I met Cliff in the parking lot of the Knife river and waited for the others to arrive. Anxious and impatient, I put on my gear and jumped onto the final drop of the Knife and did two quick laps. By the time I carried back to the car the crew was assembled and ready.
Arrived at the Stewards put in, we suited up and Tony patched up his boat, as had become routine after the Split Rock river had maimed his trusty craft. As we paddle away from the banks of the put in, it became apparent that the level was by no means juicy (judging by the scraping sounds of our boats down the first set of slides). But as we arrived at "Plumber's Crack" the fun had only begun. Each of us paddled into an state of airborne joy while boofing the 12-15 ft falls. After 3-4 laps we each headed on our way.
Inside myself I was nervous. The last time I had run the Lester this high the consequences were almost dire. Yet putting onto the river it was clear the river was lower than I originally thought and was not as high as the historic day two years previous. Every rapid felt cushioned from the rocks below and less abrasive. The river seemed to flow more gracefully and I felt in control. Reaching the 25 ft falls that is Almost Always I took out to scout while my companions charged over its lip. I had already decided that I would run it, but wanted to take a good look and run through the drop in my mind.
We paddled onward elated with the days events. I pulled my boat ashore and revelled in my success. The beginnings of summer had come and their ran brought the renewing waters to the rivers, and I myself left feeling again renewed.