Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rocky Mountain Update - New-ness in Wyoming

Photo: ES

To quote the Big Lebowski, "New Sh!t has come to light man," and not in relationship to Bunny being kidnapped here but to a new mecca for wilderness creek boating.

There our some uh, concerns here though and we need to address them before we move on. The area in question is located on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The Wind River Mountains located on the Reservation are sacred to the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. They are sacred to us as well. Before attempting any of these runs there is a set protocol which must be followed and which is summed up below.

You MUST obtain the proper permits for ALL days you are on Reservation land. A backcountry fishing license is required for you to access these areas. You can purchase your licenses at various places on the reservation and in many of the surrounding communities including Lander and Dubois. Click Here for a full list of purchase locations.

The legality of actually kayaking here is controversial. Please use caution. A rescue situation requiring outside assistance would certainly jeopardize our access. The Shoshone think we are crazy for running these rivers but they are also impressed with our skill and ability to SAFELY navigate them. One of their main concerns is that they do not want to have us getting injured and/or dying on their land. These are SERIOUS class V expedition style runs, even if they are only one day long. The Wind River Wilderness is as unforgiving a landscape as exists in the lower 48.

Do not draw attention to yourselves. NO GUNS. NO WHITE MAN FIRES. NO DOGS. NO CHASING THE WILDLIFE. USE LEAVE NO TRACE BACK COUNTRY TECHNIQUES AND BE KIND TO EVERYONE YOU ENCOUNTER, ESPECIALLY THE LOCALS. We are guests on their land, never forget that for a moment. I will hunt you down myself and scalp you if I find out you blew our access for some idiotic reason.

And now with the obligatory scare tactics and reservation issues out of the way, where and what are we even talking about?

This is what and where we are talking about! Photo: ES

There are now three classic runs which have recently been opened up on the Wind River Reservation that, for all intensive purposes, are the best wilderness creek boating in the Rockies. Seriously. I know hard to believe but if you are willing to work for it you will be justly rewarded.

Case in point, Fraser Tear tearing it up on the NF Little Wind. Photo: Aaron Mulkey

The North Fork of the Little Wind River was added to the areas must-do list in mid-July by Brady Johnston, Austin Rathman, Andy Blakeslee and myself. This little gem can be done in a day and has relatively easy access for the Winds. It also has potential to become an overnight classic as there is more gradient upstream of what was accomplished this past summer.

Fraser Tear again, in Larry, the first of the Three Stooges. Photo: Aaron Mulkey

Rathman in Double Duece. Photo: AM

For the complete story of our adventure go to Boofington Heights HERE

For some more beta and more of how to get this thing done go HERE

OK. So great there's this awesome little run there, with some sweet waterfalls and beatuiful granite bedrock. But what else right?

Austin moving on to the SF Little Wind. Photo: AM

Austin lead the charge to finally get these runs done and once we had knocked of the NF he was more than ready to accept the more difficult challenge of accessing the SF. He coerced Aaron Mulkey and Tom Sunderland into first getting a taste of the Nf and then on joining him to get the SF done. And they got it done in epic style!

Austin on Gadgets Go Coaster. Photo: AM

Tom on Atro Orbiter. Photo: AM

To read the full report of their one day, what should definitely be a two day adventure go HERE.

So now you've got these two amazing cali-style granite overnights in the same drainage, which is enough to have most packing their bags and heading north to WY. But wait, there's more! These could really serve as just a warm-up for the main event, one drainage to the north!!! BULL LAKE CREEK!

No Bull. Kyle McCutchen, Haagen Daazen. Photo: Ian Garcia

The NF Little Wind requires about 2-3 miles or so of hard hiking and a minor portage. The SF Little Wind requires 5 miles of hard hiking and few major portages. Bull Lake requires 20 miles of hiking and more than a few MAJOR portages. It is a mission. But for the true class V wilderness paddler it is one of the best. When you hike 20 miles, over two passes, from a 4WD road already deep in wild reservation land, to the base of the Continental Divide, you are officially out there. It's just you and your compatriots, the grizzlies, the trout, the eagles and the stouts. It is simply amazing country and for all the trouble the whitewater had better be good right. It is, damn good too.

