Sunday, June 22, 2008
Newbies on the Kettle
Today Dennis and I met up with Bryan, Sarah, Lynn, Pike, and Derek to head up to the Kettle River. It was low for playboating, about 570 cfs (2.2' on the bridge gauge), but a good level for beginners. When we got up there we also got the happy surprise of meeting up with Kate, who didn't get to paddle at all last year, and a bunch of open boaters from MN and WI. On a funny note, there were 4 Bryans (including the Brians) on the river at the same time, which made communicating a bit confusing. There were also three lawyers on the river at once (myself, Kate, and Derek), but fortunately there was no dam or flood gate that anyone could open up on us.
The group we were with did great. People were making their eddies, learning to surf, hitting their first combat rolls (way to go Derek and Pike!), and doing the seal launch. They even got some experience reading water and paddling without following anyone all the way through hell's gate. There were a few swims, but nothing too bad and I think everyone picked up some new skills.
The only major problem we had was the bugs. Anytime you were out of your boat you were instantly swarmed with hundreds of mosquitos. They were vicious enough to make scouting a rapid far more painful than running it blind could ever be. If you go, bring bug spray. Lots of it. And bring it down the river with you.
On the whole, it was a great day. Bryan K snapped some pics of people at Blueberry, so I'm anxious to check those out. Pike also was kind enough to get some footage of people running Hell's gate, though I'm not sure whose camera it was on. I got some video of the Seal Launch, but that's about it. I got a couple of them posted on my YouTube page, so hit the link on the right side of this page to check em out. Unfortunately, both the videos and the pics in this post were taken with my poor old point-and-shoot which got flooded last year and has kind of a haze thing going on with the lens. Just think of it as a diffuser and it's all good.