Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Familiar Territory

I've spent the last few weeks readjusting to warm water and familiar territory. The college I'm attending for the Fall semester happens to be located approximately 2 miles from one of the best play spots in NY, Hole Brothers. I've only had a playboat of my own for a few months now, so I'm well behind the curve as far as what other paddlers my age can do in a hole, but I'm still having fun and trying new things.
The loop sequence above somehow resulted in a blown skirt and fun swim. No, really, it was fun!

I also caught a low water lap on the Bottom Moose, one of New York's most renowned advanced runs. The Bottom is pretty typical of most Adirondack rivers: Big drops separated by big pools. I'm fortunate enough to be able to call this familiar territory as well; it's only 40 minutes from my house!

Papa C took time out of his busy schedule slangin' rack(s) to nail some boofs on Agers Falls and the rest of the Bottom Moose with me.
It was great to get on a river I'm comfortable with in the new boat. As expected, there are a few kinks to work out, but mostly I just get caught off guard by how easy it is to hit my lines. At the end of the week I loaded up a couple GoPro's and my boat to meet up with Will and some of the Demjoez for yet another Adirondack classic that happens to be, you guessed it, familiar territory. The Beaver River has 3 distinct sections: Taylorville, Eagle, and Moshier. Sadly, I missed the 4 hours of bliss known as the Moshier release due to a gnarly staph infection on my knee this year, but I still caught the last Taylorville and Eagle releases of the fall.

Taylorville is the easiest of the three sections, but it still can pack a punch if you're in the wrong place. Todd found that out this weekend in a way very similar to the way I got my name for this blog.

The Origin of the Beaverator Kid
There's no point being subtle about this one, besides, no one gets sick of watching carnage. 

Six year's later, I still haven't learned my lesson completely...
Right about here is when things started getting chaotic...
Blowing the line for the hero eddy on The Great White Slide sets you up for a perfect 180 to undercut stuff, before spitting you out on the remainder of the slide. It's usually more forgiving than it looks...usually.

But let's rewind for a second, in an effort to redeem myself from the original Beaverator incident, I've taken to running the sluiceway that feeds into it as well as the beaverator itself. I'm developing a zipline camera, but for now it's only good for stills. Here's C-money and The Todd making it look easy.

Will, accelerating...
The Todd, before getting "beaverated". That came a little later.
The rest of the run went well. I set up my zip cam for some interesting shots on the constricted "Corkscrew" rapid, but nothing came out steady. The crew ran down for a second lap while I set that up and we regrouped at the end to rally to the Eagle section.

The Eagle, although much steeper and more intimidating, I don't think this run sees quite as much carnage as the other sections. Maybe it's because the river is so narrow that all the water just pushes you where you need to be. Maybe it's just big enough that it keeps the people who aren't ready for it away. Either way, it's a really fun, short run that works well in combination with either of the other sections of the Beaver.

Scrambling for an eddy after the first slide...

Will in the sweet Cave Eddy. I've never seen this one caught before!

Mr. Yakima, blasting his way into the big one...
A sweet unintentional tandem boof that couldn't have gone better if we planned it. Nice one Andy!
That pretty much sums it up. I'm back in the old stomping grounds, and despite the quality of the rivers we all know and love, they won't keep me satisfied for long. Brokeback Gorge needs some cleaning, and there are a few others I have my eyes on. 

Green River, VT on the menu for the weekend, with some birthday shenanigans on the side in Burlingtown!
Thursday, September 22, 2011

Summer Photo Update

-Scott Martin Photo
Scott Martin was kind enough to send some photos from my summer paddling season! Scott is one of the best photographers I've ever met, check out some of his phenomenal work on his blog, including a great write-up of our trip south to Gauleyfest!

The car is always full of gear when riding with Scott Martin! 
Detoxing on Woodhull Creek, NY
-Scott Martin Photo

Demoing the Fluid Solo on the Z-Slide, Independence River, NY
-Scott Martin Photo
Entering the "Eagles Talons" on Otter Creek in NY
As you can see, the 'Daks have a lot of big long slides...
-Scott Martin Photo
The 'Daks also have a lot of big, long flatwater paddles. The whitewater is always worth it though, especially when paddling with good friends!
-Scott Martin Photo

Scott, scouting the Tooth Ferry on Section 4 of the Oswegatchie River in NY
A rare shot of Sam Drevo upside down as I follow him towrads Pillow Rock, Upper Gauley, WV
-Scott Martin Images

Scott did a great job at remaining productive while I goofed around with his sweet Nikon DSLR at the Upper Yough put-in, MD

Stoked on my FIRST EVER new kayak. The Liquidlogic Stomper is a SWEET boat!
-Scott Martin Photo

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Summer 2011

The summer season is closing out. No more Black River rafting or shirtless laps on the Bottom Moose...

