Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to make class V a little hairier

I had an opportunity this summer to work on the Kern – not as a guide though – but as some sort of “manager”, thus ensuring that I would never get on the water. The Kern is broken into three sections: the Lower is below Lake Isabella, the Upper is above, and the Forks is pretty much the “Upper-Upper”.

Chris and Chandra pop out of the hole in Big Bean:

For day-trippers, the Kern is perfect because there are lots of access points and different runs, with everything from flat water to class V. The Forks is the only trip with difficult access and, for rafts, requires packing in with mules about two miles. It has great whitewater, is in a wilderness area (the Golden Trout), and is often considered one of the crown jewels of wilderness class V. As an outfitter, we don’t run very many trips on the Forks – it doesn’t fit well with the L.A. crowd scene.

At the end of April we decided to run a private Forks training trip. The date was set for May 12th. The cost of getting equipment (we use Avon Expeditions and Avon Adventures for our oar boats) down to the river is expensive so I wasn’t expecting my own boat. The numbers continued to go up though and at some point we discovered that, yes, we would need another oar boat and, yes, I would be taking it.

That was great news – for me (at the time), the only thing scarier than running big water was being someone’s passenger. Then, it turned out that my girlfriend wanted to go. Then, it turned out that my mother wanted to go. So I was left wondering exactly what the hell I had gotten myself into. They would be my paddle-assist and I now realized that the only thing scarier than being someone’s passenger is rowing your mother down class V.

Seven years ago my younger brother Matt and I ditched three days of high school, caught an Amtrak train to Bakersfield and a ride to Kernville to paddle-assist on the Forks. Looking back on the two days we had spent on the water all I could remember was a mango-salsa we had made at camp (must have been good) and Carson Falls, the very last rapid on the Forks. Not helpful.

Back to the present: After a day of packing-in (our Clavey oars and personal dry bags have to be hiked in), a night of sleep on the island (where the Little Kern meets the Kern, hence the “Forks”), and a jittery breakfast we pushed off and thus began the most nervous three days of boating I’ve ever had.

Ceremonial drinking of the Little Kern water:

The Forks is something incredibly special. When you’re not focused on the whitewater (rarely) you have a chance to catch a glimpse of a very dramatic and beautiful river canyon. The whitewater is, of course, one of the main draws to this section of river but it’s not what I would call “stupid-big”. The thing that is most impressive about the whitewater is how continuous it is.

A side-hike up Peppermint Creek led to this impressive waterfall:

From a statistics book, one probably wouldn’t predict the Forks to be as great as it is. The gradient is only 65 feet per mile and the run is only 18 miles. There are lots of rivers and creeks that match up and exceed both of these numbers. This is a great thing about rivers and creeks – they aren’t machines, you can’t just look at numbers, they’re dynamic and sometimes you just have to be there to see what they’re like. We like to look at rapids and say “this one’s class III, this one over here is class IV-, and so on…” and I could do that for every rapid I’ve seen, but what I would prefer and what is more meaningful to me is to just say that it is “big” water and - when your mother is in the boat - it is “bigger” water.

Continuous whitewater on the Forks of the Kern:

I have never boated the same river twice- unless you look at it geographically or by name- and I’m certain I will never boat the Forks the same way I did back in May – with my mother and girlfriend in the front sharing and living through the same whitewater and river canyon that I was. Sharing the moment when we watched, as the number two boat, the lead boat get surfed wildly at Vortex (one of the “big ones”) and lose the two bow paddlers just above The Gauntlet (another “big one”) and me screaming at them to get down and huddle in the front rather than paddle (I was terrified of accidentally knocking one of them out of the boat and was fairly certain I could keep the boat upright).

The peak of the trip for me was reaching the lead-in to Carson Falls, pulling over, and walking down the scout trail. The drop led into a huge lateral hole, which, if you hit it correctly, you would punch. Otherwise, you would end up going into “The Thing” – a large nasty pour-over covering the right side of the river. I picked out a marker and knew we could hit it. We did, but we did not have enough left-angle and the monster hole zipped us straight to the lip of The Thing.

Will, Dana, and Mary dropping into the hole in Big Bean:

A friend had hiked up from the road to take photos of the boats dropping Carson. He snapped a photo of our boat on the brink of The Thing. There is a look of horror on my face as I try to straighten the boat out, Dana looks shocked that we ended up where we did, and my mom… she’s giggling. I guess she knew we would end up just fine.

