Thursday, December 29, 2011

Connoisseur's Run

Cane Creek into North Chickamauga.

Well, I wouldn't have said it myself, but after hearing my Team Jib partners give it the title, I agree that Cane creek into North Chickamauga is a connoisseur's run. Actually, it was the first 'real' creek I ever paddled. I don't consider Tellico a 'real' creek run because it is roadside. Cane is decently remote once you are in there. I heard that some people recently did an unintentional over-nighter due to high water. With that being said, I greatly enjoyed an afternoon run with a huge crew of 14 people. 

Team Jib OGs- Bryce Evans, Ryan Eichorn, Jason Arnold, and Brian Knight at the put-in.

I forgot my helmet at the take-out. Luckily, a few guys from the northeast named Chris and David let me borrow their Shred Ready full-face. It felt weird. I hand paddled down the first mile because Taft Sibley said he found a Werner Shogun with pogies at the first portage on his first run. My hands almost froze during that first low-volume mile. I celebrated at the sight of a real paddle with pogies, but quickly lost stoke when I realized it was a zero degree off set. Once again, it felt weird. 

Here is David from the NE entering the Vortex.

As usual, my Team Jib buddies left me in the dust. I took a new line in the entry to Big Splat that got my heart pumping with the threat of a piton. The Nomad kept me safe, continually showing its love for me. Upon reaching the lip of Vortex, the biggest rapid on the run, I bluntly stated to my newfound NE friends that we had a long way to go, and that they needed to Charge in order to not get 'unintentionally overnighted'! They took the suggestion with great heed and quickly fired into Vortex. I was impressed with their 'Charge-ability'! 

The next rapid is called Drain Pipe, and everyone flowed through nicely. A massive overhanging ledge extends over the river called Rock House, a typical sight in the sandstone laden Chattanooga area. We made quick work of the following boogie water that leads to the confluence with North Chickamauga. Here, it picks up some more volume and develops some stellar swirls, waves, and holes. 

Nick Murphy, hot off his Chile charge, mobbed the main line of N. Chick falls.

North Chick falls is a cool rapid that gives up some pretty sweet boofs. If you run it down the meat, you might have a bit more splashy and exciting ride. The crew did laps on it, and Taft Sibley intentionally took a surf in the entrance hole, that was so strong, it blew his skirt. Luckily, Taft is a Jimi-Cup champion squirt boater, and gracefully docked his Eskimo on the bank without having to swim. A good thing on such a cold day.

Bett Adams executes a textbook boof. 

I forgot how many nice playspots there are on the run, making me wish I had brought a playboat. We moved along at a nice pace, then eddied out to watch our younger female friend Mary Katherine get beat-down in some rowdy holes. She took a few swims, but kept a great attitude and finished the run strong. We didn't want to spend the night in there, and charged through the Bowling Alley section rapidly. I remember when I used to run that section after school all the time. There are some interesting swirls in there. 

Mary Katherine driving her Nomad like a champion. 

Overall, Cane into North Chick is a really quality float with a multitude of styles of rapids, that makes you feel like you're getting a full tour de rio. We only had to portage one log at the gauge for Cane. I always enjoy a run with few portages, as I like staying in my boat. Twas a fine visit back to Chattanooga, and lucked out with the presence of rain, breathing life into the rivers of my hometown. Now, I'm stoked to be back in California. I think we're gonna do an low-flow overnighter on the Bald Rock to ring in the New Year on a beautiful river. Cheers to the New Year! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Bear creek in Georgia is most definitely a blessing. As with most stellar rewards, they come in short, unpredictable, spells that leave us craving more. After running the Bear, even at a low flow of 9'', I feel satisfied with my return home, beyond just seeing my family. For once in the history of FULL THROTTLE, I am writing this post immediately after the event went down. I rounded up what old-school gear I could find in the barn, and borrowed a Nomad from my boy Nick Murphy. While sorting through gear at Jib Headquarters, I found an old seven2 paddle I figured Paul Hubbard wouldn't mind me using. I mobbed to the river and found my friends Crisler Torrence and Luke Scott at the put-in. The hair of the Bear will always give you a good scare! So, without further ado, I give you the pictures from the trip.

