Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hornbecks, Raymondskill on Friday. Beerkill on Monday

It was a good few days for kayaking around here. Got on two new creeks on Friday. Hornbecks and Raymondskill. Both are awesome. Monday I got out on the Beerkill again. This time it was at a much higher level. All around good times. Heading down to TN for some Ocoee action all for the next few days. Should be good. Here is a pic of the final rapid on Hornbecks. Its called Davids Falls.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New England Part 3: What creek am I describing?

Well...its a one mile long rapid that drops 600ft. Not specific enough for you? Ok...here we go.

1) Hike one mile up well worn trail on river left with boat. Scout well as you hike because you may not be getting out of your boat till the bottom.

2) Put on and run manky double water fall.

3) Dodge strainer

4) Run class V bolder garden while dodging strainers

5) Run the "notch" (Green narrows) twice in quick succession and then duck under log as you go over lip of "Big Boy" (Ravens Fork). Recover gear in boil below.

6) Run class V bolder garden and dodge strainers.

7) Run more class V with lots of strainers.

8) Run "Mike Tyson's Punch Out" (Ravens Fork) leading straight into slide even bigger and longer the "Mike Tyson's Punch Out".

9) At bottom of epic slide, do not stop (because you can't there is no pool or eddy), and run class V bolder garden.

10) End

If you guessed Cascade Brook (I scouted it at HIGH water) in NH, You are right!

Tell him what he has won Johnny!

Congratulations! You just won a pair of broken legs and testicles the side of globes!

In case you were wondering, I did not run it. But I guess people have run it. I really doubt they ran it at this level though. Here is the AW link. It does this creek NO JUSTICE!

Cascade Brook

Here are some pics from that day


New England Part 2: Upper Pemigewasset

One week after our Big Branch trip, the temperatures in the North East shot up. Any drainage with snow left was gonna shoot up. That is exactly what happened to the Upper Pemi.

I highlighted our Monday water level in yellow and our Tuesday water level in green.

All I can say is "Wow". What an incredibly awesome river. Maybe the most unique river I have ever paddled. If I took a picture of the put it, the half way mark, and the take out you would NEVER guess they were the same river. Such a large variety of of rapids including long bolder garden rapids that remind me "The Gauntlet" on Tallulah only these were longer and in some cases steeper.

The water was all snow melt, meaning it was incredibly clean and the geology is very unique. Our first run started out with a little excitement.

One of the first rapids is called "The Basin". It starts with a six foot drop leading into the actual basin drop. The Basin drop has a very awkward and narrow approach, making it hard to get a good stroke at the lip (if you can even call it a lip).

When you land at the bottom, you are now in "The Basin", a 40 foot diameter granite pot hole. I landed flat off the drop, but flipped in the boil at the bottom. After rolling up, I began to paddle toward the river right channel that flushes the basin. I guess I did not paddle with enough urgency because I got pulled back into the eddy. The walls of the pothole are totally smooth and overhanging.

Here is what I saw (Left the audio in place and included some footage of another rapid)
To see a higher quality version of this video, click here

Anyways, I lost my Lendal breakdown paddle, and a little chunk of my ego. I did go back the next day (higher water) and style the drop. So I feel a little vindicated.

But that was not the only carnage I encountered on that first run.

The most intense rapid on the river is called "Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma'am". Here is a picture taken on that Tuesday.

The first 1/3 of this rapid is rarely run due to some serious mank (I guess you could say nobody runs "wham").

So we seal launched off the a rock on the river right bank and ran the "bam, thank you ma'ma" part.

Here is the same picture depicting Travis line.Notice the gap in the red line...that was his down time. He described it as having his whole body squeezed by a giant.

Here is picture of my line...green means I was upside down.

I took a really hard hit to the head and lost the skin off most of the knuckles on my left hand.

I walked all of Wham Bam the next day. Less so because of the bad line from the day before, and more so because I had gotten beat down in a massive hole in the rapid just upstream of Wham Bam during the second run, and my nerves were shot.

With all that said, THIS RIVER IS INCREDIBLE.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New England Part 1: Big Branch, VT

Let me rewind a bit. If you have read any of my previous post, you have heard me bitch about going to school in FL. Well that phase of my life is over! I graduated in December, and moved back to NY.

So I will briefly describe the events of that move, and then continue on to the main topic of this post, the Big Branch in VT.