About to drop into The Thing:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tales of the Janitor or Confessions from the Stand Up Paddleboard

Posted by Tom Meckfessel

I arrive at one of my local surf breaks (one that I usually avoid because of the crowds -but it’s the perfect spot to SUP) at about a quarter to six in the morning. The drive from Point Reyes to Bolinas at this time of day can be as spectacular as my time on the water; the Olema Valley is covered with wisps of ground fog and I have to break for the occasional coyote. If I hadn’t checked my Mac for the surf report before I left the house, I would still know the surf was going to be smallish at best by how easily I find a place to park near the beach. And sure enough, the surf is small and there is nobody on the beach but me. These conditions are perfect for my paddleboard.

The beauty of Stand Up Paddling (or SUPing) is that it just doesn’t matter if there isn’t any surf because you can still go out, have some fun and get a good workout. I suit up and paddle out. The full moon is setting behind the Bolinas Mesa while the sun is rising over the Bolinas ridge and the early morning light is soft and yellow. I paddle out to the “patch”, a section of Duxbury reef known for its long gentle rollers. The view one gets from the stand up position is really quite unique. Because you are, in my case, six feet off the water and able to see approaching swells and sea life from a whole new angle. The water below me teams with life: harbor seals swimming about and fish swimming near the surface with the four ospreys checking them out from above. I catch a couple of small waves and am then buzzed by an enormous Stellar Sea Lion who swims right at me showing off a 3’ leopard shark that he has in his mouth. I feel a bit safer on the Stand Up – it nice not to have your legs dangling in the water for a change. I catch a few more nice long rollers and then decide to paddle over to the mouth of the lagoon just for the exercise. On the way, a pod of dolphins swims by. As far as different ways to start the day go, this rates pretty high.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding most likely got is start in the early days of Polynesia and is considered by many to be the original form of surfing. In the 1960’s the Waikiki beach boys used stand up boards to help manage surf classes, take photos of clients and gain a better view of incoming swells. In the past nine years Stand Up Paddling has had a resurgence with the help of surfing legends, Laird Hamilton and Gerry Lopez who are definitely pushing the limits of the sport - SUPing Teahapoo, SUPING the Grand Canyon. It’s also become popular in flat water conditions due to the fact that SUPing is an unbelievable core workout.

Surfing a SUP and paddling one in flat water involve a few similar skills (stance and paddle stroke) but differ greatly in board design and learning curve. I’ve surfed most of my life and can tell you that surfing a SUP is a little more difficult, a bit dangerous, involves quite a bit of practice and can humble the best of us. If you plan to venture out in the surf on a SUP make sure that you first have good wave knowledge and, most importantly, stay away from other people in the water until you have learned to control your board and kick out of a wave. Most beginning SUPs are around 12’ long and weigh 40lbs and in the hands of the inexperienced can be a formidable weapon.

SUPs that are designed for surfing are basically a long, wide, thick surfboards that range in length from 10’ – 12’6”. Because these boards are designed for the surf they have quite a bit of rocker so you are able to turn them once you catch a wave. While some of these boards work well in flat water they tend to push water in front of them (because of the rocker and upturned nose) and have a rather short water line (amount of board contacting the water) for their length. Flat water SUPs, like the Tahoe Rubicon, are designed with a displacement hull – like a kayak – and have much more board in the water. They are also flatter with little or no rocker. This all translates into a board that is more stable, tracks better and much faster in flat water conditions.

Paddles designed for the SUP are basically long canoe paddles that usually have a 20° bend at the throat of the paddle. This bend allows the paddle face to be perpendicular to the water when taking a stroke. The length of the paddle rages from 8” to 10” taller than the paddler depending on if you’re surfing or cruising. Here at Clavey our favorite paddle is the Sawyer QuickDraw Zephyr. Besides being beautiful, light and super strong, the Quick Draw adjusts from 63” to 90”, making it the only SUP paddle you’ll ever need.

The beauty of Stand Up Paddling is its simplicity. Board, paddle, water. That’s all you need. I’ve got more outdoor gear than the average REI store, so to me the simplicity of the sport is its beauty. As a guy who deals with gear all day on a regular basis, the idea of a new sport that involved so little equipment was - to say the least - very appealing, and not just to me. Drive by the Petaluma River in the afternoon and you’ll most likely find someone from Clavey HQ paddling down the river on a paddleboard. Come join us and rent or demo a board and check this sport out for yourself !

