Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Assessing our food stuffs for breakfast you could tell we probably needed to get home soon. After a delicious breakfast of cold tuna, hot sauce, and macaroni sans cheese, we were ready to move on to bigger and better things. We met two other crews at the put-in and planned on meeting them up the trail. We geared up and set off on what would become the most enjoyable hike I’ve ever taken. Carrying your boat for 4 miles isn’t really that much of a chore when you’re engulfed in a big beautiful dynamic landscape. Gorgeous cascades, stunning views of the canyon below and the ultra-scenic footbridges crossing side tributaries made for a pretty easy going trek.
An 8 foot Fluid Solo for scale, simply gorgeous. photo: David Schmitt
First look at Metlako. photo Leif Anderson
Skoonichuck was our first test, and when I say first I mean it was put on, float 20 feet and be at the lip of the waterfall. The drop itself is around 40 feet into a small pool followed by a 10 foot boof. We all decided to fire it up. After leif went off the second drop backwards and I chose to perfect my roll to boof technique Natalie took the cleanest line award on our first drop of the day. We worked our way downstream through pristine basalt gorges that were out of this world. The hike up may have given an incredible view of these gorges below, but on the water they became a kayaking sanctuary.
Leif on Skoonichuck! photos: Natalie Kramer
A few fun read-and-run boofs later it was time for round two, Punch Bowl Falls. The other two groups were either taking their last glances at the lead-in, or already waiting at the bottom when we pulled up. The creasing lip on this drop makes it a little more challenging, but all in all our lines came out great. All it took was a little speed to ride up on the pillow and one steady sweep stroke into a tuck. I popped up in the pool below to find everyone beaming ear to ear. With the adrenaline still flowin we paddled downstream to the take-out before the big boy, Metlako Falls. Five of us decided we were in, Leif, Natalie, myself and the Montana boys Jared J. and DJ Stoneman.
For those unfamiliar with Metlako Falls, it is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the U.S. Its height has been debated from 80 to 100 feet. It’s enclosed nature has made it a little difficult to get a true measurement. I don’t claim to have the best eye for measuring waterfalls but I’d put it at about 85 feet. Really it’s neither here or there, it’s a big drop, but one of the most beautiful out there. If in some twisted way you can consider throwing yourself off a huge waterfall “easy” then Metlako is probably one that is. The lead-in to the drop is “relatively” simple; just line-up downstream, in the center of the channel, and paddle slowly into the lead-in sloping chute and away you go. The key is “relatively”, running big drops is a serious undertaking and takes a cool head. Free fall in general, let alone in a kayak, is not a natural feeling for the human mind or body and takes sense of very acute control. Knowing that this is what we signed up for we all headed downstream.
Eagle creek is unlike any place in this world. It’s a site that has to be witnessed first had, whether you kayak it or not. It draws you in deeper with every bend in the trail or horizon line downstream.
There’s nothing like spring, when the water runs high and the rivers become alive again, the re-birthing of the world and warming of the days, bringing flow, to the world’s veins.
As May comes around we look forward to a new season ahead, but for me its closing down a season in Chile and starting a new season in Colorado.
Working as a safety kayaker on the Trancura River in Pucon, Chile is great you meet so many kayakers from all over the world, that just come to huck the amazing crystal clear waters of the Palguin, the must run of the Nevados, or the boulder fields of the Puesco. Pucon is an amazing place to work, live, and go boating. I have not seen winter in 4 years because I have been working in Chile. But this year in Pucon I will never forget it. Looking up the canyon walls on the Nevados, and Running the 70ft on the Middle Palguin for the first time, or the multiple laps on the Upper Palguin with some escudo at the end! Great Memories, good friends!!
But as the seasons change and the snow starts to melt I look forward to being back in the Arkansas River valley. I miss play boating and can’t wait to go surf around the state at all the good man made features with of course the occasional creek stop. I am also looking forward to teaching kayaking again, at Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center where I work as an instructor. To teach someone something I love so much, and to watch them succeed in kayaking is something that I cherish. But the place to find me is in the Salida WWP in my green Jackson Superstar surfing the main hole going big! So I hope to see everyone on the water, have a great 2011 season, stay safe, y buenas lineas!!
Come on out, get wet, and learn to kayak with us at RMOC! www.RMOC.com
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Start of the Race
Finishing the ski leg
My math teacher Bechtal and his skier
End of the biking leg
Start of the Kayaking
End Of Kayaking
My Team From Left Cody Johnston(Biker), Evan Schehrer: me (Kayaker), Ethan Coit(Skier)
Overall, the race was great. Jessie Richter won again for his seventh repeat in the race, and our team had great time of 3 hours and 21 minutes. I would also like to thank Mike Harvey for letting me borrow the plastic slalom boat, otherwise I don’t think the creek boat I was going use would have been that fast.