Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Pacific NW Spring Break 2012

I was talking to Leif Anderson one day on the phone when he told me the greatest thing in the world. Southwest Airlines will check your boat and paddle for $50. This blew my mind and that same day I bought a plane ticket to Portland. I didn't even talk to anyone about going, it was an impulse buy. It's 10:00 PM the night before my flight and I still don't have anyone picking me up from the airport. I'm pretty sure I secured a couch to crash on at Niko Peha's house but he's out of town. I start to make calls down the list of guys in Portland that Niko gave me. Second name from the bottom is Jure and I give him a call. He answers a little flustered and I explain that I'm a dirt bag and need a ride from the airport. To my surprise he answers yeah man I can pick you up, text me your flight info I'm in the ER. Pumped to have a ride I say thanks man see ya in the morning. In the back of my mind I'm associating the ER with boating because the last time I was in the ER was due to boating. Now I'm thinking what kind of crew am I meeting up with. Everything is going well on the plane and they even announced over the speaker, "The passenger who checked a large kayak, your boat is in the belly of the plane." Everyone kind of laughed.

The plane lands and I meet up with Jure and talk to some other guys in Portland and they were actually waiting on me to go run Opal Creek. To my surprise I had actually run this one. Also to my surprise I was the only one who had run it out of the three of us going. The other two guys usually just stick to the Little White but wanted to do something else. After making a pit stop to grab beer we were headed to the creek. We got less than a mile of the put in and there was a BMW stuck in the snow completely high centered. Like the good Samaritans we are we drank some beer and helped dig them out which consumed almost all the daylight left. We figured we got hosed trying to kayak that day and let them buy us drinks and dinner. The morning we had no plan so I called another contact in Portland, Logan, and he said lets just do East Fork of the Lewis since Green Truss is F'ed and Little White is at 4ft and has wood. We went to do that which was super mellow and I had a real cool suicide line on horseshoe falls which got my blood pumping. After partying that night we decided on Eagle creek the next day there were 4 guys wanting to run Metlako that never had so once again I was the only one who had run this drop. Six guys hiked up to punch bowl falls and we put on. After good lines on punchbowl, we talked about the monster waiting down stream. After the other 3 guys I was with decided they were in, I led them down the river which was real strange since I was the one visiting. They had all decided I was running it first which I was cool with, but that did make me a little nervous. A little background on this drop, 15 foot slide to 82 foot free fall, and the last time I ran this Eagle creek was raging and I got completely wrecked. I was real excited to go back at a more reasonable level and hopefully stick the drop. As I come over the lip the huge amphitheater waits 100 feet below me and I realize I'm at the point of no return. I flick my paddle and tuck up. This drop is perfect because the landing is soft and the pool is relatively calm. Last time I was there Leif could barely ferry across the pool. Once I sub up from the darkness I realize my skirt is still on and I'm in my boat. I attempt 8 hand rolls which are normally bomber but I missed every one. I pull my skirt and swim to a rocky beach. I watch everyone above come down 1 by 1 and Jeremy Bisson completely stuck it. After a booty beer and some partying we crash.

When we woke up the next morning everything was spiking, the rain had hit everywhere really hard. That day we went to Canyon creek which had risen that morning from 600 to 1400 when we put on. It was around 15 or 16 hundo by the time we got off. Great creek gets pretty awesome with more water. The next day we went to check out McDowell creek at flood stage which had a 40 footer but looked pretty sketchy so we all bailed. My last day of paddling we went to Hagen creek but were trying to to Stebbins creek. Stebbins was at a good flow but we didn't bring enough cars to do the 45 minute shuttle. Hagen was at a lower level than the last time I did it, which was nice and that run is always sick. My new buddy Chris Leach gave me a ride to the airport stoked to have a sick spring break. I put together an edit of the trip, enjoy!

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