Tuesday, December 11, 2007

THE Canyon Creek!

Here in Pac NW (as in many places I am sure), we are blessed with numerous Canyon Creeks. There's the Canyon Creek of the Stillaguamish, often over shadowed by its close neighbor, Robe Canyon. There is Canyon Creek of the S. Santiam Drainage.. but most importantly there is THE Canyon Creek in the EF Lewis Drainage. I say THE Canyon Creek because all other pale in comparison! I know the Corvallis Boys love their Cayon Creek on the Santiam but even they have to admit there is nothing like bouncing down a lap on CCWA.

What makes Canyon Cr so special you ask? Its not the hardest, its not the steepest, it doesn't have any big waterfalls.... but what it does have is a little bit of everything! Its got a waterfall, its got a technical boulder garden, its got some stompy ledges and its got a steep section with a couple quality boofs back to back that are pretty hard to beat. It even has a little mank for those of you who need to be punished!

Last Sunday, Casey, Chris K, Amy C. and I were joined by Dusty (a recent transplant) for a couple laps down THE Canyon Cr on a cold December day.

The creek starts out unassumingly under a bridge down a forest road near Amboy, Washington. The time honored UNIT is the downstream river left bridge pylon. With the water just at the bottom concrete pad its 'even with the unit'. Time was we looked at the EF Lewis Gauge but recently a Canyon Creek Gauge came on line. I haven't figured out the correlation yet but within a couple inches on either side of the 'unit' you are sure to find some goodness. Though its been run at least to -12" and much much higher

The run starts out with about a mile of class II before you come to the first drop called Swizzle Sticks. Its a crooked boof, followed by a constricted ledge hole followed by a 200yd long swirly gorge.

Next comes S-turn, a really fun drop starting with three lines between boulders, making a tight turn to the left and ending in a thrashy, steep diagonal hole usually run on the left. Macho boaters eddy out on the right in the short moving pool between the entrance and the left turn.

Now depending on who you ask, the hole at the bottom of S-turn OR the next constriction is called Terminator. Regardless of what you call it the hole has S-turn has seen its share of swim and you would do well to avoid it, especially at higher flows.

Prelude to Thrasher and Thrasher are downstream aways and they are both broken ledges with stompy holes. I have personally swum out of each and I recommend picking your own lines!

After the Thrashers is the Boulder Garden. Another variably named drop, but most people know what you mean. It can be fairly challenging to scout but it starts out class 2-3, builds into a couple sizable ledges and ends with a bang at a pretty mean hole. Its been run all sorts of ways, but being far left at the bottom is probably the most popular.

Swimming here is a bad idea as Kahuna is the next drop. Kahuna is the largest single drop by far. Keep your eyes on the right side for the last chance scouting eddy! This one is super fun and since the portage basically amounts to a throw and go, you might as well run it.

The Drop Zone starts with Kahuna, goes through the aforementioned mank an over Champagne and Hammering Spot: back to back 8 foot (or so) boofs that just can't be beat.

The only drop left is called Toby's. The site of a drowning a few years go. Usually I go for the sneaky slide about 15 ft off the left but at the right flows, there is a flying boof down the right side. I don't recommend going for the gut of this one.

Well this concludes whitewater but you still have a mile or so paddle out on Lake Merwin. Just make sure you turn left and paddle till you find the take out bridge.

This is the point where you wonder what happened to everybody, but without carnage it gets pretty boring to keep telling you that we all had good lines so I though I'd wait till the end.
We all had good lines. Good enough for everyone but me to man up and hit a second lap. Instead I just sat around the takeout and played with the photos.

Jason Rackley also has an extensive write up on this one here.
Its a popular run for us and its worth a stop if you are in the area in the paddling season! Hope to see you up there soon!

Parting Shot:


Friday, December 7, 2007

Three Days in the Valley

The McKenzie Valley

When it rains really hard, the McKenzie River in Oregon has some of the Northwest's best play boating and accordingly, boaters from the area come out of the woodwork. Some people came with me for another play clinic, others just showed up on their own but the people I ran into while boating on the Mack are to many to name here so look at some photos!

Kim Russel at highwater Clover

Capo mid Donkey Flip at Clover


Julie G surfing low water clover for the first time

Aaron Goodwin mid Backstab at High Clover

Todd Baker getting some air at Clover