Dinah - how was the beaver last weekend?? I want to hear more about it
2013 has proved to be an excellent spring for kayaking.
This past weekend we made a trip to the Marmora area on Sunday to paddle Beaver Creek with a couple friends from Ottawa as well as some people they know from the CDB. We arrived (on time!) at the Subway parking lot to meet up with all the other folks. There was a medium sized group from the KWP there as well, we chatted with them and agreed that after our experiences on the Upper Skoot during Mackfest that both groups would rather do their own thing. They decided to run reverse shuttle much to Sue's disgust. We tried to convince Sue to come with us telling her we would run traditional shuttle. She wasn't convinced, but I secretly think she wanted to, but just didn't want to be shunned by her clan.
Some of our group was late arriving from Ottawa, so we left to set up our shuttle about 20 minutes after the KWP. I was glad I wasn't driving, lets leave it at that. So, we also decided to run reverse shuttle and made our way to the lower takeout. The KWP folks gave us a hard time, but we didn't care.
We got dressed and went to the put in. It was an amazing day and we were sweating severely by the time we got to the put in. We got on the river and made our way to Double Drop which is the first significant rapid on the river. Some of us got out to scout, others didn't. At least one person walked. I had ran this rapid last year and didn't want to man down, despite the river being quite a bit higher and the rapid being significantly beefier. I followed Barrett, we ran through the lead in rapid cleanly. I thought about getting out of my boat in the last chance eddy, but really didn't feel like carrying my boat as it was pretty hot out and the burn is a heavy boat and lets face it, I'm not in good shape.
We make our way down the rapid and it's always a bit un-nerving when you see the person in front of you bracing and flipping, but I was past the point of no return. I ran the first drop, flipped, thought I saw a strainer as I went over, carped on a roll attempt and then quickly set up for another, rolled up confused, looked around to find myself below the bottom drop. The adrenaline was really pumping and I was very happy to have made it through the portion of the rapid with my head still intact (didn't hit a single rock!).
We paddled down fairly uneventfully (1 swim on an un-named rapid by someone in our group), got out at Diamond and scouted. I saw my line, but was a bit nervous as the year before I had walked this rapid without even looking at it and watched someone mess it up and suffer a major shoulder dislocation which had left the rest of the trip very anxiety ridden.
Barrett was to lead two of us down, we started from the river right eddy, the plan was to ferry across to the river left eddy and then head down from there. Barrett and I made our ferries, while the other person got rejected on the eddy line. I continued down the rapid and had a great line. Not sure what happened after that but a boat came down and there was a swimmer in the river left eddy upstream of the large river left hole.
We continued on to the bridge rapid. We got out of our boats and half the group ran the rapid and the other half decided to wait until after lunch. We took a lovely break for lunch after watching the first half of the group run the rapid and really appreciated the beauty of the day. I used the bushes and cursed my drysuit for not having a relief zipper. Suited back up and hopped in my boat. I was the last person to run the rapid, and I had a great run. Barrett got video from the halfway eddy.
We carried on downstream to Ugly. We got out to scout and I was again feeling quite nervous. I seriously contemplated portaging as at least one other person had done. I took my time scouting and Barrett and I made our way back to our boats as the folks downstream set safety for us.
We heard some screaming and such downstream but didn't think much of it. after the screaming had stopped for a bit we headed down, Barrett caught the last chance eddy and I bombed down about a boat width left of my intended hug the right shore line, but it was fine, the hole definitely slowed me down, but a couple paddle strokes and I had cleared the suck-back zone, no problem.
Barrett followed behind. Once I was in the eddy I quickly found out that the screaming was due to some pretty severe drama. We learned that you can walk a rapid and still get recirced in a hole and that safety on the shore is maybe just as important as on the river. I believe the person in the hole was rescued by either going deep and going for green or off the front of a quick thinking persons boat. Some people learned a valuable lesson that day. That hole is sticky and a fall into the water at the shoreline can have you quite far away from the shoreline getting recirced in a hole with the tree you pulled in if you aren't lucky.
We continued downstream past the first take out and ran Fiddlar's rapid which is probably my favourite on the river.
It was an excellent day on the river, maybe my best so far this year.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!