My brother flew down to Orlando to make the drive up to NY with me. My car was packed with everything I own including all my kayaks and gear. Although I was happy to have him joining me, I was a little disappointed because there was a lot of rain falling all along the eastern seaboard, and everything in TN,NC,WV,NY, and PA was running or would be running in the next two days. If my brother was not with me, I could have stopped in every state along the way to paddle. Unfortunately he had to get back to NY to work.

No worries though, we could just book it back to NY, and I could get some paddling in the Delaware Water Gap in PA.

My car broke down an hour after we started driving. Six hours later we had a Uhaul with the car in tow.

Its raining hard the whole time we are driving. I speak to Dave on the phone, and he describes all the awesome stuff he is going to be paddling in NC/TN/GA.

We get to NY very late at night. Every creek in the Delaware Water Gap is running high. I beg my dad to borrow his car the next day. I meet up with people I have never me before and run Adams Creek.

Pictured above is the first drop on Adams Creek. I wont take the time to describe the whole run, just know that it is epic. Here is are links to a video with some footage of that day, as well as a blog write up about the run.

Blog Post


Fast forward four months.

I meet Travis on North East Paddlers Message board. He shows me down the Beerkill in the Catskills at low water. Really fun run. Can't wait to get on it at higher flows.

A few weeks later we drive up to run the Big Branch in VT. The best comparison I can make to Big Branch would be if you took everything on the Green River Narrows below Sunshine, took away all the flat water and made it steeper.

Here is a little video I made of our low water run down Big Branch. Only the first few rapids are shown. My camera quit on me.

Well that is all. Stay tuned for New England Part 2: Upper Pemi, and New England Part 3: Guess What Creek I am Describing...


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dukes Creek

About two weeks ago I met Jeff up at Dukes Creek to put on for my first time. I had hiked and scouted this run several times previously but still didn't quite know what I was in for. The section we paddled is about 4/10 of a mile long, with nearly all the gradient at the very end where the bedrock creekbed drops nearly 200ft in 1/8th of a mile.

Looking up Dukes at low water

Today, after a night of light and steady rain I met Mac McGee at the putin for Dukes. We originally had plans for a day of lapping to score for the Southeast Gradient Showdown (SGS). Plans changed upon inspection of the gauge stick Jeff stuck in the sand a couple weeks ago, it was 1.5" higher today. 1.5" doesn't sound like much and wouldn't be much on almost any other run, but Dukes is . . . "finicky". We decided to put on and get out above the big stuff to see how it looked. After about 20 minutes of scouting and convincing ourslelves it was good to go, we dropped over the lip of the entrance, and committed to the next 5 drops.

If there is a crux move on this run, for me it's getting left at the 30 footer. There are now three ways I know of to make this happen. One option, which we did on the first lap, is to carry around the small ledges right above the drop and get in on the nearly boat-wide ledge right at the lip, with your bow hanging off the drop and seal launch. Another option, at low water, is to slide over the ledges, drop into the tiny one boat eddie at the lip and wheelchair against the left bank to line up. The third option, which we tried today for the first time, needs a little more water. After dropping into the small, boiling eddie at the lip you have two strokes to get enough momentum and get far enough left before rolling off.

The 30 footer

Alex Brantley on Dukes at lower water the day before

When we made it to the bottom we got out, walked the last big drop at the observation deck and took a breather before hiking up for another lap. We started checking out that last unrun rapid. Looking at it without much water it's obvious what has kept this drop from being run. Part of the shelf at the base pokes up into the landing zone.

We scouted from every angle we could find. From some angles it looked good, from others not so much. With the extra water we had today, that rock at the base was mostly covered up, with most of the flow landing to the right of it. We decided it looked too tight though, and to just go up for another lap.

Mac McGee running "For the Love of It"

The second lap went smoothly and before we knew it we were hiking again for a third. We checked the stick gauge one more time and saw it had risen another 1/4" or so. We boogied down and started to get things dialed in, making it to the takeout even quicker. I took another look at the last drop and had to give it a try. I told Mac, gave him my camera and walked back to my boat. I promptly peeled out and headed for the lip of my first 1st descent.

Getting a little sideways

Mac followed quickly behind me, nabbing the 2nd run and sticking one helluva boof.

Killin' it!

Like most drops with sketchy landings, the more water the better for this one. For more insight on Dukes Creek read Jeffs write-up on AW.


That's all I got for now, Mac got a couple video clips so maybe he'll post those up somewhere. Adios.

-David Cohen