Sep 15, 2010

NF Payette

I'm coming back from the Payette right now. We are cruising in the space ship. It's still gonna take 10 hours with holiday traffic, but I'm stoked!!! Riding in the back of the space ship, plinking away on these keys, thinking about the insane whitewater I just ran. I feel like I got away with something. And it's gooood.

                         Ben H firin' it up!!

               Mckibbin likes to keep it "playboat".

                                           Love this one.

It was just too easy. The run wasn't easy, but all of the elements of this trip came together. Magic happened. (tear) I talked to Horner the week before and he was bummed. He and Leif were trying to make it out to the Payette, but it's a 10 hour drive. Chris, Gordon and I were beamed aboard Fri morning, along with Horner and were whisked eastward to warmer temps, beautiful amazing clouds, and classic classic scenery. Idaho is a wonderful place.

                      Payette'll get cha!!

       Ben H, Metal Dave, and Super Joe

I'm a little speechless to be perfectly honest. Go see the Payette. Make it a Disneyland ride and go with someone who knows it. Sat morning we met up with Jeff and a group of Colorado boys, totalling 14. I hadn't looked at much about the North Fork. I knew tons of boaters ran it every year and was a pilgrimage for many. I figured I wouldn't ever run it. Funny how things change. I had a new helmet cam to fiddle with, too. (GRIN) We peel out and it's funny boogie water with holes lining the way. Somehow, I got the first hole ride of the run, not quite two minutes in. Dang it! That hole really wanted me to stay. Flat spins, to contorted rodeo rolls, to cartwheels... out. I WAS third or second, I think. Now I'm 14th. Funny stuff.

                                     Yours truly.

Totten and Greg Moore gear up. Greg's been running the NF 30 years.

                      Totten sleeping is endless comedy.

                                       Don't ask why.

                               Aboard the mother ship.

Disneyland!!! This is one of the most fun freight train rides you will probably ever have. Disneyland is really steep and really long and once you enter the main flow, you might see eddies... but you ain't catchin' um. I swear I was doing 30 mph. Entering Disneyland, we cruise up and over big haystack waves that steer  into huge pouover holes. As I get to the top of each wave I can see further down the gut. It just keeps going. Big rollers that hurdle downstream and every which way. The water felt bigger and more insane than anything I had ever seen. Stuff was goin' off everywhere. I had a hard time keeping the water out of my face. Paddlin' my ass off. It was awesome!!! Jeff, Chris, Kyle, me, the Colorado crew and some Idaho boys. 14 of us out here. Big groups, for me, make it a little more fun and more exciting sometimes. Makes it feel more like an amusement park. Next up was S-turn. Giant waves. Big holes to miss, this is just too good!!

Slide, Bad Jose, Chaos, Bouncer Down the Middle, Pectoralis Major, it's all here. Makes me want to move to Boise! Another convenient aspect of the North Fork is the dam at the top, ensuring consistent releases through each weekend during summer. It's my first time here. This place rocks!! I'm definitely coming back. Somewhere along the way, after some easier rapids is Jacob's Ladder. Everyone calls it Jake's. Jake's is stout. And leads right into a long class V called Golf Course. Know what whitewater and golf have in common? Holes. Guess how many Golf Course has.. I watched a lot of people run Jake's. I saw one guy have a terrible swim after missing many rolls, including going over Taffy Puller upside down. Taffy Puller is a large pourover that takes up a large majority of the main channel. I didn't see him the rest of the weekend. I watched others make it. No one sat idley by, floating through that rapid. Gordon made the line look best. You might want to look at it, first. Golf Course is a freakin' hoot!! We ran left, boofing our way down, right next to monster ledge hole after huge reactionary breaking back to the middle. Did I say how crazy this run is?!?! I'm in love. I want to stay longer than a few days. One guy I talked to, Anthony, had taken the next month off just to paddle and chase water. The Payette is one of those rivers that hosts a wide variety of people and crafts. Labor Day weekend, especially. Put in's and take outs everywhere. You just have to come out here. Words cannot describe. Maybe some helmet cam might. Maybe.

                          It just doesn't stop!!

Jeff's description of the rapids is always great. Sometimes they leave me a little tense. Concise and to the point, sometimes I just have to gulp, shove it deep down inside, and paddle. He was telling us the line at Jaws 1. The crux was punching a huge hole through a weak spot, coming over the top out of another hole just above. Some of Jeff's last words were not to get caught in the right or left sides because "you will get a BIG BEATDOWN." Actually, he followed it up with, "rarely do people make it out of that hole in their boat. Most swim and it's a horrible swim." (gulp) Okay, ready?

Everything went well, we all made it through the Jaws trilogy, Screaming Left, man I can't even remember all of them. Top shelf, all the way.

Secretly, I've always wanted to paddle water like this. I've been scared of the nature of a river like the NF Payette. Incredibly fast, steep and non-stop for a long time. Huge pourover holes that are really sticky, can't forget about all of the shallow rocks along the way. It just doesn't stop. It's such a great run.


                          ...and rollin', duh.

                               One of the CO boys

                                          not quite

                                        getting there...

                                       Super Joe

I've read things here and there, saw the high water footage this year. Saw a few other clips, but never really looked it up. Too bad I didn't know what I was missing. And really, I don't think there is a good way to showcase the twisting sidewinder rapids, other than a helmet cam.

                                          Jessie James

                   Jeff tries hitching our shuttle for a while.

                           Totten figures 2 is better. Wuh sup.

                                        Oh well.


                         See the old woman and the old man?

                                     Rollin' out.

                        uh, you got somethin' on yer face there.

For those of you who care, we stayed up really late and did a Top Ten list, but we won't lose any sleep if you hit the SKIP button. Here goes:

       Top Ten Reasons to Paddle the North Fork Payette

1. the madness exploding all around you!!!
2. Disneyland
3. cuz yer a pussy girlie-man if you don't
4. 15 miles of big water, roadside class V
5. warm water and warmer temps
6. it's THAT BIG and it goes THAT GOOD
7. three day weekend!!
8. people come from all over to paddle this one
9. only place a traffic jam can turn into a party
10. free t-shirt with camping

     I don't know why I love these stupid pics of Totten snoozing

                               ... but I do. Til next time, kiddies.

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