Despite
a thunderstorm and heavy rains the day before, the water level, at
0.8, was not as high as I had expected. The water, however, was very
muddy, leading me to believe that the level was at least a couple of
inches higher the night before. Our group consisted of nineteen
paddlers: four open canoes, two C-1’s, and thirteen kayaks. Due to
the large size of the group, I decided to split it roughly in half.
Brannen Proctor was kind enough to lead the first half downstream.

My
group had excellent runs of Edge of the World, with no flips, swims
or mishaps. Brannen said his group had a couple of minor swims,
which at this bony level, is easy to do at the Edge. On down to Off
the Wall, things went well, then at the last drop before Split Rock,
the river got to eat lunch before we did.

This
drop is a concave three foot pour-over with a nasty hole and
converging currents at the bottom. We would try to side surf it,
then pivot our sterns into the hole for a back ender. On my second
time in I flipped my kayak, swung back under the pour-over for an
inverted side surf, offside bottom brace-rolled up under the
pour-over, and window-shaded back under for more of the same. Then I
reached for my grab loop, but decided to hold on for a few more
seconds in hopes that I would flush out soon. I did, and rolled up
with a couple of bloody knuckles. This no-name rapid can give quite
a thrashing.

The
hole then took a second helping, and dessert, as it chewed on two
more kayaks after me. Lunch at Split Rock followed, then plenty of
playing in the bottom of the middle and left runs. We were desperate
for enders this day, but they were few and far between at this level.
We played for a while at Rooster Tail, and at the last real rapid
(Does this one have a name? It sure is a good play spot.).

The
day was getting late, and we pushed the throttles up to cruising
speed to cross the long stretch of flat water. As we passed the four
wheel drive take-out, I regretted not being able to use it (I was
afraid of getting several vehicles and nineteen boats stuck on that
treacherous goat trail). To top off the day, I was able to bring
home a souvenir. One of the old “NO TRESPASSING-GOV’T
PROPERTY-DANGER-RADIATION” signs had fallen down to the water’s
edge. It was in remarkably good condition for its age, and I claimed
salvage rights to it.

We
had a great time, with good weather and a not-too-scrapy water level
on an outstanding river. Thank you!!

by
John Roberts
February 22, 1997.