Four of us gathered for a second lap and hiked up the steep banks for another run. On the first falls I felt myself self plug mightily and was thrown onto my back deck. Underwater I regrouped and resurfaced upright. The second falls was much the same, and felt myself being sucked into the base of the falls. I ender myself to the right and found myself clear of its grasp. Whatever confidence I had built was diminished.
I had agreed to go with Justin down the remainder of the Beaver River as it ran towards Lake Superior. The rest of the group had brought their boats ashore, meanwhile we paddled onward. In the distance lay a jagged cliff blocking the horizon. As it neared, the river opened widely before us as the east and west forks of the Beaver River came to a confluence. The river transitioned into class III and a ominous roar was heard over the river's oncoming horizon line. We got out of boats and marveled at the heinous drop. Giant and hungry holes confirmed it was a rapid I would likely never run, and if it was run it would be once in a lifetime experience. After portaging, our boats again met the water. Navigating through a short section of moderate whitewater, we again came to a horizon line. I sat in quiet reverence to the river's menacing beauty. I had never seen a drop of such magnitude in all of the Midwest. The river entire river poured narrowly through a cliff lined constriction over boulders the size of cars, sieved out under them, created powerful hydraulics, and cascaded in a final slide. I was unnerved at the possibility of running any portion of the drop. However Justin was ready to put in and run the final slide of the drop.
This portion of the drop bears the need of description. The entire river threads through the aforementioned boulders until it it transitions to a 35 yard wide voluminous slide that culminates in a 15 foot drop that violently collides with a van sized pyramid shaped boulder.
I stood on my perch overlooking the drop with a throw bag and camera in hand, meanwhile Justin put in and readied himself. Ferrying through a narrow slot he sped down the slide. Watching him nail his boof, I smiled as he shot airborne into the melee of exploding water. Avoiding the giant boulder he emerged smiling.
I set my boat into a micro eddy and nervously saddled up in my boat. Rounding the backside of a sheltering boulder I ferried up stream, caught the current, and and peeled through a narrow slot letting impulse take hold. Rocketing down the slide, I positioned myself to launch away from the disastrous boulder. Amidst a drop one achieves a zen-like meditative state. The world drops off and uninterrupted focus on the poetry of motion ensues. For a moment existence becomes liberatingly simple... survive! The world went white with aerated water as I felt my kayak take flight. I felt a soft impact as if landing on a cloud and the sky slowly came back into view. I emerged with a heart pumping adrenaline to fuel the welling enthusiasm. I was unable to contain the emotion and erupt in a primal and victorious vocalism.