Chrisler is happy to be on the water, even in an old-school Y. Little did we know, this would be the old boat's last run.

The creek starts off with some low-angle, bedrock, slides that are perfect for warming up.

The sandstone geology of Lookout Mtn. reminds me that I'm home. Overhanging rocks are common here.

The only portage of the day, simply because there wasn't enough water to take the 'normal' sneak line down Surrealistic Pillow.

Crisler styles the left line at Fishbowl. It didn't take much convincing for him to mob in.

After Crisler watched my bouncy, yet clean line down Stairway to Heaven, he was inspired to fire it up. Without adequate aqua to pad the bedrock, Crisler took a bad bounce in the crux, and through Jedi-like maneuvers, kept it hairy side up. However, the old Y took a blow that proved to be fatal. Knowing that the trail is only a few burly rapids downstream, Crisler limped his broken kayak onward.

Luke Scott took the knuckle draggers out for a spin to spice it up a bit. Here he is avoiding a dangerous strainer in Cosmic Trigger.

Even with a sinking ship, Crisler knows how to make himself sail over rocks in Big Bang. Its more than just a theory.

A great new drainplug. We all agreed that Revelations was the best rapid of the day, which you can see in the background. Team Jib ran it multiple times.

Taylor Martin was feeling blessed by his Bear creek birthday bash. We caught their crew after Revelations, and it was entertaining watching my friends struggle to recognize me in retro gear.

The birthday boy unwraps a stylish cross bow draw to set him up perfect for Momentary Lapse of Reason.

Bear master Bryce Evans getting parallel through Armageddon.

Taylor Martin does the limbo under a common threat.

And again, avoiding the aggressive Tree Bass that has infiltrated our blessed stream-bed.

Charlie Mix propels his rhasta colored Villain through a maze of stones.

Paul Hubbard finds his balance in Gargoyle. Shortly downstream, Paul asked me whats up with Omega, fittingly named as the last rapid. I said I don't know, and routed him in for his first time.

Like a colorful caravan, we march back to civilization, charged up from a stellar day on Bear Creek. Looks like we might get to run it again here soon. Stay up.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Rivers are incredible. They can teach us so much. I don't believe we are learning anything new, but instead, remembering what we already know. Water is the medium in which we live, and carries with it everything that makes the earth beautiful. Rivers are constant, but also constantly changing. We are the same.

Love is a word that describes a feeling of oneness and connection like no other. I love everything. You might ask, "Do you love murderers, traffic, drought, or depression"? My answer is yes. Without the bad, you have no way of knowing what is good. Experiencing the so-called 'bad', gives us much more appreciation of the 'good'. If you try to get rid of the 'bad', you will also extinguish the 'good'.

Balance gives us a feeling of center and foundation. I strive for balance. The Buddha taught the Middle Way, which means to find balance or center. Whether you are kayaking, writing, walking, or simply being; balance is the key to satisfaction. Nobody likes to fall down or fail. Our balance depends on the head, the center for thought, the command center, the place where these words are coming from. We must strive for balance of the mind first and foremost.

Improvement is based upon judgment. What one person sees as improvement, might seem destructive to another. Nonetheless, the internal judge is always the one we should always listen to. It keeps us constantly striving for improvement. When you improve, you feel alive, new, fresh, and inspired to keep the change going. We must emphasize improvement if we truly want to become a more complete human, society, or consciousness.

Consciousness is something you can't escape from. Its like an imaginary devil and angel sitting on your shoulders. Its speaks to you from a source that can't be explained. There is no need to try and understand or label it. All we have to do is listen to it, and act accordingly. How can we improve consciousness? Opening ourselves up to the universe will expand our consciousness and give us more freedom. When we begin to see ourselves in all, love will surely expand. Just as the moon pulls on the waves, making them crash on the beach, our consciousness pulls us towards a pure existence, crashing our bleak concept of an independent 'self'.

