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Too much SNOW!

April 9th, 2008 by bozemankayaker

Bozeman MT is getting dumped on!  It won’t stop snowing here, and that’s a good thing.  While the rest of the country begins to boat we’re still up on the hill skiing.  What does this mean?  Well, there are whispers that this may be the biggest run-off year in the past twenty!  With incredible snowpack across Montana and the entire West, it looks like we’re going to be boating heavily here once the snow ACTUALLY starts to melt.  The weekend is looking to be a warm one, and the icy grip of winter may loosen a bit. 

If things do start to melt off, I’ll tell you where you’ll find us… The Lochsa!  A classic run northwest of Missoula about 5 hours from Bozeman.  The Lochsa is a class IV run with some incredible play and great non-stop river running fun!  Look for flows of around 5,000 cfs for things to start crankin’.  This weekned is closing day for Bridger Bowl, our local mountain, so from here on out it is officially BOATING SEASON in Bozeman!  YEEEEHAAAAWWWWW!

Pipeline

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Cataract Canyon Spring Break Trip

March 31st, 2008 by bozemankayaker

cataract canyon

A trip that is quickly becoming tradition is our Cataract Canyon spring break trip, which went down the second week in March down yonder in Utah near Moab.  It is a five day trip (can do it longer too) down Cataract Canyon on the Colorado river.

  blunt

It is about 90 miles of pure bliss,  with 16 people, 6 rafts, an awesome amount of beer, and 5 days of beautiful canyon.  The trip began at Potash, our put-in, and as we pushed off the group had a celebratory “toast” to the next 5 days of sun filled debauchery.

booty beer

The first two days are filled with breath-taking scenery.  High cliff walls, arches, incredible geography, and raptors soaring high above fill the day as the group floats the flatwater.  At night we celebrate life, dancing and singing out of key around the campfire.  The mornings are a haggard afair as we try to rally the troups and gear up the boats, but we recover our minds and set out for more wild times.  By the third day the rapids appear, and smiles are on everyone’s faces.  My favorite part of the trip is day 3. 

brown town blunt

We camp at a giant beach with two canyons stradling the surging brown river with one of the most epic waves around sitting perfectly at our front porch.  As we surf into the sunset, the pure extacy of life is truly found.  The wave, the canyon, the people… it is an unforgettable time of my life. 

The fourth day has the largest drops in it, culminating with the “Big Drop” rapids.  They have been known to be raft flippers, especially at hight water, but nonetheless they are a riot!  We finish day four with smiles ear to ear posted up on everyone’s face and stories to be told about the origins of each one.  The last day is a sad yet beautiful float to Lake Powell.  For those five days on the river I truly feel at home.  The rest of the world moves so fast, and people often forget who they really are!  Being on that river brings a smile to my face, and I feel life is simpler, love is easier, and I am happier than I’ ve ever been.  I guess you could say I, like many of you, belong on the river as River Rat.

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Mesa Falls

March 25th, 2008 by bozemankayaker

For those of you who don’t know Mesa Falls is a waterfall on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River near Island Park ID. Lower Mesa Falls is a magnificent display of power. It is hard to stand next to it and not awe in the beauty of the cascading waters. I personally revere it for its breath-taking riverscape. Lower Mesa Falls, like its name hints, is the product of the Snake River’s decent from a high mesa in central Idaho, in two spectacular displays of nature’s power. The Upper Falls is unrunnable, but worth a look, as it will get you pumped for what lies merely 3/4 of a mile downstream. The lower falls is a a two tiered drop on the left and a one shotter with a big bounce on the right. The falls crash down into an almost perfectly vertical canyon, with lush grass and towering butresses giving it the feel of Middle Earth rather than middle Idaho. In essence, Mesa is a huckers paradise.
Three weeks ago our crew of boaters made the 2 1/2 hour journey to Mesa Falls for Wes’s birthday celebration. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the water levels were perfect. The left side line, which consists of a 15 footer shortly followed by a 30 footer, was prime and just pleading with us to huck. The huck fest was started in fine form by Pat, who hopped in his boat for the first shot at the drop. After his flawless line the rest of the crew followed eagerly into the sweet bubbly bliss.
After many minutes of deliberation Bradford and I decided that the right side was perfect for dropping on this particular day. With safety set and hearts pounding Bradford and I scouted, rescouted, and scouted again. We went step by step through the strokes up to the drop, the boof, the tuck, and the impact. As go time came nearer I could see the determination in Bradford’s eyes…mixed with a healthy dosage of trepidation.
Bradford waited in the eddy above the drop veiled by an outcropping of bushes. I anxiously awaited his pealout on the shore just 30 feet away. I feared for my friend. I thought about the shear rock wall just 10 feet to the right of his drop zone. I pondered what would happen if he was off line by a mere 3-5 feet on his left and dropped into the deep seam that disappeared into a thundering abyss 65 feet below. What if he hit the boulder and went over vertical? What if he pitoned? Would he hit his line? Was he ready for this? Before I could think more on these questions I saw Bradford’s boat patiently waiting at the edge of the eddy 30 feet above the lip. A few more moments of contemplation, and Bradford pealed out of the eddy heading for the largest drop of his kayaking career. The lip approached, and Bradford was on line. He took one last late boof stroke and plummeted to the rock “bounce” 20 feet below.