It was a great season, and I've learned a lot from it. I started the season off with a week and a half of some of the best boating I've ever done. It was right in my backyard too. The now annual Spring-Moosefest provided a great kickoff; including an R2 descent of the Alpine Line on Crystal, my personal first descent of the Alpine Line in a kayak, and a rescue on the hard-to-catch Mill Creek that resulted in an unnecessary 911 call. 
A recirculating Mike Mainer and Ben Schott stuffed into a gnarly undercut

After a day of rest, I jumped straight into a week-long kayaking extravaganza. Joining me were such esteemed figures as Scott Martin, Thayer Walker, Alan Panebaker, Uncle Jim, and Will (Papa C) Crimmins. These guys have some of the best attitudes in whitewater, and paddling with them will make for a great day no matter what the conditions. 
Scott Martin, dropping in on the last rapid of Otter Creek, NY

I managed to catch Woodhull Creek, Fish Creek, Otter Creek, the Independence River, the Middle Branch of the Oswegatchie River, and the Black River over the next 6 days with some combination of the culprits mentioned above. After another day of rest I showed Cory Haas down the Indy. This was maybe his 5th day on the water, and he ran EVERYTHING. I guess he must have had a great instructor...

A few days later and 4 wisdom teeth less, I began my road trip to Portland, OR. My father and I spent 27 hours in my 2 door Hyundai Accent with no air conditioning and a muffler that didn't do it's job. It was a fun trip. After a brief layover in Murdo, SD (population 60, no joke) we made our way to Missoula, MT for a night out on the town courtesy of Doug Ammons. The next day was spent reuniting with long-time-best-friend Ian Jirasko, and driving to the town near Palouse Falls. That's a big one...

Moving into Portland, I felt like I was in a bigger Burlington, but without friends or any idea where to go. Homesickness was definitely a bigger problem than expected, but after a week or two, I got into the swing of things and started to have a great time in the City of Roses.

Memorable runs included the Orletta section of the White Salmon, SUPing the Lower Clackamas, the Lower Wind, the Wenatchee Play Run, walking off Icicle Creek, the North Fork Skykomish with another East Coast transplant, multiple Hanford trips, and the infamous Green Truss section of the White Salmon.

Meditating to achieve SUP God status
The paddling scene in the PNW is just incredible. There are so many paddlers and rivers there, it would be easy to spend the rest of your life and never paddle the same run. The people are great, and the whitewater is challenging. Do yourself a favor and get out there. I hear eNRG Kayaking knows what's up...

After countless memories had been made, it was time to make my sad farewell. Thank you so much to Sam Drevo, Niko Peha, Michael Gordon, Ben Small, Cat Loke, Laura Taylor, and everyone else that made my time in Portland so great!

Cat going huge!
On the way home my dad and sister wanted to do something fun. I told them to go jump off a bridge...
After that, driving was a little boring. We made a 33 hour push from best-friend Ian's in Western Montana all the way to Cedar Point, Ohio. It was good to be out of the car.

Since I've been home, I've playboated a bunch, developed a staph infection, missed out on the 4 hours of creeking that is the Moshier release, spent multiple days in the hospital fighting said infection, and gone to class.

Finally, I wrapped up the summer season very much the same way I started it. Boating on new runs with good friends.

I rallied down to Gauleyfest in Summersville, WV with Scott Martin with plans on meetng up with Papa C and Sam Drevo. A night spent in one of the worst rainstorms I've ever experienced and several hours waiting at the put-in for the Upper Yough had me worried that I should have stuck to going to class. Once on the river that all changed though. Despite locals claiming the water was too high; Scott, Sam, and Eli all fired it up in their playboats, and I paddled Scott's Detox...which lets face it, is a playboat. A quick drive down to Summersville revealed slightly warmer temperatures, but the gracious invitation to sleep in the hotel with Mr. Yakima was much appreciated.

A mellow but fun day on the Lower Gauley while Scott shot the Girls at Play was a nice warm up for the Upper the next day. The Upper Gauley is a great run and sees so much traffic from commercial rafting and unprepared private boaters that it's difficulties and dangers get talked up a lot. If you're comfortable on big water and use a bit of common sense, you'll be fine on the Upper Gauley.
Coming into Pillow Rock on the UG. Note the crowds on river left and right, this is about half the people that were there watching. Also note Sam Drevo backlooping out of the Room of Doom
All in all, it was a great summer season. One worth celebrating, for sure. For now it's time to dig out those extra fleece layers and find the drytops. It's getting cold here in the North, the leaves are starting to change, and that means the fall rains are coming to pump up the Adirondack Classics.

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I am a freelance writer and photographer, collector of experiences, adventure lover, and outdoor goer.