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Uncle Owen, this R2 unit has a bad motivator!

I’m a big fan of the R2. Two people, one small boat, lots of harmony (lots of swimming).

Don’t get me wrong, I like to row. I like the sole responsibility of taking my boat through the rapids. I like the ability to carry more gear, beer and food than I can possibly need for my time on the water. I like being able to carry people who can’t boat and dogs that can’t swim. I like the feel of a floating ’74 Country Squire station wagon when I’m on any river for more than a day. But I also love the R2 and here’s why:

I’ve got a 12 foot Avon Scout. I can roll that boat up, stuff it in a boat bag and take it anywhere in the world. I can get it on the water before you even have your frame strapped down. At the take out, I’m off the water and on the road before you’ve even humped your cooler up to the parking lot. I love the simplicity. I love the simplicity. I love the simplicity. I don’t have to give a bunch of thought to getting on the river. I don’t have to weight the time and hassle of getting all my gear together against the small amount of actual river time. My R2 question for getting on the river is super simple. Am I willing to drive? Yes or no to that one and I’m either getting on the river or working in the garden.

The R2 time on the water is totally different from my 15’ Expedition time on the water. Am I gonna run Rainey Falls in with four days worth of gear, my girlfriend and two dogs? Not if I still plan on marrying the same girl. But you throw me and my girl in a little rubber sports car and we’re happy to sign up for the guaranteed flip & swim.

Here in Northern California the quickest whitewater to get to is the South Fork of the American and that trip can get pretty boring pretty quick. But shrink down the size of your boat and suddenly you’re on a whole new ride. The holes look bigger. You’ve got whole new tight routes you can take. Anywhere you see kayakers surfing, you can duck into the eddy and jump on the waves as well. And unlike a gear boat, you’re not all stressy about flipping. Heck, flipping’s just part of the fun. Flipping, swimming, it’s just like being a kid again.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

GPS 101

Learn the basics of the hand-held waterproof marine GPS.
May 13th, 6:30 - 8:30 PM at Clavey River Equipment. Space is limited so sign up now

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Trip Report: Middle Fork of the Feather

Middle Fork of the Feather, April 2009

Tom from Clavey recently did a 3 day run on the Middle Feather. This is a recap of the trip written by Robyn Suddeth. For more photos of the trip go to Clavey's Photo Gallery.

I had already made other plans for the weekend. My bags were packed and carpool was set for a beginner’s kayaking school on the Kern River, and I was even getting a great deal on the class (i.e. free). But when Scott A called up and said, “We’re trying to put together a Middle Feather trip for this weekend… you in?” I really only hesitated about a minute before replying, “100 Percent, I’m definitely in.”

I had been curious about the Middle Feather for a long time. It’s hard not to be when Holbeck and Stanley describe it as the “Best Multi-day Wilderness Run in California” and “one of the most beautiful rivers in California”, and rumor on the street is it’s “as hard as Cherry Creek, and totally committing.” For me, that last statement means: “An adventure!” My mom still asks me, whenever I go on a trip like this, why I am at all inclined to think they are fun. I tell her: “It makes life more interesting.” Truthfully, I think these kinds of trips bring out the best in a lot of us.

Either way, I was very, very excited. By Friday morning, we had a fantastic rag-tag group of eleven people – the best of the skilled, brave, and/or crazy – committed and meeting in Chico that night.

The dinner and breakfast in Chico before the trip were veritable feasts – we knew we were going to have to pack pretty light. Luckily we had a shuttle set up for us, so all we had to do after breakfast was load up Tom’s Clavey van and Scott’s truck, and get ourselves to put-in.

Like a lot of these committing Class V runs seem to do, the Middle Feather flowed wide and calm for the first few miles downstream of put-in, inducing a state of lackadaisical relaxation before shocking us right back into alert attention. The first Class V we got to was a long, fast-moving wave train that led directly into one of the more horrific looking boulder jumbles I’ve ever seen. There was a potential, very small airplane-turn line through there, but we decided instead to purposefully eddy out on the left at the bottom of the wave train, hump our boat over a few inconvenient rocks, and run a much kinder drop on the left side below the eddy.

