Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer has begun

The other day was the Summer Solstice - the official start of summer and the longest day (daylight) of the year. By shear coincidence I took advantage of that fact by getting in two laps on Slab Creek. The run itself is quite quick - a little over an hour - but what makes the long day relevant is that the gate to the put in automatically locks at sunset. So if you haven't gotten of the river and driven shuttle in time your vehicle gets locked in overnight. And for my second lap of the day my friend was flying in for business and meeting me at the takeout late in the afternoon. We ended up with a small window to squeeze the paddle in and get out in time.

I haven't been paddling a lot lately and the rust showed on the very first rapid of the day. To be fair, it is one the the trickier ones with some juicy holes and F-U rocks. I was on line but angled off and got flipped in the main drop, rolled up in time to back surf the next hole and get flushed out upside down before rolling up at the bottom. A good wake up that kept me upright for the rest of the run - until the very end. After running the tough final rapid you need to catch the eddy on the left at the bottom in the runout. I was a little tired by this time and started cutting left too hard - only to get flipped and then rolling and dropping down through the rest of the run out. No real problem, but I created a much longer hike back up the canyon to climb up to the bridge.

My second lap went much smoother - at least for me. The water level had dropped from 1300 to about a 1000. And honestly it seemed to make things a little harder - more rocks popped up and lines became finer. For this lap there were just two of us - I was showing a buddy down for his first time. Due to the time constraint we just kept paddling and he relied on my quick beta and following my lines. I think my lines were fine but maybe not the easiest to follow - he had a couple swims and I had the joy of trying to wrangle a large boat full of water into a small eddy between big drops. It was all good with no permanent damage to boat or boater.

Here's video of the first two rapids on my first lap. Luckily I'm a quick learner...

1 comment:

  1. The best way to clear out the rust is to add water. Wait a second...that doesn't make sense.