Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring Creeking: The Beginning

It was beginning.

I had been listening for a sound of rushing water to be no longer muted by an icy covering. Underneath, the water sought it's deliverance from Winter's icy imprisonment. And now as I viewed the St Louis River danced amongst it's new found freedom as the ice floated broken and defeated in the eddies. Only a day before had the Thomson Dam been opened to extinguish the rising reservoir.

Myself in flight on the Lower St. Louis

We were at the water's edge upon the first report of the St. Louis river breaking open. The levels were 3 times higher than the usual summer levels, but they were not unfamiliar to me. The river showed it's changing faces and ploughed through it's walls with a big water character boiling and leaping into the crisp spring air.

Nate punches some big water on the St. Louis

The sun was shining as we put on. I put on the veil of confidence inside me despite it being 5 months since I had been amongst whitewater. As we ferried out into the enthusiastic waters and I settled in quickly. The familiarity of paddling fell into line as we pounded through laterals and surging wave-holes. Every paddler finds the ability to withstand the frigid waters of spring run off (barely above freezing) not only by our gear but by the flame of our vigor that repels the cold. The run went flawlessly and brought back the soul felt vitality that comes to my soul amongst the waters... the great reconnection.

Joel soars on the Lower St. Louis
And so it became a daily endeavor that I would feed my love affair with the whitewater. Meanwhile the St. Louis continued to rise daily and gradually became more and more of a challenge. I was feeling at home amongst the waters as I had ever had, having the benefit of time to paddle on my hands. Along side me companions began arriving from far off locations with similarities in both their enthusiasm and their lack of time constraints. We used the opportunity to warm up for the demands of the smaller and more technical creeks still awaiting their liberation.

And so the season was born and ahead lay the priceless adventures waiting to come into being.

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