The rest of the day had some big rapids in store for us, and as a paddler in the lead boat we caught a fair share of eddies that would have much better suited a small kayak, but nothing “as hard as Cherry Creek” had appeared quite yet. One of the last rapids of the day caught all of us by surprise; after the river seemed to mellow out and leave its first canyon, a sharp, riffled bend led into an abrupt horizon line. Adam, Kevin and I managed to catch a small eddy on the right and Kevin and I grasped on to the willows for dear life as Adam climbed out to scout, but the next two rafts came barreling down fairly quickly, and had to run based on Adam’s shouts and hand signals from shore. Luckily Adam, Scott and Jordan (the guides) all seemed adept at understanding each other’s arm-waving, and everyone had a good run.

Soon after we found camp – an old miner’s spot that, while a bit trashed, had a bunch of flat, wonderfully grassy camps amidst shady oak trees. It was a great spot. Some of the guys tromped off to fish while the rest of us began warming up by the fire and a few kind individuals took on dinner. Biggest catch of the evening was a whopping 7 inches long, but it sure tasted good with the thermos of whiskey being passed around.

On Day 2, we got our first taste of truly big, Class V rapids. Shortly after leaving camp, we found ourselves in “Franklin Canyon”, whose first Class V is Franklin Falls. The Cassidy Calhoun book writes this rapid up as a recommended portage for rafts, but it looked run-able. One raft in our group decided to push their boat, while the other two ran. Turned out to be a great line right down the middle of the falls.

The walls of Franklin canyon are steep and wooded, every once in a while allowing a glimpse of snow-capped mountains peaking above the river’s enclosing ridgelines. Side streams and creeks tumbled down through the trees and into the canyon so often that I eventually realized it was not all that exciting for the other two people in the boat if I pointed each of them out. I was lucky to have any time to appreciate the beauty of my surroundings, though. There was no shortage of horizons, and we found ourselves constantly paddling back and forth across the lip of a big drop, trying to boat scout as many rapids as possible. (I even had to embarrass myself the next morning and request that we forward-paddle some more that day to give my back-paddling muscles a little bit of a break.)

The biggest adventure of the day, and in fact the trip, came at the end of day 2. We reached the obvious and most-often used campsite, where the Pacific Crest trail crosses the river, at about 5 pm. This footbridge and campsite signify the beginning of Devil’s Canyon- the third and most committing gorge of the trip. But a certain participant (to remain anonymous) had a vague memory of a “really awesome ledge camp” somewhere downstream. “How far downstream?” we asked, to which we received the answer “Not sure… but within a few miles I think.” Hmmm… it had taken us about 10 hours already that day to go about the same amount of miles, so “a few miles” was not insignificant.

However, we knew we had a pretty decent portage to deal with the next day, so the closer we could get to take-out that night, the better. We stalled out in the eddy for a few minutes, pondering our little predicament. Finally, Colin said, “I’m up for pushing on.” And that was that; the decision was made. We peeled out of the eddy and pushed on into Devil’s Canyon.

Literally about a quarter of a mile downstream, all indication of potential camping spots completely disappeared from our sights. The canyon walls changed from forest to granite, and became disconcertingly steep. Just as the light in the canyon took on the low purple hue of early evening (quite a wonderful time of day to be relaxing on a beach, really, rather than paddling through cold and extremely challenging whitewater), we happened upon some of the biggest rapids we would encounter in the entire trip.

Very aware of our waning daylight, we began pushing ourselves more than we would under “normal” circumstances. Adam (and by necessity myself and Kevin as his faithful paddlers) led the trip as if we were in a kayak rather than a 14 foot raft. The thing about a raft is that it cannot really catch tiny eddies in the middle of rapids as deftly as its smaller plastic cousins. Translation: if you drop into something without seeing the bottom, you are almost certainly committed to the entire rapid no matter what you find below that entrance.

It was exciting to say the least; heart-pounding like almost no other hour of paddling I’ve ever done. (Maybe comparable to the first time I ever went down Cherry Creek, which for comparison, was also the first time I had ever experienced Class V whitewater.) I don’t even know how many rapids we pushed through in that hour and a half. I do, however, remember the scariest one. The washout for this rapid was so far below and downstream of us that we felt that we really couldn’t get away with just scouting from our boat. Kevin and I held on to the raft as Adam began climbing over the boulders on river right to get a look. The other two rafts eddied out upstream, and Jordan walked down river-left from a ridge about 40 feet above the water’s edge. Neither he nor Adam were able to get to a place where they could really see the middle part of the rapid.

