Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Little White Cam + Columbia River Logistics

Hi Everyone,

For more info check out:
Or our "Live" site at
We're also on Facebook:

Thanks to the sponsors and everyone who helped us put this together!

* Adventure's Edge * AT Paddles * Caliproduct * ECHO * Golden Temple * Gorge Delights
* KEEN * Kokatat * NeoSport * Next Adventure * Paddle Humboldt * River Drifters * River Hardware * Sotar * Turtle Island Foods

Keel Brightman Photo. Rob Bart Styles Boulder Sluice, Little White as Cody films w/ a Cable Cam - Footage coming to

Summary update (site has more photos)

The Bad News:
The Source is frozen, so we’re forced to start below Mica Dam. This cuts off the first 200 frozen miles and will hopefully allow us to begin paddling March 1st. We will paddle from Mica Creek to the Ocean, then go directly back up when the Source has thawed and complete the journey.

The Good News:
Everything looks good to go. We’ve now created a “Live” site with a SPOT tracker and a webcam. Tons of parties and community floats are coming together for anyone who would like to join us on the way:

The Great News:

Keel tracked down a trainer kite and 7meter kite, wonder how kitecatarafting will work…

Cody hooked up a zipline on the Little White and got some awesome video while Keel took photos. Cody will be posting the footage at

Please Join us along the Experience:
Directions for trips below and more at


March 27th: Hanford Reach - Vernita Bridge to the Ringold Springs Fish Hatchery. Meet at Vernita Bridge Rest Area below Priest Rapids Dam at 10am. We will go from the Vernita Bridge to a camping spot on the Dunes ~25-30 miles. Either camp with us near the Take-out this day or take-out at the Ringold Springs Fish Hatchery.

March 28th: Hanford Reach - Ringold Springs Fish Hatchery to Pasco. ~15 miles. If you paddle with us the day before we will wake up and paddle across the river from our campsite to the Fish Hatchery and meet anyone who would like to join us for this section. If you are just going to paddle with us from the Hatchery to Pasco please meet us at the Hatchery boat ramp at 10am.

March 29th: Pasco to Wallula Gap. ~25-30 miles. Either float the entire stretch or plan an earlier take-out on your own.

April 4th: Little White Salmon. Class V. If you need more info you should probably sit this one out. Drano at 10am.

April 6th: Little White Salmon - Eagle Creek. Class V. Paddle with us on the Little White then float down the Columbia to the Confluence of Eagle Creek just east of the Bonneville Dam.

April 7th: Eagle Creek - Class IV-V. Skoonichuck, Punchbowl, Metlako and a handful of other amazing rapids/drops. Hike-in as far as you'd like, Skoonichuck is most likely as far as we'll go ~6 miles. Easy Trail. Family and friends welcome to hike w/ us. Great photo/video oppurtunities.

April 10th - EF Lewis Race Warm up

April 11th - EF Lewis Race - Race details are still being figured out.

May 1-3rd - Post Expedition - Forks of Salmon, CA. Cal-Salmon Nordheimer Race and Celebration Party.


Friday, February 27 - Seattle, WA: Risen Sun Premier, Bands, and more, High Dive in Seattle. Show starts at 8:30.

Saturday, March 28th - Pasco, WA: Risen Sun Premier, Music, and more. Movie starts at 8:30pm. Details coming.

Saturday, April 11th - EF Lewis Race- Race details are still being figured out.

Saturday, April 4th - Hood River: Film Premier and much more. Details coming.

May 1-3rd, Post Expedition - Forks of Salmon, CA. Cal-Salmon Nordheimer Race and Celebration Party.


American Whitewater

American Whitewater restores rivers dewatered by hydropower dams, eliminates water degradation, improves public land management and protects public access to rivers for responsible recreational use.

Columbia Riverkeepers
Columbia Riverkeeper's mission is to restore and protect the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean.

Because of Columbia Riverkeeper efforts, 95 percent less dioxin (chlorine breakdown product) flows into the River today than did 15 years ago. Heavy metal pollution has also decreased significantly due to industry-level technological improvements encouraged by Columbia Riverkeeper. Hanford Nuclear Site cleanup has become the best funded of any Superfund site in the country. Real accomplishments have been made that have improved the health of the river and saved millions of taxpayer dollars.

Sun Catchers Project
With this project we hope to create a global consciousness and universal desire to protect our natural forests by creating awareness of successful available energy alternatives to burning trees. We exist to improve the quality of life and health of people globally with the development of solar energy through cooking. By working with children all over the world, we strive to create a universal understanding and respect between our cultures at an early age. Our goal is to connect our communities and environment by actively engaging in education, research, development, and the application of attainable solutions through solar cooking.

Here we go, T-2days.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Eastern Oregon: soon...

The setting is perfect: steep gradient, waterfalls, slides, gorgeous mountains, pagan ritual sites and plenty of bears. Twelve miles in and only twenty-four out. All we need now is some sweet sunshine, and some snowshoes.Few kayakers would think to venture into the brush out here in Eastern Oregon. For me, it's personal. I grew up in the little town of La Grande, and having spent the last few months living back home and exploring the area, I think there just might be some paddling after all. The cover of the phone-book has a clean 15-to-30-to-10 foot triple-drop on it, and years back our sleepy little church-camp of a settlement was home to the likes of Josh Bechtel (Hey dude, congrats) and other perhaps lesser known white-water heroes. I did spot a few waterfalls while scouting, and I hope they look a little cleaner once they melt. I wonder what the rest of the runs look like under all that snow.
For now I'm just waiting for the snow to melt, and cruising to Hood River whenever I get boof withdrawals. Then I boof it like it's Colorado hot-mank. Observe: 

To the Right: Big Brother at stupid low. Photo: Kim Russell 
Above, Right: the author getting his scout game on.

So long everyone, I'll post more as soon as this stuff starts melting. And Mansfield, if you're alive still, I've got the creek for you...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Big Ditch

It's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but the Mank Crew remains busy, busy gettin' life done day after day.  Most recently, we made life conform to an entirely too short 15 day trip down the Grand Canyon.  The trip got mighty Western in water, scenery and campfire tales of lore.  Here Diane and I roll in style down to the get-in:
So the first days, I thought to myself, "Damn, this place is enormous."  Yet, I had no idea exactly how enormous it would get as things floated by early in the trip.  
I must say that rafting is a sport near and dear to my heart.  Believe it or not, I guided in infamy near Buena Vista for years.  I still know how to keep the black side down:
But never fear, the Mank Crew remains on the attack and we even found a 1st Known Descent right on the shores of the Grand Canyon*.  Chris stuck'er first and I liked his line enough to giv'er myself.
*If you'd like to claim running this drop first, feel free to complain to the editors.  We named the drop "Crikin' in the AZ."
Like I was saying earlier, this place is enormous.  Oppressively, devastatingly enormous.
A trip through the Grand features the most amazing conversation pieces around the living room.
There's something so nostalgic about rafts tied up in a beautiful eddy.  Just thinking about it and I can't get the smile off my face.
The canyon plays so many tricks on your senses with the subtle smells and unfathomable distances, but I liked the way it messed with the light reaching your eyes.  I've visited Vegas, but I never seen lighting like this.
It's hard to imagine a better place to spend the night - stars, good friends, a warm fire on the beach and a touch of whiskey sloshing in the brain (drink responsibly please).  After all it was New Years - 2009!
Ever heard of a Grease Bomb?  I first learned of these while standing under the stars on an Arkansas River beach.  Of note, that fire pan is almost 2 feet off the ground.  Licensed professionals only please.  
I definitely had time on this trip to sit back, enjoy, and realize that the major stresses in my life are a bit trivial in the scheme of things.  "Stressin' the stress free."
You know, it's really unnerving how big we're talking here.  Take the biggest points in Cataract or triple the biggest ones in Westwater.  Now extend those cliffs for every bit of 226 miles - you've probably still not fathomed how big this place is.  
Note the full size cottonwood trees in the foreground.  This shot also brings up a point.  The only thing people seem to want to know about a Grand trip in January is "Was it cold?"  Does that have any bearing on whether you'd go or not?  It's one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Anyway, my answer is no to both questions.  But I will admit that I was wearing a drysuit or down jacket at all points in time and Diane never changed out of all 5 of her layers.  However, there was generally snow on the horizon at the relatively few points where we could see above the first 1,000 feet of vert.  I will also mention that for months up until the put-in date, I discussed with my journal the exact extent of the pain and suffering I was expecting.  But at least I managed to convince our fabulous cook, Jace, to bring 20lbs of bacon.  Then, I never doubted our survival even once.  
The water in the Grand also had it's own magic.
And enormity.
Chris worked a little magic on the water, too.  I will say the rapids were interesting.  We hardly took any pictures of them, which I think is pretty telling of the Grand.  The rapids will flip rafts, but you come for the superb hiking and scenery.   However, take caution by making sure that someone rides the bull on your raft through Lava to "giv'er the horns."  Otherwise, you may risk disaster.  I think the eddies, whirlpools and oceans on the river were the most interesting features.  Our only kayak swim came on an eddy line...
This shot is looking out of Red Wall Cavern.  I can't imagine a more beautiful, breathtaking, undercut, eddy wall of doom.  Like everything in life, it all depends on flow...
To get an idea of the grand, imagine this scene for the entire 15 days.  A quote from my Grand Canyon Journal reads, "The peace of this place - just the sluggish ebb and flow of life down here - is overwhelming, crushing, maybe even suffocating."  
Like my boys Gov't Mule would say, "On the banks of the deep gotta hold on to a piece of dry land."

After a few days on the river, the group gets a bit goofy.  By the time you're drying boats at the git-out beach, the group has just lost it.  I wanted to give a shout out to Christian for TLing one hellva trip.  At this point, I should also take credit for winning the World Cup Grand Canyon Dirtoff Championships.  Tom was tragically disqualified from the competition on day 8 after accidentally getting soap on his skin.  
Most of these shots (the good ones) were taken by Tom Janey, seen here in self portrait.  Ladies, can you believe that this guy is currently single?  Holla at your boy!

And my parting shot for those fans (especially lotsawater) of my very favorite kayak company:  Jackson Kayak.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Sharks, Crocs, Cougars and a little kayaking

It is winter time down here in New Mexico. The mountains have snow but the lower valleys are getting toasty during the day. Perfect for some nice 60 degree weather to go boating in. The Rio Grande Racecourse section flows year round and some folks kayak it all winter. Today I was joined by Thad and Lisa. Thad has only been boating for 5 months and is the most fired up individual I have ever met about going boating. Lisa has been boating for awhile,and is just recovering from shoulder surgery. A mellow beautiful day with some minor mishaps (mental delusions), lay ahead...Oh ya, Nate also joined us. Were not to sure about this Nate guy....

The putin..

Thad looking good. For only boating for 5 months, he sure does have the nicest gear. He has on the pimpinShred Ready Tdub helmet, the new awesome Astral Green Jacket, the AT2 flexi paddle and he fits perfectly into the new Pyranha Karnali kayak. I respect the fact that he bought great gear even as he is learning. Less upgrading later...

Lisa seal launching in....

Thad has been working on his roll like there is no tomorrow. Here he demonstrates the adverse effects of bringing your head out of the water first.

I didn't capture the perfect roll demonstration by him right after this. I later asked him what his secret was to perfecting the roll in any situation. Especially this early in his kayak career. He said, Atom its really pretty simple, I'm terrified of sharks and so I just pretend that they are in every river I Kayak on. If I swim, I get eaten. So it makes me roll every time. He then told me about his favorite movie. Here is a preview of it..

After all the shark talk, I had to do some Bow Stalls...

Thad charging...

Lisa during the aftermath of a rare swim. I asked what the heck happened? Oh not much she said, I just thought I saw a Crocodile and so I freaked out and tried to ward it off with my paddle. Ahhhhh, Okay?

Lisa then confessed to me that she loved crocodile movies, but is totally scared of the actual creatures. This is her favorite Croc movie..

Back on track. Thad running Big Rock

Thad looking like he is training for the Middle Kings.

Lisa Training for the Micos en Mexico.

Lisa catching the Eddy at Sleeping Beauty

Thad same..

That guy Nate finally shows up.

Yup, that is Nate's tongue sticking out. I have about 50 shots of him surfing Sleeping beauty and his tongue is out in every shot. Lisa thinks it looks hot...

Thad getting some surf in..

Lisa one upping Thad (she actually made it in the hole)

Nate going for the elusive Helix.

Afterward I asked him what he thought about before trying such a hard move. Older women, he said without hesitation.
This is for you buddy..

Well an awesome day was had by all. I'm gonna end it with a plug for the NRS Toaster Mit. My hands are always freezing in the winter time (tried pogies and gloves-all of them). Tried these out today and was actually sweating. The paddle felt fine while wearing them. I'm sold using them for play runs and easier river running. I would not recommend them for creeking. Over and out. I'm off to Chile for 3 weeks where hopefully there are no crocs, sharks or aggressive cougars...