Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Reclaiming Spring: Bouldering and the Baptism River

As spring has progressed I have felt a increasing pull away from the oppression of being indoors and the throngs of medical school. This past week the bottom fell out. On Tuesday the sun was shining and the weather was warm. I decided it was time for an aerobic workout, but the proposition of some bouldering was enticing. In a compromise I would do both. With Tyler's bouldering pad strapped to my back, both Tyler and I ran around town to the local urban bouldering crags. We managed to turn heads as most view my prideful ridiculousness of cruising around with a large foam pad strapped to my back.

Ilgen Falls on Baptism seen from the portage

By Wednesday I was desperate to go paddling up the North Shore. Fortunately after huffing my way up to class on my bike I got a call. An hour later myself and Anthony were on our way to the Baptism River. We warmed up on the Finland to Eckbeck section, which was as I had remembered it in the past....uneventful. However the section from Eckbeck to Ilgen Fall proved more interesting. It started with confinement canyon which provided some fun Class III. Later the more significant drop came our way...Kramer's choice a solid class IV. It featured an 8 ft diameter boulder that split the narrowing river leaving a choice.

The right side of the boulder was calmer and somewhat shallower. The left was a narrow exploding chute of water. Myself and Anthony rock, paper, scissored for the chance to go first. Anthony lost and ran it first. After getting thrown off by the lead in, he recouped and went for the right line. However he headed straight for the boulder which flipped him over the right side dragging a bit on the rocks. It being my turn I decided to head for the right line. However as a cleanly sped down the river right, my eye grew wide as I was headed with great speed directly for the giant boulder. I made a micro-second decision that the left line around the boulder was the only option and threw a quick right stroke. I deflected off the boulder's boiling pile and burst through the explosion of water of the left line. Relieved to pass the boulder and was quickly flipped towards the end of the chute and rolled up. The rest of the run was fun class III before reaching Ilgen Falls. I was enticed to run Ilgen Falls, but with only one other paddler to help set up safety my motivation shrunk. It was a great day.

The view of Shovel Point from Palisade Head

I drove over to Palisade head on the way home and laid down on the rocks and beheld the vast and expansive beauty that is Lake Superior. I drove home and promptly went for a run with my friend Jeremy bounding through the mud of Hartley park in the twilight. I went home and laid my head to the pillow and fell asleep content and exhausted.

1 comment:

Nora said...

Hey Burgess...when I ran it last year the three men I was with took left. I was too far right so I boofed right and nailed it...fun! Did you do two step?