He sprung from the rock with impressive force and fell the remaining 45 feet to the chunder below. Without even a seconds falter he was up and paddling away from the drop unscathed. Pat and Jake erupted in triumph from the safety rock below the falls. I could see the exhalation in his face from my perch. His smile beamed ear to ear, and I knew he had laced his line. I bellowed my response to his sick line down to him over the deafening roar. But for me it was not time for celebration. I was up next.
As I got into my boat I remembered how this drop had been my dream since I first laid eyes on it some 3 years ago. How it had kept me up at night thinking about the most significant boof I might potentially ever make. Three years ago I was not ready for the right side of Mesa, but sitting in that eddy starring over my shoulder at the largest horizon line I’d ever contemplated, I knew I was finally ready to give ‘er. As I pealed out of the eddy I felt as if the water were slowing down, as if I had a keener sense of things about me. I could hear the roar of the falls, but it somehow felt surreal. Each stroke felt like it was perfect, like the water was controlling the blades, not me. 15 feet from the lip I made contact with my one reference point, a small wave, and mentally smiled; I was on line. 10 feet, I watched the mist approach, and heard only the cacophonous waters. 5 feet, I took my last stroke on my right side and prepared for a left side boof hopefully placing me perfectly on the bounce rock sending me into a pencil in the pool below. As the lip rolled away from my boat I pulled on my left blade, grabbing the rock slightly, boofing the 65 foot waterfall. I had a moment of panic, as I thought I was oververtical, and would piton on the boulder 20 feet below, but instead I felt the watery recoil hit the hull of my boat and the then…darkness. An instant later I felt powerful impact that stunned me momentarily. I rolled up and was at the bottom of the falls. My face was pounding with pain, and my vision was blurry, but I could only feel satisfaction. For lack of a better word I was STOKED. Pat and Jake greeted me with cheering and high fives as I rolled into the eddy. As my adrenaline flowed out of me I began to smile, and then laugh. I had done it, I had dropped the “Right Side”. My dream of sailing off the right side was finally realized. It was an indescribable feeling, like none I have had before.
The reunion between Bradford and I back at the top of the left side was awesome. I could see the excitement in his eyes, and I felt it in my own as well. We had bothed nailed our lines, and celebrated together. As we spoke, Bradford told me “…this drop has changed how I am going to paddle. I feel like I can harness my fear now, channel it down into something I can use.”
Bradford’s words ring truer than ever. I now feel like we’ve made a leap forward in our paddling. No, hucking your meat doesn’t make you a good paddler, and if you are not ready it appears to mean quite the opposite. This drop represented our drive to push ourselves mentally and control our wits. I now look forward to the next challenge that lies ahead.
As we drove off that day I felt more satisfied than I had in a long time. I’m not going to run that drop again. I don’t think I’ll ever run that drop again, and I don’t think I’m ready to, but I anxiously await the next kid stupid enough to think he is.