Travel can be seen in many ways. To travel through the depths of one's mind can be a frightening experience if we aren't careful. Often times, we move through life not knowing how or why the mind functions the way it does. Our experiences in this body, on this earth, in this time, are the deciding factors of how we think, and who we are. To question the thoughts that make us who we are is the only way to truly understand 'oneself'. If we don't question ourselves, how are we to question anyone else?

You may be questioning where or why these thoughts that I am writing are coming up now. I question them myself. My only answer is that by being written, I am beginning to understand my mind. I am trying to find rivers of love with balance that will improve my consciousness to travel fluidly through time, space, and knowledge. I hope we will all feel inspired to grow through any, and all, mediums we choose. Charge or be charged. This is life.

All photos are of the Gap section of the South Yuba river. An incredible place that has made me a stronger person, having passed through those turbulent gates nine times now. Happy holidays.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Best in the West

Howdy Ya'll!

In my humble opinion, the Middle Fork of the Kings river is the best California Class V kayak run. After completing all the legendary rivers featured in the 7 Rivers Expedition, with the exception of Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, I feel pretty comfortable giving MFK top honors. With great effort, comes great reward, and this trip is no exception.
Having to hike your kayak, 5 days worth of food, and your camping gear 12 miles up and over a 12,000 foot pass, makes you wonder if its worth it. I don't consider the hike to be a burden, rather a pleasant stroll through some of the most captivating scenery on the planet.
This year, being my forth tour, I felt pretty comfortable with the all-around magnitude of the endeavor. The crew included Mike Peacher, Barny Young, Nick Murphy, King Charles, and Jordy Searle.
Ironically, King Charles was forced to hike-out early into the run, due to a massive breach in his kayak's hull. Jordy was injured from some burl on Hospital Rock, also slightly ironic, and simply provided ground support on the hike.
Once you make it to the river, after trudging down around 1000' of switchbacks, you are ready to taste the magical waters of his majesty. After speaking with a ranger at the put-in, it was confirmed that the water is cleaner than any tap-water. So, we got in our boats and started charging down the river, taking gulps as we plugged into the countless swirls. The beginning of the run is really low volume and manky, but fun nonetheless.
While driving the shuttle, we saw a few rattlesnakes and an owl carrying a mouse. As we expected, somebody noticed a Bear chilling next to the river, close to where I was portaging. Its so exciting in there! We made camp early after running the picturesque notch to slide rapid. The stars glimmered us to sleep quickly, deeply tired and satisfied from being in the Kings Canyon. I awoke early, with thoughts of the 7 Rivers cover drop, aka Squeeze Play, lurking closely downstream. I walked down to take a peak before anyone had woken, to find a lower flow than my previous descent of the rapid. I didn't like the way it looked.

