important I take this run as a lesson and as a productive bump in road toward building my paddling skills (particularly river reading in this case). So my seventh run of the Lester came to be a real charmer and milestone... my first bit of creeking carnage and lessons well learned.

1 comment:

Troy said...

Carnage. At least you managed to recover and not go over the waterfall. If I ever start doing more shallow, technical creeking, I might invest in one of those helmets with the face shield. Things are sort of, kind of, starting to flow around here now. Probably a good month yet until things really get going.