Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hold the phone - summer's not dead!

After all my talk of switching into sea kayak mode I got a late night call from Matt saying he was planning to run the N Stan, leaving early the next morning. Amazing that such a great stretch of river still has water (barely) in the middle of September. It's only a two hour drive and Matt was planning on doing a bike shuttle but wanted a third person for the trip (three is much safer than two). Lydia was the third and it was her first time on the N Stan and her first time really creeking. The weather was suppose to be perfect and I hadn't packed away my whitewater gear quite yet so I joined in on the fun.

And fun it was - a perfect day of carefree boating. The low water changed a lot of the rapids but for the most part they still help up. The first rapid of the day is the toughest and it had a fair amount of pin and piton potential. (The actual first rapid at the put in is a class V+ nightmare that we didn't even consider at these flows). Matt and I charged it and we both had smooth lines that made it feel like we had accomplished something and also helped us to relax the rest of the day. The river itself was clear and picturesque and it had the right combination of pools and easy rapids with a few more technical ones thrown in. Lydia was picking things up as the day went along and really got the hang of low water, rocky creek paddling.

The single biggest drop is actually the very last one, right below the bridge at the take out. Matt went first and briefly disappeared before popping up upright and giving the go ahead. I had the same basic ride but manage to keep my nose up enough to just get instantly surfed out the side of the hole. Lydia was dead on target but still subbed out and emerged upside down - but rolled to the cheers of the onlookers above. In fact a super kind older couple watching the action came over to show us the pictures they had taken and offered to email them to us. And after they asked how we planned to get back up to our car at the put in and we showed them the bike they offered to load all of us and our gear into their truck and drive us back up. Now that's the way you end the summer with style.


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