Taylor Cavin, Dan Menten, Scott Ligare, and Chris Zwaki joined us in scouting the tight waterfall. Dan felt fired up, and decided to give it a go. I recommended that he charge. He charged, but the waterfall was hungry after having more than a year without action. He surfed the hole for while, locked in by the overhanging left wall. Ropes began to fly, but none were successful. Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity, Dan resurfaced, out of his boat, way downstream. We were all on the river left bank, unable to pull Dan up the sheer cliff we were standing on. I ran downstream to the last possible eddy before the next burly rapid. When I saw Dan floating toward the lip of said rapid, I fired my throw rope with great conviction. Luckily, the rope landed right over the bill of his helmet, but he didn't immediately respond. We yelled at him and he woke up just in time. I reeled him in like the biggest trophy fish in the world. Saved just in the nick of time. He was coughing up serious amounts of water and completely exhausted. After recovering all the gear, a ranger asked for our permit, and Peacher inquired as to why she didn't have a six-shooter on her side. Having just witnessed a near-death experience, we began paddling downstream with a different perspective.
The snow-bridge was one of the highlights of my entire summer. I have never seen such an amazing spectacle. While paddling under it, we were exposed to a cathedral of dimples that were nothing short of beautiful. It was a baptism of sorts, crossing under a snow-bridge created from the largest snow-pack in California's recorded history.
The ultra-classic big slide was epic as always, and I got stopped like a fast-ball into the catchers mitt in the hole at bottom. Luckily, I was able to stoke my way out of it without a problem. Not surprisingly, Barny broke his kayak soon before the waterfall gorge. We patched her up as best we could and ran some awesome whitewater. Looking at the one of the last un-run drops of the Kings, I'm surprised Tommy Hilleke or somebody hasn't given her a go. Its a pretty walled-in, backed-up, super-powerful hydraulic; so, I guess its not that surprising, since you get so many other 'good' rapids on the run.
We camped in an amazing meadow, and discussed how lucky I was to nail Dan with my rope. The next day, we woke up to another perfect, sunny, glorious atmosphere for routing long Class V rapids. I always remember the section just above the Big Bad Beaver to keep you more than adequately entertained.
Therefore, when we got to the BBB, all of us but Nick decided to walk around. With typical Nick Murphy fashion, he rode his Jah-mad up and over the chaotic compression hole that keeps most mortals at bay. Cheers of celebration ensued, as its always good to watch a team-member style the largest rapid on the run. Tehipite dome is one of the many rewards you receive from staying on point and continuing deeper into the canyon.
Always a hard night of sleep, thinking about MFK B9-er and the Garlic Falls, the final stretches of the trip. The bottom 9 keeps you humble more than any other section of river I have been on, but I love it for that. Too many rapids in there to remember, and you find yourself mad-bombing steep technical boulder gardens that can eat your lunch, constantly.
We kept it safe in there and took a rewarding break at the confluence of the Middle and South Kings rivers. Having completed all of the Middle Fork is an accomplishment for sure, but I have seen Garlic Falls serve up just as much carnage as the rest.
Lucky for us this time, we mobbed the big-water without hindrance, and celebrated with the sights of the take-out. As Barny would say, funny how you are ready to leave one of the greatest kayaking rivers in the world after spending 5 grueling days in there. The beers flowed forth, having been chilled by our whitewater roller-coaster.
We left my favorite place in the entire world, with a fitting California sunset over Pine Flat lake, which hinders the King's natural progression to the sea.
We made it to Barny's house in Groveland that night, but couldn't muster the motivation to paddle faster-than-usual down Cherry Creek the next day. So, we rolled in hot off an epic mission, to one of the best parties of the year, and raged late into the night with our fellow chargers. Cheers fellow brothers and sisters! Heres a little movie I made from the trip. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Yuba Gap

Just when you, or some other people, think the California Class V whitewater boat riding season is over, a little stretch of river receives just the right amount of water thanks to some dam maintenance. The stretch we're talking about here is known in kayaking circles as the legendary Yuba Gap run. Few attempts, fabled with epic accounts of carnage, charging, burl, swirl, and the gang, gives way to a sense of adventure when putting on this gem. Luckily for me, I live in close proximity to the mighty South Yuba river, which locals regard as the Center of the Universe. Unfortunately, the Lang Crossing gauge that measures the flow in the Yuba Gap was on the fritz, further leading to the speculation that it was indeed running. On a hunch, from seeing the HWY 49 gauge reading around 420 CFS, I drove to the put-in for a reality check of the good kind. Indeed, the river was running what looked like an optimal 350CFS. Game on! We rendezvoused at the put-in for some rockstar shuttle action. Meeting Taylor Robertson enabled us with a shuttle driver, his lovely wife Jen. Time to Charge! This run is full throttle right out of the gates. Over the course of the next four days, I encountered many burl-swirls that tested my might. I persevered of course. The slide that measures time, aka hourglass, took a toll on me my final run, but it won't hinder my high view of this run. Running it four days in row enabled me to dial the countless rapids in there, giving me a new found love and confidence in this demanding stretch. I captured some stellar eye candy whilst traveling through this beautiful canyon. I made a short movie with some of my buddies. Chargers include Justin Patt, Taylor Robertson, Thomas Moore, Jim Addington, Sean Manchester, Middy, Chris Tulley, David Maurier, Jared Noceti, Rok Sribar, and the elusive Taylor Cavin. Cheers!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First Descents

Waterfalls have always been one of the most cherished moments that water rushes towards a new destination. It is a moment where the molecules gain speed as gravity takes hold more easily without solid rock beneath. When riding these water molecules in a kayak, we often feel connected to a greater source. A source that every living thing on Earth is so intrinsically dependent upon.

