By Tom Powers

Copyright © 2001, Tom Powers and Oregon Kayaking. No part of this page may be reproduced, linked, or copied without the express written permission of Tom Powers and the Oregon Kayaking webmaster.

No kidding, there I was...

After a long summer watching whitewater videos and convincing myself I was ready to run class V stuff, it finally started raining and we were heading for Brice Creek. I had only road scouted it before, but I was with a really strong group and they said I'd "be fine." Anyways, we got to the put in above Parker Falls and started taking turns running it.

I had just done my second run when Nacho said: "Hey, this cliff face is several feet taller than the falls. Let's do seal launches off it!" Nacho, Dave, and Dave went first, then it was my turn.

I gingerly got in my boat while two people held me from falling off.

"We'll push you off so you don't hit the shallow shelf; lean way back so you don't over-rotate." They said helpfully.

I swear, I leaned back as far as I could; but when I landed face first I heard a big crunch in my mouth. I almost couldn't roll up because I was laughing and snorting water; no one could help me because they were laughing to hard; when I did roll up, I couldn't say I was OK because I was spitting out pieces of my teeth. ( Luckily they turned out later to be fairly non-essential ).

Well, I wasn't bleeding, so we decided to continue with the day. I declined to do the upper, harder section and put on at the Champion Creek Bridge. Well, in spite of being a little freaked out, I boated well. I had made it very clear, however, that I really wanted to scout Trestle Drop ( no one else said they needed to ). Trestle is a six foot folding drop that has a class three-ish lead-in and a tricky, small scouting eddy. It has drowned at least one paddler that I know of, and many others have been thrashed here. To do it safely, you need to boof off a shelf on the far left. Trestle is especially nasty at high water.

Oh, Did I mention that this day Brice Creek was at high water?

I was about forty feet behind DJ as I went sailing past the scouting eddy.

"This is Trestle!" someone yelled.

"Shit! Trestle! Just run it left. Just run it left" I thought to myself.

"That's funny; why is DJ gutting the fold?"

As I blew past the last-chance eddy that I really wanted to be in, I heard Fireman Dave yell from the eddy, "Just follow DJ!" ( Dave is very encouraging in difficult situations ).

Because I was so gripped, my mind made an appropriate decision and shut off, not wanting to see what would happen. What choice did I have left? I followed DJ. I remember sailing off the lip and looking down into a white frothy maelstrom. I couldn't see DJ, so I assumed he had made it out. I landed in a space that was soft like a McDonald's Playroom and watched the tip of my freefall describe an arc in the sky that allowed my to view the entire canyon. I was told later that I went completely under DJ ( who was stuck in the hole ) and then threw my lifetime high number of linked ends.

But the fun was just starting! Remember Dave that helped me out from the last-chance eddy? Well, he decided to follow his own advice and gutted the drop. He evidently landed right on DJ's overturned boat, and then got sucked back in the hole. We then spent the next minute or so bouncing off each other and foiling each other's attempts to use each other's boats to roll up. Anyways, eventually I swam; DJ and Dave got spit out. Everyone had a great time chasing down my freefall ( who wouldn't? ), and we eventually regrouped. I ended up finishing the creek after portaging Pogo and Laura's, and I even got to stop for Jojo's on the way home.

And that was the Day of the Three Boat Hole.

Lessons I learned:

1. Never go boating with a group made up of all Daves except one crazy Mexican
   (Yes, you PC'ers, he is a Mexican citizen).

2. Always be a weeny and scout rapids you aren't sure of; and remember to trust your own
   judgement on what line you will do. After all, you are the one who best knows your skills.

3. Always wear a face mask while doing technical water or big drops. At $18.95, it's the cheapest
   dental insurance you can buy.

4. Remember in the worst of times that water, eventually, always runs downstream.