Ian Garcia below the Class V Sneak rapid. Photo: ES

Ian Garcia in the Jim Bridger Double Slide. Photo: ES

For a good report on a Bull Lake mission go HERE.

So there it is. The case for the southern half of the Wind River Reservation being the best area for wilderness creek boating in the Rockies. Where do you think the best wilderness creek boating in the Rockies is? (OBJ will not be accepted as an answer to this question).


Sunday, August 23, 2009

What’SUP Workout

The rivers are running clear and low. Fishing season is pretty much upon us. Time to gain back that winter weight and go back to occasionally hanging out with our non-paddling friends. I try to hit the gym, but I just don't have time and it isn't kayaking. Nothing really is. This past weekend though I spent some time on Lake Erie with my wife’s family and found myself hooked on a new genre of paddling that might just keep my papa’s belly to a minimum through this mud season.

I know, I know, everybody’s talking about SUP. It’s the latest greatest, plus its name is a sweet acronym. It’s pretty hot right now and for some of us that is kind of turn-off, feeling like we are just jumping on the bandwagon, but here are some great reasons to give it a go, even if it’s just on flat-water.

1. It is a great paddling workout and really pretty fun. It works your core big time and most of the same arm, shoulder and torso muscles you use for getting your boof on.

2. It is an amazingly versatile sport. Take it out on flat-water, or the local class III run, take it to the beach to surf some waves or paddle your dog around on it. Liquid Logic is even coming out with a new SUP board that actually doubles as a sit on top kayak, the Versaboard , and it will be out next spring. That thing is looking to be the ultimate family fun vehicle.

Link to the Versaboard video and Liquid Logic Facebook page here.

3. It will be a new challenge that you can look forward to improving at every time you step on it. And believe me, it is a challenge. The flat-water isn’t too bad, but my first experience with a SUP was on Earl’s board on Westwater, and with some current, watch out! You’ll be on your knees before you know it, hoping just to ride it out.

4. Again, It has a sweet name.

5. When you get good you can surf the Glenwood Wave or try to kickflip a waterfall.

Photo by Werner Paddles Dan Gavere - SUP extraordinaire!

I truly think that most paddlers will really enjoy the SUP trend and that we will see more and more of these in people’s arsenals. It’s going to make class III super interesting again for many expert paddlers, and class IV downright hair raising. Just give it a try and you’ll know what I’m saying.

Below is a video of Nikki Gregg who also paddles for Werner talking about her SUP boot camp and the benefits of a SUP workout.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Colorado Junior Kayaking Championship

The Colorado Junior kayaking championships are a chance for paddlers under the age of 18, to compete against kids across the state in three disciplines - boater cross, downriver racing and freestyle.

Evan sheir, driving for the lead in the Boater Cross

This event is hosted by Nick Wigston and Nick is also laying the ground rules, and getting things going for the Rocky Mountain Junior Kayak League. These leagues are springing up all over Colorado, (Durango, Boulder, Fort Collins, Glenwood, Steamboat, Vail and the Arkansas Valley) with a common vision of developing young paddlers into safe and confident kayakers. In what some say is a dying sport. The creation of the JKL and its influx of new paddlers, may be the saving grace for the sport of kayaking.

Twelve young and aspiring paddlers came from across the state to attend the first ever Colorado Junior Kayaking Championship. Creating a fun and exiting atmosphere, were the kids could challenge one another wile growing their on water confidence through leaps and bounds. This event introduced these twelve young kayakers to one another, creating friendships that will continue to grow throughout their lives as they search for friends to push the sport of kayaking to new heights.