Here is what we knew: 1) The bottom was clean; 2) There was definitely at least a kayak line because there was no reported portage in this section in any of the write-ups; 3) There was only one drop wide enough for a raft to fit through at the top of the rapid; 4) We were cold; 5) There was no where in the immediate vicinity to camp, aside from our rafts.

Here is what we didn’t know: 1) What the middle of the rapid, from the very top of the entrance drop to about 15 longitudinal and probably also 15 vertical feet downstream, looked like.

We decided to give it a go. After I kicked my back foot underneath the thwart about ten times to be sure I was really in there, we began paddling out into the current, and over to the entrance drop on river left. Amazingly, the drop was very clean, and fun. Adam had to ask for some quick back-paddling to stay off a boulder directly below the first drop, but otherwise it was no bigger than you’re every day, no big deal, Class V rapid. The exhilaration of making it through was amazing!

Luckily, we spotted a very tiny beach about 15 minutes downstream from there, and made the executive decision that this was “Ledge Camp”. Everyone was pretty happy to have found any flat ground at all, and dinner that night tasted just as good as the feast we had before we left Chico, even if it was just river fajitas. (The next day we found out exactly where those ledges really were – 7 miles from the Pacific Crest Trail, RIGHT above portage. And, there happened to be a smaller portage just around the corner from our beach, so we were very lucky to have stopped when we did!)

Day 3 afforded us a little more time to appreciate the splendor of Devil’s canyon in full daylight. Waterfalls dropped from granite cliffs and painted stripes of green algae against canyon walls. Deep pools shone their true blue-green against the light-colored rocks, and dark forests still covered the hillsides beyond the canyon. I would say that the Middle Feather truly gets better and better with each day, surprising you with its ability to do so.

Due to our little adventure the night before, we reached portage with plenty of time, and were able to have a nice relaxing lunch at the bottom. The write-ups all call the portage “strenuous” and some even go so far as to say “heinous”. As much as I would love to be able to disagree, I cannot. It truly is heinous. The trail is narrow, high above the river, dusty, and looooong. We had to completely de-rig the boats, carry each one sideways along the sketchy trail, and then go back for all the gear. However, three days on that river are completely worth the effort!

After portage there is a last stretch of really big rapids, ending with “Grand Finale” just a mile above take-out. Helicopter, a mandatory Class V, is an intimidating bend in the river with three significant-looking holes but with a lot of gradient and water flushing through. Everyone had great runs in there, although Mike had forgotten to close a certain key zipper on his drysuit after a mid-scouting pee break, which was apparently quite a shock in the final hole. There were a few high-water type maneuvers in the last Class V section as well, forcing us to run from one side of the river to the other and back again to avoid a few scary-looking holes. And that last rapid is truly a “Grand Finale,” not just named such because of its location.

By take-out I was probably more sore than I had ever been before, but happily so. I am in complete agreement with Holbeck and Stanley that the Middle Feather is, in fact, the best wilderness run in California. It is truly continuous Class IV-V in the heart of its canyons, and incredibly scenic. If given the chance, I think all of us would have gone right back up to put-in and started the trip all over again. Wouldn’t change a thing… except maybe to find those mysterious ledges just a “few” miles downstream of the entrance to Devil’s Canyon…

Monday, March 16, 2009

Trip Report: The Green Truss of the White Salmon

Fear is exhausting. Fear is exhausting. Fear is exhausting.

Today my hands look like they were taken out of a blender. They are huge and purple with nicks and bruises all over. My upper body was pummeled by oars, frame, etc and is pretty sore too.

Swimming Double Drop, an 18-footer on the Green Truss, took some energy out of me. The real reason I’m exhausted right now… is because I was absolutely terrified for nearly six hours yesterday. That’s right, we did a five mile trip in six hours, less than one mile an hour.

Rowing the Truss, realistically, is a horrible idea. But, once you’ve lowered your raft, frame, and oars roughly 100 feet down a cliff, you’re pretty well committed. And that’s where I and about two-dozen other people found themselves yesterday morning. Most of them were kayaking, but we had a few R2 boats, my oar boat, and 2 cat boats. Before yesterday, I’ve heard that the Truss had been rowed once before and had been written off as a really bad idea.

Why’s it a bad idea?

For one, it’s really steep, about 180 feet per mile in the first half. I know what you’re thinking, there are a LOT of rivers and creeks that are rafted that push 200 feet per mile or even more. Well, the Truss is not what I would call “continuous”, it’s pool drop, and as most of you probably know, there is a huge difference between pool/drop 180 per mile and continuous 180 per mile. Pretty much, if the river isn’t dropping here, it’s dropping more somewhere else. Thus, we have Big Brother, a 25’ waterfall to worry about, Little Bro (another 15’), Double Drop (18’ two-tiered”), BZ (15’), and a handful of other no-name drops that would be considered STUPID STUPID STUPID rapids elsewhere.

I had calmed my nerves after pushing off from the bank for the first time. But, in the first rapid, a narrow shoot dropping maybe 8 feet, my left oar caught the bank and shattered mid shaft. Gone. As I struggled to grab the spare, the next drop came closer and closer and closer, a BIG drop, maybe 10 feet, was pulling my boat downstream into certain gnar. Thankfully, I was surrounded by a few kayakers who wedged my boat into a little micro eddy. I got the spare out (my only spare) and we continued on our way. This was at mile 0.2.

We ran Meat Ball and Bob’s Falls without problems and then got to Big Brother. A heinous portage and about an hour later, we had gone 1 mile. We ran Little Brother and then came around the corner to Double Drop. A HUGE drop, it’s a two-tiered waterfall that is too difficult to scout with a massive hole in the first drop. Some kayakers ran through first and then climbed up to say “good to go”. I pushed off the lip with the thought… I’ll get to the lip and throw the oars forward, reach back and grab my seat, hope to get through the hole and be straight for the second drop. Well, it’s exactly what my boat did, but not my body. Pretty much I was going 50 miles an hour over a massive drop, hit the hole, the boat stopped instantly and my body shot off the front of the boat, clearing the second drop. I was under water for a micro-second and traveled about 20 feet. Lucky I didn’t break my neck. The boat came through no problem and I climbed back in.

Next up was one of the cats. It flipped in the bottom drop and swimmer and boat got to shore before the 8-footer just down stream. Then we headed downstream.

The most significant rapid (in terms of holy sh** this is scary) is a rapid called Lower Zig Zag. It’s scary because of wood. There is wood everywhere and a must-make-or-you-will-hate-life move above the scariest piece of wood I’ve ever seen. You’re also walled-in at this point, and portaging a raft is out of the question. With this in mind, you can almost imagine why I became frightened when, while passing under a log, my left oar jammed and broke at the wrap about half a mile above Zig Zag. Shelly Becker, one of the cat boaters, offered me her spare. It was 9.5 feet long, about the length of my entire boat, and 1.5 feet longer than my right oar. With no option of hiking out, I looked like a circus going down the river… my left oar sticking way out in contrast to the short stubby thing in my right hand.

A long story short… We all made the move and from here out it was a sprint to take out. I ghost boated BZ because I was absolutely beat. Got to the take out after putting on six hours prior.

It was a heinous trip. Kyle Smith, a friend of mine who guides on the Kern, was R2ing and we both agreed that it was the scariest bit of rafting we’ve ever done.

Nevertheless, I’m glad we did it. I will never row a piece of whitewater like I did yesterday. It will be something to remember and something to be proud of, but not something I will ever do again. I discovered yesterday that I don’t like fear. I don’t like HAVING to run something stupid to get downstream. I don’t like dropping off blindly, breaking oars, and boating defensively. Normally I have confidence when I’m on a river. Yesterday I had none.

I imagine that some will question my judgment in even attempting this stupid trip. Rightfully so, I probably shouldn’t have even tried rowing the Truss. I R2’d it last year and enjoyed the run. Time does strange things to a boater. Memory shrinks the size of waterfalls, the narrowness and speed of a rapid. About a month ago I woke up and thought “I’m going to row the Truss this year.” It was stuck in my head and I knew that with the right support of kayakers and boating friends it would be doable. The flow was right, the group was right, and the day felt good.

I’m not sure it could have ended any better anyway. As brutal as it was, no one was seriously hurt and we ran just about everything. I sure would like to have my two oars back, but thankfully Shelly had a spare to lend. It figures that I wait until the Truss to have my first-ever and second-ever broken oar.

Here's a short video of our run. Like most videos, it doesn't do any justice:

More Double Drop Video: