"So, how's she lookin?" I ask Matt as he walks back up from the creek's bank. He chuckles, and replies, "Well, it's not low. That's for sure."
Not low. Huh. Now there's an understatement.
We gear up in the parking lot, attach our boat backpack systems, and begin the trek upstream. After hiking for around a mile, we reach Brave Bear Falls, the culmination of the run, and the take-out point. Looking into the meat of the slide, a normally prominent rock is now fully underwater and invisible in the massive pillow forming upstream. My sphincter tightens. Matt and Zach laugh nervously. Yup. It's not low.
Unabashed, we continue upstream, scouting the major drops as we go. The "Tijuana Crack Whore" looks spicy, with a nice juicy lead-in. The nice thing about this flow is that the crack that runs down the middle of the slide, notorious for smashing elbows, is now covered. Around the corner, we take a peek at the Money Slide, Log Drop, and Airplane Turn. It all looks good to go, minus most of the usual eddies.
We finally make it to the put-in slide, the Big EZ, and peer downstream. We all seem to take our time at the put-in, and after a few minutes longer than usual, we are ready to rally.
The paddle down was awesome. After all the anticipation, it was nice to be on the water and let instinct take control. The Big EZ flew by in a flurry of splashes and giggles, followed immediately by the Jedi mank of the Swiss Chute. We managed to catch a small eddy before dropping into the Airplane Turn, and launching a sweet boof in the center of the creek. Below this was some fun to be had at Log Drop, and then the Crack.
The Tijuana Crack Whore, or TCW, is a tricky slide with a boulder garden lead-in to the main drop. The idea is to run the slide straight, either forward, or equally as common, backward. At this point in the season, I am 4 for 5 on keeping it straight, but on this day, I ran about half the drop stern first.
After catching the eddy below TCW, we all decided to call it a day there. To go beyond this point, with this much water would necessitate running Hotel California, a slide into a massive hole. You can check in, but you can never leave. If you do make it through the hole, then you are pretty much committed to running Brave Bear, which looked heinous. We decided to play it safe, and save the lower section for a day with less water.
Two days later, I returned with Zach, as well as a few others, and ran the same section at even higher flows. Definitely sporty, to say the least.
Enjoy some of the photos Rosalynn took!
|Brave Bear Falls, the top third.|
|Matt and Martin coming through the bottom of Airplane Turn.|
|Money slide. TCW is right around the corner from here.|
|Martin about to go backwards through the bottom hole. Good times...|
|Zach Campbell making it look easy in the Crack Whore.|
|Log Drop. Best to watch your dome at this flow.|