In the winter of 2011; Cody Howard, Darin Mcquoid, and myself began exploring never-before-run waterfalls in the Gold Country area of California. Justin Patt, local class V kayaker extraordinaire, gave us hints of a 50 foot waterfall very close to my new home of Nevada City. He was led to this drop through a very resourceful website called Through further research of this website, we found 2 more waterfalls close by; on a small, low-elevation stream called Dry Creek.
The rains began to pour, our hearts began to thump, and we knew the time had come to check out these waterfalls with ample flow. Dry creek was first on the list because it has a very small watershed that rarely receives enough precipitation to make the stream 'runnable'. This day, however, the creek wasn't so dry. So, we began hiking 2 miles up through cow pastures to see what the creek had to offer. Cody's fiance, Brandi Suppi, and dog, Timber, joined us in dodging countless, fresh, steaming, cow patties. We arrived at the falls to see an amber colored torrent cascading down not one, but two magnificent waterfalls.
The first falls was very intimidating with a raging curler protecting the lip of this spatula-shaped 60 footer. None of us were feeling fired up enough to tackle this animal. Therefore, we proceeded a short distance down to the second falls. Now this falls looked very similar to a frequently-run waterfall on the Little White Salmon called Spirit Falls. Having run Spirit Falls, and many other waterfalls in the 30 foot range, I felt confident that I could run the falls successfully. After discussing the line with my Cody and Darin, the decision was made for me to claim the first descent of this falls.

I readied myself, as I normally do for a very consequential rapid, with visualization and breathing techniques. Upon entering my custom outfitted Jefe Grande with a 4 inch foam seat and completely foam bulkhead, the realization began to sink in of the magnitude of the act, in which I was about to carry out. Splashing the cold, amber-colored, water on my face helped calm my nerves as I ferried over to the river left eddy directly above the drop. I motioned to Cody up on the bank that I was fully-charged and ready to go. Left strokes from my Werner Shogun propelled me into the main current where I immediately felt the power of the creek. I continued to take left strokes as the flow was pushing me hard left. Even though I was further left than I wanted to be, I knew that I was committed, and continued to charge with all my might as I began to feel the water fall out from under me.

The time between the lip and landing of a waterfall are spiritual moments for me. All thoughts simply vanish. My body begins moving in ways that are controlled by years of experience kayaking. And when I finally land, its almost as if I have woken up from a dream. In this case, it was a very frightening dream! Instead of using the rolling lip to take a boof-stroke and control my angle of descent, the lip literally fell out from under me. Leaving me with no place for a stroke, I fell almost completely flat onto a slightly submerged rock.

Lady luck was on my side this time as I received nothing more than a severe jarring. I wasn't stoked on my line, but I was very pleased to have run the drop without serious injury. I'm pretty certain that my supremely, cushioned, foam-seat saved me great pain on this, and many other, occasions. As we always do, we celebrated with high fives after a successful first descent of a 30 foot waterfall in close proximity to our homes.

Darin felt confident that he too could paddle the drop successfully; and so, he began his way of preparing for a serious waterfall. I set up safety and media on river left below the drop. Darin charged off the lip with great speed, but he too got pushed further left than planned. Nevertheless, he paddled away from the turbulent base of the falls all in tact and grinning from ear to ear. He also noted contact with some sort of brunt object upon landing.

