Friday, March 20, 2009

Winter Training

Out here in Northeastern Oregon there are four complete seasons. Winter is one of the longer ones. About once a week I grab a snow shovel and dig around until I find my kayak. Then I sit in it and ponder the infinite wonders of the universe:

Hmmm... Snow-Yaking...

(Photo: Lilli Tichinin)

Unless there's lots of powder, I don't recommend trying the Helix. 
After a few yard-sales on the slopes, I wondered to myself:  "When was the last time I paddled anything this gnarly..."

Hmmm... Mesa Falls...
(LJ Groth boofing a fifty-footer, Photo: Conor)

That would be LJ Groth launching the right line at Karl Moser's Bachelors' Party. He landed on a rock on the bottom, but was ok. I reccomend the left line.

Hmmm... Karls Wedding...

(Photo: ???)

 ??????????????? Hmmmm... ???????

...About this time I realize that there has to be something worth 
paddling on the local river.
And there is!!!

The only real rapid on the Grande Ronde happens to border Riverside Park on the north end of town, and it was formed aeons ago when a huge cement bridge collapsed into the river and was later formed into an irrigation ditch. It's a park and, well, huck--if you use the term lightly. The character is a little like the Numbers on the Arkansas, if the numbers had been formed solely by collapsed bridges and irrigation takeouts. The best play wave on the river is about thirty feet above the seven worst strainers on the river. These strainers mark the beginning of the Riverside rapid.

After every lap I tried to get a little big boat rodeo action in the final hole. I think I stuck a windowshade or two.

(Riverside Photos: Ben Woodruff)

Quote of the Day: "Spring is a comin'!"
 -Farmer Neilson, after his toolshed burned down last week.


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