Monday, September 29, 2008
Nora, Dave, Graeme, Pike, and I headed up to the Lower on Sunday to take advantage of one of the last fish-flow days of the year. We had a great time with lots of firsts. It was Graeme's first time on either section of the Louey, which is kind of amazing because he's definitely an experienced paddler. It was Pike's first time running the entire Lower, it was Nora's first day with her new creeking helmet, and my first time in my new boat.
We left the cities under a dreary overcast sky that was alternating between mist and rain, but about 45 miles from the river we left the clouds behind and had clear blue skies when we put on the water. The leaves were short of peak color, but beautiful just the same. Gorgeous day for paddling.
The level seemed lower than I remembered at fish flow, but that didn't stop us from having a great time. The first half of the river went by quickly and easily, with the only non-planned maneuver being me somehow getting turned backwards in the middle of First Sister and having to boof the last tier of the drop in reverse. Even that went fine, though, and we continued on.
We ran a river-right line through Octopus that I hadn't tried before. We hit the always-fun rock-slide entry and Graeme's splash put up a wall of water that looked like the spray from a slalom water skier. The middle of the rapid had plenty of rocks to dodge, but if you followed the flow you could make it without bumping aroud too much. It ended with a fun, corkscrew slide that dropped you nicely into the pool. Everyone made it down without incident and we got some video and pics. Check Nora's blog for the footage and I'll try to post my own videos on here when I get a chance.
The boneyard was, well, boney. I tried the left half of the river through the shallowest part. Don't do that. It sucks.
Swinging bridge was fun (as always), though a bit bumpier than usual due to the low level. Dave, Graeme, and I all wound up with some level of brace to get through it. Dave caught his thumb on the rocks and wound up with some nasty bruising for it. The slide out of the hanging pool went perfectly, though, and we all cleared snakebite without incident.
We had quite a crowd watching from the swinging bridge and shoreline. They were cool enough to clap and cheer for us as we paddled under the bridge.
Great weather, nice fall colors, good company, fun water, and no carnage (except for Dave's thumb). Awesome trip. I'll post vids/pics when I get a chance.