After hearing that both Darin and I had felt rock on our left side, Cody was very motivated to charge the drop with plenty of right angle. He did so with typical Cody style, and beautifully boofed the drop in the center with a nice 45 degree angle of descent. If I remember correctly, he didn't touch a single rock in his landing, and motivated me to make a second attempt.
Once again, I prepared myself for a burly rapid, and ferried over to the very swirly eddy on river left. This time, I charged super-hard for the river right bank, and as I expected, was pushed left into the center of the lip. I took a nice look at the boiling landing while pulling a glorious stroke that propelled me into a sweet angle of free-fall. Moments of no-thought proceeded and I awoke at the base of the falls with an extreme feeling of satisfaction. A good line to finish off a spectacular day.

Cody, Darin, and I decided to continue paddling downstream instead of hiking back down through the cow fields. Brandi and Timber, on the other hand, possessed no floating devices; and thus, began to hike back towards the cars. Not to our surprise, we found much debris-infested class II rapids downstream of the falls. At one point, I tried to roll under a log across the river, which is never a good idea I might add. This resulted in a mellow wet exit, where I didn't really get wet since I was in my Kokatat dry-suit.

We finally arrived at the cars, still in high spirits after completing such a sweet first descent. We began to undress and wonder when Brandi and Timber would show up. After popping a few frosty beverages and watching the light quickly fade, we began to get concerned for Brandi and Timber. Our worry didn't last long as we saw Brandi come angrily tromping across the yellow bridge. We hadn't taken much note of the sign on the bridge which said not to enter the fields during a certain time of year. That certain time of year signified the mating season of the bovine breed.

With big eyes, shortness of breath, and heart racing; Brandi re-counted the story of a massive bull chasing her and Timber down. She wasn't stoked to say the least. Especially at the fact that Timber didn't show the slightest sign of bravery in the matter. She said that Timber was actually out-running her. So, if you are interested in checking out Dry Creek falls, beware of the angry cows. They will give you a run for your money. Brandi also noted that her astrological sign is Taurus. So that might have had something to do with it too.

One waterfall down, two to go. The next band of storms inspired me to go check out South Deer Creek falls, which Justin Patt had been raving about since I moved to town. The drop isn't far from the town of Nevada City, but if you don't know where you're going, its easy to get lost. The roads leading back in there are very reminiscent of the logging roads leading to Big Kimshew. I went there solo the first time, and after trudging through at least 1 foot of snow for an hour or so, I found the falls. Justin wasn't lying when he said it was very sick yet runnable. I didn't spend long out in the miserable cold rain/snow that blessed the Sierras much of 2011.

Another huge storm came barreling into northern California that got Cody and I out of the house and into the woods looking at South Deer Falls, which from now on I will abbreviate as SDF. This time, the falls were on the high side of high. But it whet, mine and Cody's appetite more than any other drop we had looked at so far. We walked away with thoughts of another drop that we knew would be better with less water.

It continued to rain throughout the night, further instilling the image of a massive curling beast into my mind as I tried to sleep in the loft of my little cabin. Cody called me early in the morning with a report that Dry Creek was going to be higher than our previous trip, and that there was a crew of people forming to go check it out. I loaded up and headed into town with high hopes of running the upper Dry Creek falls. I carpooled with Cody from Grass Valley to the staging area near Beale Air Force base.

Once there, we met Darin Mcqouid, Jason Craig, Taylor Cavin, Robby Hogg, and Gareth Tate. A fine crew of Chargers if I may say so myself. We geared up and began the hike promptly. I led the charge, as I was anxious to see the falls again. Walking through the cow pastures, the sounds of the beasts become louder and louder. Yes, the waterfalls and cows. Both can be terrifying in their own sense. After gaining permission from the cows to check the falls, I was greeted by the curling beast. There are multiple names for this falls, one being Fairy Falls, but I tend to not like 'labels'. So, we will just let it be as is.

Everyone was pretty impressed with the drop, and no one seemed fired up to run it. Darin ferried across the river above the drop. He came back with an even more certain decision not to run it. I, however, was not convinced, and ferried over there myself. Standing from a different viewpoint than I had ever seen, enabled to see the waterfall in a different light. The chaos of whitewater tumulting down the lip actually looked appealing to me, and I decided to run it. I threw my paddle off the waterfall into the pool below to Jason Craig. Hand-paddles would be my weapon of choice for this encounter.

