Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Rest of the Best

After returning to Anchorage and seeing the snow in the mountains, I pretty much assumed I wouldn't be in my boat until possibly Thanksgiving when I head back to the east coast. Well I'd always been told not to assume anything in life and with that Timmy J (, gave me a call Thursday afternoon to see if I would be into running Upper Willow on Friday.

Timmy at the Put in

Having heard reports of decent skiing in the Hatcher Pass/Snowbird Glacier area I was a bit perplexed by the notion of there being water in the rivers. "It actually has water" I asked. Seeing as how most every lake/pond I had flown over on my return home from Mexico was either completely frozen or very close to it. He said "It's on the low side, but it's still good at that flow". Still being a bit skeptical I said I'd give him a call later on if I was into it. was on! Immediately after hanging up the phone I was on the computer to see for myself. Sure enough there was 347 cfs and while on the low end I figured what the hell. The run is very channelized and other than the long paddle in (which we have figured out how to avoid) low flow shouldn't be to bad at all. And so it was set, 9:30 in Eagle River and we would be under way.

Obie in one of the early ones

Timmy boofing near the bottom of Gazebo Drop

Cody looking on as Obie tries, with is bad shoulder, to avoid the cold one

Come Friday morning it was a bit different story and as most things kayaking related, time went right out the window and we didn't actually get on the road until about 11. Hey, at least it would be a bit warmer! (the sun doesn't come up now until right around or a little after 8) Joined by Obie Jenkins and Cody Tye, we had a nice group of 4 for our trip.

Obie finishing up Sieve 57

Reality sets in:

Having talked a big game in Mexico about how I had had enough of hot/humid weather and water that didn't even cool you off, I couldn't wait to get back to better paddling conditions.

Timmy making things a little safer, provided he doesn't fall in himself

Or so I thought. Shivering as I suited up to get on the creek I began to think of those high temperatures and sweltering heat in a different light. Then to top things off our first glimpse of the creek revealed that most every rock at river level was covered in ice.

Timmy mid way through the left line at Triple Drop

Good times to come I thought. After putting in on an ice shelf we were underway. The run turned out to be almost as quality as it is with double the flow, only without any push. A welcome thing given I don't know the run all that well and with the ice, moving around outside of your boat could pose a real challenge. None the less, we took Cody down with only scouting twice and both of those were in the bottom of the gorge were no one but Timmy really knew the lines. All in all an awesome day on what may very well be the best in South Central Alaska

The view down canyon towards Aqua Lung

Timmy entering Aqua Lung

Me somewhere near the bottom of the run


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