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WorldKayak.com

March 25th, 2008 by bozemankayaker


Its finally time!!!! Ben, Pat and I left Pavones after the chromic sickness we all suffer from of kayaks refusing to fit in the wanted mode of transportation disease. The back up taxi plan worked though the boats did rip his racks off half way to our destination. For the day we were headed to Heredia just north of San Jose, ultimatly and to our excitement we were FINALLY on our way to the Patria! A day later we find ourselves at the put in with just enough light left to get away from the obnoxiously loud road and set up camp. In our usual fashion Pat and I sleep in hammocks under the leaky tarp while Ben slept on a freshly laid fern bed on the trail. Early the next morning after a bitter cold night we are off and moving at first light. The hike is terribly hard to describe. Basically its hard. The first couple of hours on the river were full on rock bwoinking and gritted teeth pitoning intermingled with some nice little stuff. The character stayed pretty constant until we reached the mouth of the infamous gorge. We failed to find the portage trail and ended up climbing a cliff only to stumble upon our sought after trail only ten feet above the top out of our victorious accent. We reach the top of the ridge next to the gorge and realizes that its lengh must be quite short. We are still quite high but slowly we are able to begin to see the pool below us. It is a georgeous blue with the white foam of what has to be a waterfall on the right. As we descend further the noise of the creek is slowly changing into the distinct distant and muffled rumble of a large waterfall. We had known the waterfall was here, but I could not have been more excited even if I had unknowingly stumbled upon a similar waterfall in an equaly beautiful setting. Trying to navigate the near vertical jungle descent yet with eyes glued to the patchy view throught the trees we exploded onto the swath of rocks surrounding the pool below the drop. Pretty much, drops dont get much cleaner than this one. HOLEY MOLEY we were excited!! Alright, waterfall time comence. With nothing but excitment we hike back up to the boats while planning how to cordinate filming. Pat and I now have a 2:30, 2:35 scedualed take off time. Ben opted not to run the drop as #1. His shoulder had been giving him greif throughout the whole trip and #2. He figuered he had been lucky on this trip and wanted to make sure to go back home uninjured. We thought that was a wise choice. Especially later when 50% of the people who ran it that day got whumped. Our launch times were nearing and finaly Pat was in the water spashing his face and off he went. Five minutes later I was off and shot into the gorge. The first drop was a fun slide twisty thing that shot into a 7? foot wide gorge and booked it around the blind corner to the left. Once inside there was en eddy on the left inside a caldron before the second drops horizon line. I enjoyed my time in here trying to soak it all in. What a perfect place. A little bit of lip scouting and a boof into another left eddy brought me to the lip of the final drop. I reminded myself for the last time to tuck, and off the Pink Famingo and I went! little bit of pre drop navigation I get a glimpse of Ben and Pat right below and then tuck, a hit, that hole working sensation and then up with a HUGE smile plastered all over my face. I am anxious to here Pats tale, as there was no way for us to scout the inner gorge and I was curious to here what he thought. He did fine and the drop went well except he had an exceptionaly hard hit and messed up his shoulder a bit as well as implodng his skirt. We ate a nice lunch and then quickly took off as we were quite behind scedual, and had lots of water ahead of us. We quickly came to a very cool set of maybe four? drops above a river wide seive, which would require some onshore assistance in order to get out. I deamed it worthy to fire up and enjoyed a sweet boof along with other quality stuff. The seive portage required only a short distance of travel, maybe only fourty feet, but took the better part of an hour. Needless to say we camped on the left right after the seive. And in proper fashion you found two of us shivering in the air as the other was wet and tossing on the ground. The next morning the creek continued with its nice character for many hours. One of the more outstanding instances of the first two thirds of the day would have to be one of the more stange animals I have ever seen. Pat is scouting a drop when all of a sudden Ben goes ¨No way!¨ Over to the right is what I can only describe as a pigmy elephant. Anywyas it was weird. It decided to cross the right above a class IV. And by right above I mean less than a foot above the drop. I thought for sure it was going to get swept down that thing as it was in up to half its hight. The character only got better the further we went. Around 2, 3pm we realize we still have a long ways to go and really start to increase the speed. We still were running off hand signals, but at this point were more prone to just get it done. Many sweet drops, a speedy pace , and finally after dark we arrive at the take out bridge of the Sucio. Done!
We get into Heredia fricken late, and say goodbye to Ben as he leaves for the airport. Pat and I depart the next day for San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua to take a week of spanish language school. After the classes we took off for La Ceiba in northern Honduras. Our adventure here is about to begin and we couldnt be more excited.

Very quickly here is a tenative list we have created for ourselves:

Honduran Exploration
Canyaking in Belize
Guatemala Creekboating

Alright pictures of the Patria as soon as I find a computer that works!

