Monday, November 2, 2009

Some White Salmon and Bull Run Adventuring

Early on Halloween morning, costumes in tow, a group of 16 paddlers from Whitman loaded up 4 cars and a whole bunch of boats for a day down on the White Salmon. Three hours of driving, 47 pee stops, 2 coffee stops, one roof rack checking stop, one toll bridge stop, and one stoplight later and we found ourselves at Husum! After two runs of Husum and one wonderful boat retrieval from a mid-river rock under the bridge we headed off downstream split into a group for first time river runners and another group for folks hoping to hone their skills. The river had come up quite a bit and we had an absolutely fabulous day on and in and occasionally under the water.

Later in the afternoon, once we had changed into dry clothes and returned to the superior state for some Thai Truck in Hood River, a group of us very spontaniously decided that we wanted to go to Portland, go tricker-treating, and then maybe padddle the next day. The group split, with two vehicles returning to Walla Walla and Oliver, Kendra, Adam, Claire, Fiona, Sophie and myself following the Columbia through the Gorge to the City of Roses. Somewhere between Hood River and Portland, maybe during our stop at Multnomah Falls, we decided that our best tactic for the evening would be to pretend that we were Max and the Wild Things from Where the Wild Things Are. This pretty much meant howling and shrieking and hugging and cartwheels and causing a terrific ruckus, and having a whole lot of fun, especially when the folks at Trader Joe's started howling back at us.

Up early the next morning we caught some breakfast before heading out to see if there was enough water for us to float down Bull Run, a short run that both feeds the City of Portland's municipal water system and has in the past had year-round water due to two penstocks that ran from the Marmot Dam on the Sandy to the Bull Run powerhouse, the put in for the run and the site of a lovely slalom course. Since the dam was removed the penstocks and powerhouse are now inactive and a lot of the water is taken out of Bull Run for Portland. Unfortunately there wasn't really enough water, but we decided to run it anyways!

There really wasn't much water and Sophie and Kendra had only spent one day in a kayak before (on the White Salmon the day before), but everyone blew my expectations out of the water (no pun intended). We spent a lot of time learning how to hug rocks, protect our pretty faces from rocks, paddle around rocks, slide down rocks, walk our boats around rocks, scout routes through rocks, and pick up big bones that we found on the rocks. Everyone ran the big class III rapid towards the end of the run and had great runs through it. We made it to the cars by 12 and were back in the Library at Whitman by 5:30 still pretending that we were WILD THINGS- what a wonderful and spontaneous weekend. I've never been so impressed by a group of paddlers that learned so much so quickly. All the first-timers had bomber eddy turns and were trying out some surfing and playing! It's going to be a great year for the Whitman Whitewater Club!!! pictures are below to prove it...


Blow up those float bags- you wouldn't want to pin a boat would you!!! Consensus was that the van in the background is exactly what the Whitewater Club needs.

Some costumeish helmet decorations.

Adam with a perfect line on Husum.

Allie with another great line. Unfortunately, if you look closely, her spray skirt isn't actually on. As a result she swam and her boat got a bit pinned. Oh well, good practice.

Maggie runs the rattlesnake.

Fierce, Muruge, Fierce!!!

Surfin it up on the CAVE WAVE- the sort of place WILD THINGS might live.

Yeehawww- some of up and coming talent!!!

Surfs up!!!

The group at Northwestern Lake, our takeout. Within a year Condit Dam, which makes Northwestern Lake, should be removed, exposing a few more miles of fun intermediate kayaking.

The next day the sun came out at the put-in for Bull Run.

And we even found a little surf-able wave.

Sophie getting in a practice eddy-turn at a perfect spot right at the put-in.

Oliver, looking intense, like a WILD THING>

I get to be the sacraficial lamb / guinea pig running the rocky little class III drop near the end.

Woops, missed the eddy, running the whole backward, trying to backwards boof.

Fiona slips down the boat-wide slot on the right side on a very smooth run.

Oliver, somewhere after putting in and before tipping over, and between smiles.

It's hard to tell if Sophie is smiling, or grimacing, or both, like a WILD THING.

One last WILD THING HOWL (you should try it right now), before heading back to Walla Walla. From left to right the crew is Kendra, Oliver, Adam, me, Claire, Fiona, and Sophie. A Wild Thing came and held the camera for us.


1 comment:

jL said...

"Max stepped into his private boat, and waved goodbye, and sailed back over a year, and in and out of weeks, and through a day, and into the night of his very own room, where he found his supper waiting for him. And it was still hot."

Thank you, Mr. Sendak. I mean, Mr. Hayes. Thank you for reminding us that we should never, ever lose touch with that wild and untamable spirit within us all. Lookin' good over the Falls all of you. I've heard the line has changed???

Keep paddling amigos,

Jonathan Loeffler