Saturday, November 20, 2010

Northwoods Whitewater's Last Gasp: Part Three

The clouds had parted from the sky and the sun let it's presence known. I had taken a day away from the running waters and was keenly aware my loss. My paddling buddies were all putting on the Cascade River meanwhile was far from any flowing water. When I arrived back to my northern home, the creeking up the North Shore had all but waned. However my old friend the St. Louis River was running above 2000 cfs and provided for some boating. I arranged to meet Decker and Cliff at the put in. Upon arriving I noted a creek boat on an unfamiliar vehicle and searched for the owner.

While writing a invitation to paddle to place on the windshield a fellow emerged from a nearby trail and approached. He introduced himself as Kyle and I was familiar from the local forum that he was new to the area and looking for boaters to paddle with. Extending some Midwestern generosity, I invited him to join us.

So the four of us put on for a fun ride amongst the big water character of the St. Louis. Showing another personality of the St. Louis we rode blasting along, bypassing the "Second Sister" and the "Octopus" given that amongst the high water they had become brutally harsh. Kyle meanwhile seemed to be having a good time, having a high quality level for his first run. But I was looking forward to running a small falls near the swinging bridge that is runnable at high water.This falls is precious to me because of my childhood memories of it. I can recall the days when my mother would bring me to Jay Cooke in the morning light before afternoon kindergarden. There I scurried about climbing the rocks near this falls and viewing it's cascade while my mother warned me of the river's hazards.

More than two decades later, I had managed to ignore her warnings as we eagerly approached the horizon line. While foreign tourist on shore nearby gawked, Cliff gleefully took flight first, followed closely by Decker. Kyle went next with little hesitation while I played photographer from a nearby perch. I came awkwardly into my short passage into the vertical world. I emerged from plugging the falls slightly disappointed. I paddle ahead of the crew and quickly eddied out. I shouldered my boat and hiked up for another run... I new I could do better and was striving for a clean run. Companions ashore as I again took flight and had a better run.

Untitled from kyle crocodile on Vimeo.

The day was blissful in the simplicity of the satisfaction. We drove upstream grinning and talkative with remnants of adrenaline still fueling our enthusiasm!

No comments: