Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bachelor parties and flat tires...

To close the trifecta of why kayaking is fun, let us not forget about river trips. Waking up next to the river, floating for a few miles, seeing new places, and making camp again all amongst good friends might be on of the best parts of our sport. In that vein, I thought I would close with this trip on the Chilko-Chilcoton in BC near Lake Louise.

The back story to this adventure, was a good friend was about to walk the plank into eternal matrimony and requested one last hoorah before his weekends were to fill up with to-do lists and trips to Bed Bath and Beyond.The answer of course, bachelor kayak roadtrip! (PS most my kayak roadtrips don't usually include to many women accompanying but bachelor kayak roadtrips are special because women can't come and what happens on the adventure stays on the adventure). Given high snow packs, a cool summer, flows were a bit on the highside when the said adventure was to occur but never fear there are usually lots of options north of the border with the only issues generally being lack of concrete beta and shuttle difficulties.

So one fine weekend a group of 10 or so men, one large armored truck, one full size van, one dirtbike, a few chainsaws, hydraulic winch, row frame raft, and copious amounts of beer headed north for 4 days and many miles of kayaking bliss. The Chilko-Chilcotin certainly the hardest things out there but what they lack in pure difficultly they gain in countless miles of class IV haystacks and read-run whitewater in the midst of some pretty remote wilderness. For a bonus side fact they are also extremely close to the put-in for the Homathako and actually drain the other side of its headwaters.   

Here's some pics enjoy;

I'm not sure why 90% of my kayak adventures involve driving through the night on dirt roads to get to a destination and arriving at or near sunrise but they do and I've made my peace with it. 

A lot of kayak adventures also involve a large automobile stuffed to the hilt with people and gear.

Hale-bop have fun on the white mile section

Faceshot anyone?
Thankfully rivertrips involve camp chilling. 10 guys, a keg of beer, and a lot of time on our hands. Oh just what are we going to do

Well for starters a little bit of this.
Not quite boofs for breakfast but the crew is falling in line and feeling that keg of beer right about now.
No kayak adventure is complete without a stop to one of these...luckily some locals just let the air out of a tire and we didn't have to deal anything more serious.
   Until next time, SYOTR. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Video Updates from Austin Nickell

So as people start thinking about snow and skiing, I just cant stop thinking about whitewater. I have been working through some old footage and thought I would post a couple videos here.

This is my latest, while Brush Creek is certainly not the gnarliest thing out there it remains one of my favorites as it is just so much fun. This one was all shot on the Canon 7D camera.

This is the South Fork of the Feather River, a great fall run here in California.

This is the Thunder Run on the Kern River shot using the GoPro 3D system.
You need 3D glasses to properly view this one :)

until the next time.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Badfish River Surfer - Gauley River

A Taste of the Badfish 6'11 River Surfer

This fall I was fortunate enough to spend a few weeks at the Gauley River.  After a few weeks of playboating my brains out, it was time to break out the SUP board and get on a few of the classic gauley playspots.  During a high release day, Haley Mills and a crew from the put in campground headed down to Koontz Flume Rapid for a little park and play surfing.  With the water level at 4700, this was the perfect place to test out the Badfish River surfer in a rowdy wave/hole and see what it could do.  Here is a short video highlighting what the Badfish River Surfer can do on the river.  

Hope you enjoyed and if you get the chance to test one of these out on the river, you will love it, 

Mike T 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Photo TR: Southeast Fall Classics

Fresh off a trip to visit my good friend Joe and run some steep whitewater, I can't stop thinking about the Southeast. We scored a near perfect weekend of boating on a couple true classics, the Green River Narrows and Tallulah Gorge.

Almost everything went right on this trip, aside from a few minor crashes on the water. First, it goes without saying that the whitewater was top notch. Second, I got to test drive the new Liquid Logic Stomper 90. The boat is super fun to paddle and truly combines the incredible hull of the Remix with all the features of the Jefe that have made it one of the most revered creekers to date. Also, I have to put in a plug for the local eateries and watering holes. Asheville is home to some fantastic restaurants, coffee houses, and bars. Can't wait to go back.

The photos tell it best. The first run was an afternoon run on the Green. Can't tell you how happy I was to see the Tuxedo Hydro station report on Wednesday morning saying the Green would be running for the long weekend. Being a newly minted Green local, Joe got me fired up to go left in Go Left for the first time. Some crashes ensued, but dang if that isn't a fun rapid.

Joe on Go Left.

And in the Groove Tube.

We spent day two doing back-to-back laps. With a bluebird day and the trees still holding strong color for this late in the fall, it was a standout day of paddling. We rallied down with a great local posse as well.

Groove Tube at midday. Photo: Nikki Malatin

Matthew entering Scream Machine, the beginning
of the slide series below Gorilla

Gorilla was waiting.

Third time's the charm, and it was the last lap of the weekend, so Joe decided to fire it. Green River OG and Liquid Logic founder, Woody Callaway, offered us some great advice: you come into the Notch with a plan, and then you ad lib from there to the lip. That's what happened, as we both planned to catch the eddy, but both got sent direct.

Joe in the Notch (missed the photo of his first Gorilla crash, dang!)

Rolling over the Monkey, Speedtrap, and the runout.

Slides! (so 1990s, bro)

After the Green we routed over the Eastern Continental Divide and headed to the Tallulah Gorge. We had great timing and caught a good old-fashioned festival party at Tallulahfest.

We got on the river early the next day and enjoyed watching Issac Levinson and Pat Keller lap the markee drop, Oceana. Pat was running a new line involving a hectic downstream ferry above the Thing, followed by an eddy turn next to it, and then a surf back around to the pool. Fun to watch.

What's that I spy on Joe's upper lip?
Well, it is Movember, after all.

Stomper & stairs.

Isaac on the middle line:

Pat inventing a new line:

Joe on the 'days of thunder' line:


Tallulah is definitely one of the most scenic places I have paddled. With predictable releases, occasional rain flows, and awesome autumn foliage, fall boating in the Southeast is hard to beat.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cotahuasi Photos

           I thought that I would share a few photos from my recent trip down the Cotahuasi river in Peru.  The Cotahuasi - while not being incredibly difficult from the whitewater standpoint - is one of the most humbling and awe inspiring places I have ever had the pleasure of visiting.  Flowing over 3400 meters below the rim the small river carves one of the worlds deepest canyons (the peruvians claim the deepest) as it winds it's way through the Atacama desert; the driest desert in the world.  To complete the picture the place is chalk-full of pre-incan ruins, Peruvian Condors, subsistance farmers, fisherman, miners, and hot springs.  On this trip the water was low and we took extra time to explore ruins and side canyons and get the most out of this beautiful place.  Enjoy the pictures.

Cooper Lambla getting western in on of the mini-gorges.

Cooper and Will Stubblefield resting after a sporty scramble up a side canyon

The Stubblefield emerges

A fairly standard riverside finding in this neck of the woods

Cooper and Will staying cool in the heat of the day

Dinner food passed to me in my boat by local fisherman.  They didn´t
even know it was Will´s birthday!

Yes... even the shuttle was THAT fun!

The view from camp one

Saturday, November 12, 2011

San Joaquin, Tied for First

Jon Chin and Austin Nickell hiking into the put in. p.Andrew Pernicano

Andrew Gibs, Benjamin Scheib and Geno Hacker prepare for a spectacular day.
p.Andrew Pernicano

Austin Nickell gets his boof above a scary sieve rapid.
p. Andrew Pernicano

Breaking through to safety.
p. Andrew Pernicano

This is a really awesome run that should be high on any boaters list. If you are in California and it just happens to be running be sure not to miss it. We were fortunate enough that there was construction on a turbine and they needed to release into the run. With flows around 1000cfs we set off towards Mammoth Pools reservoir. I was happy to get two laps on this beautiful run in November of 2011.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

CO Highwater Recap Part II: Wildcat canyon

Another memorable trip from this summer was Wildcat canyon. This is an impressive canyon of the South Platte River in the southern Front Range of Colorado. The run is usually referred to as Cheeseman, but I like to call it Wildcat since that’s on the map and it recalls a funny movie moment.

That we enjoy easy access to explore Wildcat canyon by kayak is due to American Whitewater. Thanks to persistence and lots of negotiation, AW brokered a deal allowing kayakers unfettered access to the ideal put-in for the run, so long as we call the local community landowners ahead of time. On this trip, we managed to briefly high center the shuttle rig under the load of 7 kayaks, kayakers and our gear as we were escorted through private property to one of the more scenic get-ins in Colorado.

Once on the water, the canyon does not waist too much time in beginning to drop. As with most of the State in July, Wildcat was running at high flow. We had close to 500 cfs, which turned out to be the high side of good for some of the rapids. The ample flow also had rearranged some timber, leaving some rapids unnrunable. The classic “slap yo moma” was out due to a giant tree blocking the exit to the falls. Next time…

Here are a few photos recounting the trip, and a video from the day.

Oliver paying his at Club Dues:

Tom following suit:

The waterfall entrance to Punji Stick was out of play with wood issues:

But half the crew earned the bottom of the rapid:

No denying that the canyon is an incredible place to spend the day. Maybe I will go back to fish.

A ‘tweener rapid that dished out some treats.

Kyle doing some downriver freestyle:

Jason enjoying the smooth granite and good flow:

In the end, we all got some good exercise that day. The choice to portage on this run comes easy when you see the sieves and undercuts that wait for offline paddlers. There aren’t too many places in Colorado with Cali-style granite boulder gardens though, so a trip to Wildcat is well worth it for qualified creekers (as soon as someone flosses the logs out…).

Boat waiting for a ride:

Gearing up to earn it:

The most memorable aspect of the run, for many, is the hike out. Hiking out in the heat of July was a bear, and one of our team experienced significant dehydration. The sight of your shuttle vehicle at the end of this day is a great relief!