By Shell Jeppesen
I used the most colorful profanity on the river yesterday. Hell, Tarnation, Damnation, gawddam it, p.o.s. boat, bastard to name a few of my choice epithets.
Steve R and I decided to do this run even though he had only run it once quite a while ago. I got to the meeting place and met some very cool cats. Cool cats as in cool under fire, and cool cats in that they didn't get wet since cats don't like to get wet. Ok, Steve didn't get wet either. So Steve (1) and I joined up with Steve (2) and Jeff. They had run this section several times before.
So we get in the pool by Fish Creek and warm up. Then 100 ft into the run was this POS rapid. Ok, it wasn't a rapid. Rather a toilet bowl that never stops recirculating, even when crammed full of kayaking debris. I haven't found out the name of it, and some I have talked to said it doesn't have a name. From here on out I now christen it Shell's Folley.
There is a wall that is curved that the water recircs off of, with a tree lying half in the water, along the wall. The whole bowl is only about 20 feet wide, so all the water circulates quite quickly for a small area. I got flipped in the drop and got recirculated before getting nailed by the tree. I decided to swim. However didn't know what the rapid would do to me or my boat. So I held onto it. After circulating around this bowl a few times, I decided to let GO of the boat so that I could be rescued.
Once out of the water I am feeling shaken up (and stirred, just like a martini). But decided I have to run this drop again because I don't want to psyche myself out. I know that if I can master it now, then I will have no fear of it next time. So out of my boat goes the water, into my boat goes me...
I end up getting tossed again, nailed the tree again (next time I am going to make time to carve my initials into the tree while I am hanging out underwater). I swim again. Let go of the boat again after holding onto it for two cycles in the washer. Get rescued again. Drain boat again.
Again, I decide I must run this drop successfully, so I hike back up to the top. As I launch self into current again, my thoughts were that I must to master this rapid.
Take first part of this paragraph and insert here... I get stuffed again. This time I manage to grab tree above water while still in my boat. Then, while still in my boat, in boat, try to climb up tree (while boat still attached to lower extremities) so get out of recirculating eddy. As I do this I let my left hip drop, which immediately causes me to flip upstream. I try to do a reverse hipsnap while still trying to hold onto tree, but I swim. Again... Once again, I let go of boat, get pulled out of current and back into shore *again*.
I get smart and decide NOT to master this rapid. Today. But maybe next time. Of course, in my attempt to ferry across rapid back into main channel, I get swept down into the eddy/tree combo and get stuffed. Again. Insert previous circulating/rescue paragraphs here...