I loaded my wet gear into my car having arrived back at the Lester River. Emerging from the river was a group of paddlers who had just made a run. Enticed by others, I reluctantly put my wet gear back on and joined a group shuttling up the Lester River.
It was my first time back on the Lester of the year. Having run Lester numerous times last year, it was like reacquainting with an old friend. I passed through the put in drop and headed toward Limbo Falls. Being in the back of the group, I took my time with my typical line hugging the river right side of the drop and punching the holes below. We paddled on.
I exited my boat and walked the rapid I will always walk... Naked Man. The river and I have come to an understanding and I will spar with Naked Man no longer after my experiences with it last year. I ran ahead and met with my fellow paddlers and put on the river again. My lines went clean through the fun boof on "mini-octopus", avoided potential piton on "Oh God", and punched the holes on "Oh Shit". Ahead lay "Almost Always" a 20 ft falls. I had been observing fellow paddlers run Almost Always for almost a year now and knew it was time for me to make a run of it. Upon scouting my blood boiled with adrenaline. The falls is known for being technical, for one because it is tricky to dodge some unfortunately placed rocks and get to the lip of the falls in good order. Once at the lip one slides off a shallow lip, throws a slight boof stroke while turning an edge while air borne and lands in the pile of water. Rining the flume downward you hope that your momentum slams you through the hole created at the bottom. It is not a run for the faint of heart.
After some contemplation of the line, I went back and got into my boat. I could see the line ahead of me and as the lip came closer I weaved through the rocks and paddled frantically to the right hand lip. I was relieved just to get to the lip cleanly.
As I sailed downward, I attempted a ineffective boof stroke. I landed in stream of water flowing downwards and fought to keep my boat lined up. I held on for the hit. I smashed into the hole and was relieved to be falling no longer. I set up for my roll and waited for the chaos to pass. I rolled up with a fist pump and let out a whoop to expunge the exhilaration.
I walked up the rocky banks of the Lester River shaking with the adrenaline still coursing and couldn't put my smile away. It was a triumphant end to my weekend.