These kids, and programs like the JKL are the future of our sport. So help promote the JKL and visit Don’t you wish you could have learned to kayak from a professional instructor, twice a week with kids your own age?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Salida Combos 09

Two years ago I could do 4 trick combos. After working on them a lot last year I didn’t improve on them. With the new 2010 Allstar and 2 days of good water I completed a 5 and 7 trick combo and my 4 trick combo moves are cleaner and have more pop as well. Check out the video!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Review of the Hero Series

Don’t let the name fool you, the Little Hero is a very mighty boat!! Now, I know what you’re thinking: I’m supposed to be neutral. But after paddling the Little Hero, I have only good things to say about it. I have been using it for a few months now and absolutely love it! I came from the Punk Rocker and started using the Hero last summer in Colorado and fell in love with it the moment I got it in moving water. The Hero is a great boat but at 125lbs. it is a little big on me, it just takes a few extra shims. The Little Hero, although it looks small for someone that is 5’7”, fits perfectly and paddles just as well.
What do I love about the Little Hero and the Hero series?? Besides the fact that it is perfect for smaller paddlers, especially the ones that don’t have a lot of upper body strength, it is the perfect boat for any paddler of any skill level. Whether you are learning to river run or running waterfalls and punching big holes, the Little Hero can do it all. It’s easy to roll, easy to surf (or surf out of) holes, and it boofs like a dream.
The hull of the Little Hero (and all boats in the Hero series of course) makes it easy to ferry across the river, catch eddies, and- like I said before- surf out of holes if you happen to get caught in them. It is as if you can look at the line you want to run and the Hero will take you there.
With all of these wow factors, It’s not hard to see how the Hero series is good for paddlers of all skill levels. It will help the beginner learn how to run a river and build confidence, it will help a beginning creeker learn how to use holes to their advantage and run waterfalls, and- of course- it will help that long time creeker navigate his/her way down the river effortlessly.

A good example of my experience with the Little Hero would be when I took it on the Tellico in March. It was at a medium flow and it was my first weekend in my new kayak. There is a ferry at the put in that was effortlessly made with just one stroke. Down stream where the ledges lay the Little Hero was easy to maneuver through the necessary moves and boof easily over the ledges. I even free-wheeled it over the third ledge without a problem. Then, for some ferrying and eddying practice, I stopped at the campsite rapid a little ways above Baby Falls. I was able to ferry across the rapid the whole way down and eddy 11 times. And of course at Baby Falls, it boofed naturally. Of course, to be fair, I wish I could point out some of the less desirable aspects of the Little Hero but the truth is that I’m still looking for them.


Friday, August 07, 2009

British Columbia!!!!

After wondering for weeks if we would actually be able to cross the border with our passport-less friend, we finally successfully made it into sunny, hot, British Columbia. Only able to fit a little over a week of BC time into our schedule, we made best use of our time. There was a day of skiing on the Blackcomb Glacier in the morning and paddling the Cheakamus in the afternoon and another day that involved paddling 3 different creeks (Cheak, Callaghan, & Ashlu). Then we were off to Skoomumchuck Narrows. Unfortunately we spent most of our time watching a greened-out wave, but it was an incredible place to visit and the 2 surfs each day were certainly worth the trip.

Here is a short video that Dave Fusilli made of our trip.

BC 09 from David Fusilli on Vimeo.

Lost mountain lion cub.  
We wanted to keep it as a pet, but by now it might not have been such a good idea.

Scouting Mamquam.... too low

Skiing in a tank top!!

Hiking into Callaghan

Callaghan waterfall!

Dave surfing Skook in the new Pyranha Z-One


More Skook sea life!

Video Footage of a Tugboat flip we witnessed during slack tide at Skook

Dave and Jared hiking into Rogers Creek

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

HH Films scouting

As the main rivers' start tapering off, it's time to look for some low water options, or hike around in the bush looking for new drops / runs. Well, I've been scouting out some stuff in my backyard up here in B-Ham Washington. The dog [Timber] hates me now as I've taken her on bushwacks through Hornets nests, cliffs, glacier runoff and fluctuating 60-100 degree exposed weather. We've stumbled across some cool stuff - check the pics and stand by for some kayaks in these waters...

Photo Credit: HH FILMS

Monday, August 03, 2009


This weekend (August 7th-9th) CKS will be selling everything in the store for 20% off. We'll also be selling our ENTIRE demo fleet including AT/Werner Paddles, Creek Boats, Play Boats, River Runners, Rafts, Duckies, PFDs, Helmets, Wetsuits, and anything else we may have.

We'll also have a gigantic gear swap going on, so bring your old boat and trade it in for a new one!

For more info, click here.