Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Break 2013 - Hood Classics

This spring break, Natalie had to do some research setup in the Northwest Territories (that's a state in Canada) and couldn't come paddle, so Spencer Mauk, Josh Oberleas and I loaded up and headed out to the Pacific Northwest (that's those states in the US). I had a great time showing the boys down some of my favorite runs around the Hood river area. I'm putting together a video of the trip, but for now enjoy some of the photos we took.

Spencer creepin on my long exposures
We started out by driving through the night and sleeping for about 3 hours in the car in order to make it to the Wind River race. None of us had ever done the Wind, but we knew it was a pretty mellow run. I still had to lobby pretty hard to get Spencer and Josh to register for the race. In the end, I think it was the fact that entry fees covered beer at the takeout that really tipped the scales.

The race was a ton of fun, and about the difficulty I had imagined. It was a mass start, so that we all knew about how we were doing relative to the pack. Josh and I kept trading back and forth during the race, with him yelling to me about how stoked he was to be back on the water, and me trying not to puke from the exertion. In the end, Josh took fifth and I took sixth. My good friend Dan Rubado (Portland local) was just barely in sight in first place. Spencer managed to not swim, but said that he was like second to last. Overall it was a great time.

Josh stoked on a playboating river run.
From there, I was determined to go playboating, so we headed out to the coast and did a little surfing. I'll spare you the details. After playboating, we started hitting the really classic Hood runs, the Green Truss on the White Salmon and the Little White Salmon. We managed to time it so that Josh's first LW run was on his birthday. There was a huge crew on the water that day, because it was also Kyle Hull's birthday. I led Josh and Spencer through wishbone without telling them what drop it was, just the line. They were amused... by the time we made it to takeout. That night we had a delicious birthday dinner with Josh and some of his family over at Full Sail brewery in Hood river proper. It was probably the high point of the trip.
Typical scene in the BDP mansion

Throughout our time in the Hood, we stayed at the BDP mansion. If you spend much time on mountainbuzz.com, you may already know of BDP, since apparently they're a bunch of misogynistic drunks intent on destroying the sport of kayaking and probably doing something unspeakable to your daughter in the process. We had a great time hanging out with them. They were incredibly welcoming, inviting us, practical strangers, to stay in their living room for almost a week. I won't lie, there was a fair amount of drinking and partying, but they were fun people to be around, and I definitely appreciated their careful beta and safety when they led us down the Little White. This whole break just reaffirmed my dislike of rafters and rafter culture.
Chillin.


Josh on Celestial
Toward the end of the trip, we started running more waterfalls. We made the surprisingly short pilgrimage down to Celestial falls, which is probably the easiest park n' huck in the Northwest. Celestial was my second waterfall that I ever ran, back around 2000 or so, and I hadn't been back there in at least 10 years. It was fun to go back. The waterfall didn't seem much shorter, but the little climb down to the water seemed way way easier. Strange which things change. I watched Jakub Nemec throw a really sick hail mary off the waterfall, implode his skirt, and swim into the ledge hole just downstream. It was one of the most savage beatings I have ever seen, but fortunately he was okay and most of the gear was recovered. I caught Norovirus (again), or at least something made me sick, and I had to miss a day of paddling. Spencer and Josh went up and hucked punchbowl falls on Eagle creek while I recovered.
Jakub's Hail Mary Recovering after the beatdown

Spencer on Punchbowl.  Photo by Wes Schrek.

For our very last day, we joined up with Dan Rubado and had a relaxed run down canyon creek at low water, taking our time and getting lots of photos. It was a good reminder. I had hoped to run more new runs during this trip, but even running stuff I had done before was a ton of fun, especially since it was all new to Josh and Spencer. Next trip maybe I'll explore some newer runs and bigger waterfalls. Even the standard runs are worth enjoying, though.
Everyone's doing back freewheels these days.  I switched it up and went forward.  Photo by Dan Rubado.
I think Dan was doing "Blue Steel" here.
Spencer getting splashed in the face

I'm working on a video of the trip, but here is a slideshow of my favorite photos that we got:



Some of the photos in this post were taken by Spencer Mauk. In order to publish those photos on this blog, Spencer requires us to include the following sentence: Spencer exemplifies all the traits I hope for in my first born child.

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