This would be the largest drop I had ever run, and it was a first descent on something that many other elite kayakers wanted no part of. My adrenaline was pumping, but I felt confident that I could make the move. I also felt confident in the crew, should my attempt turn sour, and force some sort of physical damage. After visualizing my line many times, I got in my ultra-light, super-padded, kayak. Splashed some water in my face, put my hand-paddles on, and after a few last-minute prayers, I entered the raging river.

Approaching the lip, I felt extremely confident, guiding my kayak exactly where I wanted to be, far right. I tried not to give any attention to Robby manning a GoPro camera, and focused with all my heart and mind. As I started to fall, I literally Charged into the overhead curler with the intentions of punching through it. Not much can be remembered in those brief moments between the lip and landing, but I remember getting slammed to the deck of my boat, and feeling myself floating in the pool upside down. I knew immediately I was alright and rolled up. The energy was flowing through me like a conductor to a nuclear plant.
Stellar photo by Darin Mcquoid.

Cheers and high fives ensued. Quickly, after discussing to everyone I was fine, even though they heard a loud noise once I disappeared behind the curtain, we began contemplating the lower falls. Its amazing how energy spreads. I could sense that everyone was fired up just from watching me run the upper falls. Taylor quickly decided to run the lower falls. He gave it a good go, but came back with tales of a rocky landing, as we already knew. I can't remember exactly how it went down.

I just remember talking to Jason before he entered the pool above the drop. I felt slightly inclined to give him beta on the current pushing hard left at the lip, which is where you don't want to get pushed. But, I felt that Darin had probably given him enough advice and that he didn't need anymore. Jason Charged the lip confidently, but got pushed left. He landed on the slightly submerged rock directly under his butt, and immediately swam out of his kayak. The blood curtailing scream he let out gave us all the indicator that something definitely wasn't right.

Taylor was first on the scene, and pulled Jason out of the water, as he wasn't capable himself. We all made our way across the walled in min-gorge that exists at the base of the falls. Gareth Tate, a Winderness Medicine Instructor, began diagnosing Jason's injuries. Unfortunately, Jason also forgot to close the relief zipper on his Kokatat dry-suit. Creating a fish-tank of cold river water in his pants. We cut the booties and drained the water, but he was still shivering to the point of hypothermia. We all began removing what warm layers we had to create a blanket to try and keep him warm.

Cody Howard hit his SPOT device, notifying local emergency medical crews of our need. A helicopter began circling above, but couldn't land due to bad weather and lack of landing spots. Finally, rescue crews arrived on the opposite side of the river, and we ferried a body board to where Jason was. We very carefully placed Jason on the body board and began slowly Z-dragging him up the canyon wall. It was a very tense situation, as every movement was inflicting excruciating pain on Jason.

Nonetheless, Jason was handling it like a weathered old navy seal or something. Pretending that the pain wasn't affecting too much, he quickly agreed to the idea of using a boogie-board to ferry him across to the rescue team. Darin lied on top of Jason on the boogie-board to ensure he wouldn't flip in the turbulent current. Sure enough, the current tried to flip them, and Darin used his playboatinng training to lean downstream and keep them upright. Not more than 5 seconds after getting Jason across the river to the rescue team, darkness ensued. We couldn't have made it any closer to the line.

Jason was taken to the Marysville hospital where it was confirmed that his Spleen had been shattered and separated his legs from his hips. Nerve damage was also done, but the doctors said we did a fantastic job of keeping his body stable during the evacuation. A tragic incident for sure, but it looks like Jason is going to have a great recovery, and he is already kayaking again as I write this more that 6 months since it happened. Just a prime example of the danger involved with running large-marginale waterfalls. Much respect goes to Jason and his family for keeping a positive outlook during these troubling times.

Cody put up a sweet video from the days. Its on You will have to find it there. Its under Cali First D's.

Until next time, keep the Charge alive!