Friday, April 18, 2008

Three RIvers, Four Runs, One Killer Day

My day started at 3:30 am when the alarm woke me up to study for my med school test. I learned that getting 3 hours of sleep is much better than pulling all-nighters and has become a pre-test tradition. After passing the exam I was ready for action!

I hurried home grabbed my boat and threw on my dry-suit. The first run of the day was the French river. Since I hadn't been on many creeks yet this year we took the run slow. The French was fun. It had a bunch of great slides mostly class III running with maybe a touch of class easy IV. However I didn't like how scrappy it was...I want my boat to last more than one season. I then ran off to the Knife River with other paddler I met on the French River. The Knife was good and juiced. I managed to hit a couple of good sized holes and put my new creek boat to the test. After that run, I then had a small break before my friend Roger got off work, luckily I ran into my Dad who was chasing his own favorite pass-time (fishing) and shot the breeze with him for a while. When Roger got off work he, Nate, and I went and ran the French again.

Being thoroughly French-ed out, Nate proposed we head over to the Lester river for a go of it. I casually accepted the proposition, not really realizing what I was getting into. The Lester when running well, as it was, is a straight up class IV+ river. After setting up shuttle and looking at the first two meaty drops, my nerves ran a little high. Putting the nerves and thought processing away, I went at it one drop at time. It was pretty much non stop big flowing class IV. I ran the whole thing clean, with some moments I worried I might flip the boat....but I have found my new boat to be very forgiving. Of the drops we hit, Limbo Falls felt the most intense. It was only the second drop after putting in and was a 15ft falls slide that slammed you into giant exploding water. I remember coming up on the lip and then going into pure chaos, water exploded around as a slid down the main vertical section. Having cleared it I saw ahead the big hole that finished it off and put some paddle strokes in for momentum as I blasted through. The rest of the run had only more of the same. It was a confidence boost to have my first run of some technical and sustained class IV out of the way.

It was just getting dark as I left the river and realized that I hadn't eaten all day. I sat down at the local burrito establishment and had a great time chilling with with companions. It was a long, epic, and fulfilling day. I suspect there will be more to follow.

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