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.