Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Redemption: The Stewart River

 Myself perfecting the side boof on "Plumber's Crack"

A mid-week crew set about a morning run determined to get on the Stewart River after our debacle in the days preceding attempting the Stewart. Myself, Chris Baer, Brian O'Neil, and the weekday warrior Paul Hooper geared up for the day. By the time we had arrived in Two Harbors the levels were looking favorable. Thus we put on moving quickly through the pine forests awaiting the descent of the Stewart amongst the blue skies. Thereafter we were smiling as the river shared it's hidden gems while we took laps running the 15 footer plumber's crack

Paul running the "Pillow Drop"

and plunging into the mayhem of the "pillow drop". The Stewart is an old friend who has never disappointed me and one of the river's I know best. But I enjoyed even more, that I was able to share it was paddlers from throughout the country who were smiling as big as me... affirming the river's quality.

Chris Baer boof's Piton Falls
After greeting the expanse of lake superior before us we came ashore and raced back to Duluth for a quick run on the Lester. When we arrived, we found an whether red Tacoma in the parking lot and out stepped Chris's pal from Colorado...Casey Tango. We decided the Lester would be a proper intro to the North Shore paddling scene. The Lester didn't disappoint, as myself, Chris, and Tango sailed off of the 25 footer, Almost Always, for my 5th time of the year. Finally it was becoming Almost Always... a run for me rather than a portage. When we finally took off the river with the good natured crew and chatted in the parking lot amongst beers and laughter. Interestingly the take out parking lot's are often as much a part of the paddling culture as running the river itself. The left over spirit and energy of the river often spills forth directly after a run, a group of friends feeling belonging and contentment sometimes only experienced for a short season of the year.

And so another day in our short creek season had come to pass... well spent and as glorious as any.

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