North Fork of the Payette
The North Fork is another classic I have always wanted to do, and finally I was able to get on this noble run.
I couldn’t wait to get to paddle the Zen on this big water run. I knew it was going to be the perfect boat with great speed and no extra volume to get thrown around. We put on by 7AM in the morning, and were lucky enough to be lead down by Alec Vorrhees. Alec is only 15, but knows the run as good as anyone, with more than 200 runs under his belt, and has been running the North Fork since he was 10.
The run is a lot longer than I thought it was, 18 miles of big water continuous class 4-5. Alec knew the run like the back of his hand and lead us safely through the maze of huge waves and holes. Though I still managed to find myself unexpectedly surfing a little bit. The biggest rapid is definitely Jacob’s Ladder, with several huge holes and curlers. I was amazed that I kept my head and bow dry through the ‘rockdrop’, a steep slide into a crashing hole. The Zen flew through with ease.
When we got to the ‘bottom five’ we met up with Emily, Erin and Alex’s dad to run down the easier last 5 miles. We finished all 18 miles before noon. I was blown away with the quality of the whitewater and the sheer mind-blowing non-stop big water.