Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Paddling bLog - Creekin' the Gorge

We went up to the SFA on Sunday with Melody to do the Gorge run.  There was no water (the release was cancelled due to issues at Camino PH), but that was cool cuz we wanted to beat the water anyway.  We were looking for some creeking practice (aka: hitting lots of rocks).

The flow was down at about 250cfs, which made getting through some of the class II section hard, having to scoot over gravel bars and whatnot.  Once we were in the Gorge it was a lot better.  Overall, I'd say most of the river is easier at low water, there isn't anything pushy and you're moving slower, so it's easier to make the moves.  The moves themselves tended to be somewhat more technical, since you're bouncing off rocks all the time and the river is in a much narrower channel.

The only spot that was any trouble at all was Satan's.  As with most of the rapids, the places that are normally big holes are reduced to the boulder typically underwater.  At Satan's, the underwater boulders are pretty close together and the river does an abrupt drop between them, at a 90 degree angle from the direction your boat is heading.  The easy way to deal would be squaring up to the drop, but that would smack you nose first into the wall at the bottom.  With a bit of steam built up, we all went sideways off the drop, it nearly ate Melody, but she got through.  Marion got rolled, rolled up, smacked into the wall anyway which flipped her back in, but she flushed from the hole and rolled up again beautifully. I got mostly eaten too, but by some black sorcery, managed to keep upright, smacking into the wall actually saved me from certain rolling practice.

All in all, very recommended for when you're tired of the Gorge at normal flows and want the river all to yourself (none of the rafters dare go at low flow).

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