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Mesa Falls

March 24th, 2008 by bozemankayaker

right-side-mesa.jpgFor those of you who don’t know Mesa Falls is a waterfall on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River near Island Park ID. Lower Mesa Falls is a magnificent display of power. It is hard to stand next to it and not awe in the beauty of the cascading waters. I personally revere it for its breath-taking riverscape. Lower Mesa Falls, like its name hints, is the product of the Snake River’s decent from a high mesa in central Idaho, in two spectacular displays of nature’s power. The Upper Falls is unrunnable, but worth a look, as it will get you pumped for what lies merely 3/4 of a mile downstream. The lower falls is a a two tiered drop on the left and a one shotter with a big bounce on the right. The falls crash down into an almost perfectly vertical canyon, with lush grass and towering butresses giving it the feel of Middle Earth rather than middle Idaho. In essence, Mesa is a huckers paradise.
Three weeks ago our crew of boaters made the 2 1/2 hour journey to Mesa Falls for Wes’s birthday celebration. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the water levels were perfect. The left side line, which consists of a 15 footer shortly followed by a 30 footer, was prime and just pleading with us to huck. The huck fest was started in fine form by Pat, who hopped in his boat for the first shot at the drop. After his flawless line the rest of the crew followed eagerly into the sweet bubbly bliss.
After many minutes of deliberation Bradford and I decided that the right side was perfect for dropping on this particular day. With safety set and hearts pounding Bradford and I scouted, rescouted, and scouted again. We went step by step through the strokes up to the drop, the boof, the tuck, and the impact. As go time came nearer I could see the determination in Bradford’s eyes…mixed with a healthy dosage of trepidation.
Bradford waited in the eddy above the drop veiled by an outcropping of bushes. I anxiously awaited his pealout on the shore just 30 feet away. I feared for my friend. I thought about the shear rock wall just 10 feet to the right of his drop zone. I pondered what would happen if he was off line by a mere 3-5 feet on his left and dropped into the deep seam that disappeared into a thundering abyss 65 feet below. What if he hit the boulder and went over vertical? What if he pitoned? Would he hit his line? Was he ready for this? Before I could think more on these questions I saw Bradford’s boat patiently waiting at the edge of the eddy 30 feet above the lip. A few more moments of contemplation, and Bradford pealed out of the eddy heading for the largest drop of his kayaking career. The lip approached, and Bradford was on line. He took one last late boof stroke and plummeted to the rock “bounce” 20 feet below.

He sprung from the rock with impressive force and fell the remaining 45 feet to the chunder below. Without even a seconds falter he was up and paddling away from the drop unscathed. Pat and Jake erupted in triumph from the safety rock below the falls. I could see the exhalation in his face from my perch. His smile beamed ear to ear, and I knew he had laced his line. I bellowed my response to his sick line down to him over the deafening roar. But for me it was not time for celebration. I was up next.
As I got into my boat I remembered how this drop had been my dream since I first laid eyes on it some 3 years ago. How it had kept me up at night thinking about the most significant boof I might potentially ever make. Three years ago I was not ready for the right side of Mesa, but sitting in that eddy starring over my shoulder at the largest horizon line I’d ever contemplated, I knew I was finally ready to give ‘er. As I pealed out of the eddy I felt as if the water were slowing down, as if I had a keener sense of things about me. I could hear the roar of the falls, but it somehow felt surreal. Each stroke felt like it was perfect, like the water was controlling the blades, not me. 15 feet from the lip I made contact with my one reference point, a small wave, and mentally smiled; I was on line. 10 feet, I watched the mist approach, and heard only the cacophonous waters. 5 feet, I took my last stroke on my right side and prepared for a left side boof hopefully placing me perfectly on the bounce rock sending me into a pencil in the pool below. As the lip rolled away from my boat I pulled on my left blade, grabbing the rock slightly, boofing the 65 foot waterfall. I had a moment of panic, as I thought I was oververtical, and would piton on the boulder 20 feet below, but instead I felt the watery recoil hit the hull of my boat and the then…darkness. An instant later I felt powerful impact that stunned me momentarily. I rolled up and was at the bottom of the falls. My face was pounding with pain, and my vision was blurry, but I could only feel satisfaction. For lack of a better word I was STOKED. Pat and Jake greeted me with cheering and high fives as I rolled into the eddy. As my adrenaline flowed out of me I began to smile, and then laugh. I had done it, I had dropped the “Right Side”. My dream of sailing off the right side was finally realized. It was an indescribable feeling, like none I have had before.
The reunion between Bradford and I back at the top of the left side was awesome. I could see the excitement in his eyes, and I felt it in my own as well. We had bothed nailed our lines, and celebrated together. As we spoke, Bradford told me “…this drop has changed how I am going to paddle. I feel like I can harness my fear now, channel it down into something I can use.”
Bradford’s words ring truer than ever. I now feel like we’ve made a leap forward in our paddling. No, hucking your meat doesn’t make you a good paddler, and if you are not ready it appears to mean quite the opposite. This drop represented our drive to push ourselves mentally and control our wits. I now look forward to the next challenge that lies ahead.
As we drove off that day I felt more satisfied than I had in a long time. I’m not going to run that drop again. I don’t think I’ll ever run that drop again, and I don’t think I’m ready to, but I anxiously await the next kid stupid enough to think he is.

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