Oct 25, 2014

Levator Stern Mount

stern mounts rock

Had the chance to check out the GoPro kayak stern mount made by Jackson Kayak called the Levator. To start, Levator is pretty lightweight and stows in the back of your kayak pretty easily for the paddle in or a sketchy drop. The hook which attaches to the bow or stern grab loops secures itself easily and quickly with the turn of a screw.

stylin' it out wile yer bud is watchin…  oh heck ya !!

Something to watch out for when you first use one is that the shaft and all hardware is tight and aligned so the mount doesn't spin around and ruin your shot. The Levator comes with a small screwdriver that can easily fit in a PFD pocket. Bring it along in case you need to retighten anything on the river.

out for a rip and yer bud gets in the way…  
stern mount catches all the action

Once you've spent a little time with the mount you'll start to figure out just what you can do with it and what else you can attach it to for sick GoPro action, not just kayaks! Here's a little video I made while paddling Tumwater Canyon this summer. A fun accessory that'll give new perspective to some of the best sections of river!!

a sweet angle while yer layin fat treats..  feck yea!!!

Oct 3, 2014

Kalama Falls


Kalama Falls wasn't on my radar until I'd heard about Chris Korbulic running it earlier this year. It looked like a great drop and I has just gotten back from a winter in the Mexican jungle! So many good waterfalls down there that I was fired up. Jah Bison had just run it, so it didn't take much to talk a few friends into grabbing their kits and making the drive south from Seattle.

It was so perfect looking from all the video I had seen, but… just like most of the waterfalls in the PNW.. it wasn't just falling off the lip. And it wasn't low either. The thing about waterfalls vs class V runs, you only come for the one drop, so there is plenty of time to look at it and think, wonder, and plan… and get a little nervous! When I get nervous I usually like to go first, but this time I really wanted to shoot photos too. 

Jah… scanning the scene

Jah went first and laid down a super sick line! Ellie went next and had a pretty good line only her skirt blew on impact. Luckily good safety had been set and we had a brief discussion beforehand about hazards… mainly the massive trees surrounding the pool at the bottom. Ellie and her kit made it out just fine.

I was next and was pretty nervous even though I knew I was gonna stomp the drop. It is an interesting place to be, standing above a waterfall. The emotions that run through my body… beaten back by the logical mind. Going through the steps and 'living' the descent before sliding into the water. It wasn't as straightforward as the drops I'd run in Mexico and it was cold! I'd come back from Mexico with a few fractured ribs and had passed on another waterfall in the Gorge earlier in the spring. That's the other thing about waterfallin'… whichever way it goes, good or bad, it goes that way in a hurry. I knew I had to be spot on the whole way down, even though I had an itchy trigger finger. 

My ribs felt great, but all these emotions kept creeping back in. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, so I focused, got in my boat and gave the signal I was going for it! As I launched I realized the entry was very shallow and I had to scramble to get to my spot in the middle. There was a wave-hole guarding the lip that would take some speed away if I punched it and some tricky current as I made my approach. Riding up on a curler next to the hole, I carried all my speed to the lip and as the water rolled off… everything went into slow motion.

the author at the lip
Jah Bison photo

As I rolled off the lip I could see I was on the left side of the veil and it was very easy to control my direction, pitch and wether I fell into the void to the left of the veil or stayed on the spine of this hulking beast and rode it down into the frothing pool below!! BOOM!!! Not a huge hit, set up to roll, switch sides quick and roll before going into the big tree at the bottom.

I was at the bottom and now it was Logan's turn.  He got ready to go, but wound up a little further left than I had been, landed a bit flatter and took a paddle to the face. A good line with an unfortunate ending. Luckily, Logan is a happy guy and chalked it up as a beatering that was over quickly!

luckily Logan is a cheeky chap
Fish decided to wait for another day and the rest of us were quite pleased with the day, even Logan. Logan knows, and you should too, these three simple rules to a blissful life:

        Chicks dig scars
        Pain is temporary
        Victory is forever

Thanks for coming to another spine tingling episode of Creek Sides theatre. Until next time…

"Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!" - Casey Kasem

Aug 16, 2014

Tumwater Canyon - blackened

For the last month and a half central Washington has been on fire, literally. Over 600,000 acres have burned already. And while the last few days have been filled with life giving rain and cooler temps, many thousands of acres on hilltops and mountain ridges deep in Cascadia continue to burn unchecked. One morning I watched personnel, heavy machinery, water trucks and so much equipment roll out of a base camp up the Icicle Creek, turn the corner, and go past the barricade on Hwy 2 up into the fire. For 3 hours this caravan didn't stop, traveling out of Icicle and back up Tumwater Canyon.

This is the worst fire season I can remember. Respect goes to all of the wildland firefighters, hot shots, heli-captains and everyone else working very long hours, 7 days a week up there!!! 

smoke jumpers in action

The rain started a couple days ago and we got a chance to hit Tumwater before the season came to an end. The road was reopened and what we found was the blackest river I've ever seen. Soot, ash and mud all washed into the river and even though the river level wasn't much higher the #sedimentload was nearly full.

When rivers flash, especially desert rivers that don't have plants to slow the rain as it lands and races down, they carry much sand, rocks and debris with them. This was a similar event, except is was soot and ash from the fires. And every wave and hole out there packed quite a punch!!

As always on the east side of the Cascades... #sunsoutgunsout   Check out this edit Tom Potter cranked out. Get over here and get some Tum before it's gone!!

Jul 19, 2014

One Hot Minute w/ Bridge Creek

Bridge Creek flows south from North Cascades National Park, eventually into the north end of Lake Chelan. An underexplored gem in the middle of nowhere!! Look for flows on the Stehekin to be above 2000 for a good trip. Get on this run soon, the water will be gone soon!!!

Feb 1, 2014

Mas Alseseca!

Rio Alseseca just keeps on givin' as long as you can hang on. There are so many runnable sections and massive waterfalls I can't even count them all. A world class river, no doubt. Here's a little edit from part of this year's exploration of this fine bit of whitewater. There are clips from Big Banana, Roadside, the Upper, Truchas 1, and Tomata 1. A big thanks to Jackson Kayak, Kokatat, Snapdragon Sprayskirts and WRSI for keeping me safe and dry.

I can't say enough good things about this river or the Mexican people. Everyone I met on this trip had a smile on there face and kindness in their heart. What more could you ask for? Aventurec is a great place to stay, too. It's a roll of the dice eating the street food, but sometimes you just gotta go for it. Here's to Veracruz and all of its great secrets, waiting to be discovered. Can't wait to come back!!

  * Thanks Jordan Poffenberger for a sick shot of me running Truchas!

Jan 22, 2014

Upper Jah

The Upper Jalacingo is just one sick stretch in the legendary Rio Alseseca drainage. Upper Jah starts out looking kinda pathetic, especially running stuff like Big Banana or Tomata. Quick enough though the Jalacingo cleans right up and paddlers will become stoked at the awesomeness held in the canyons below. Make no mistake, though, you'll want a guide on this stretch. There are so many places you just can't get out and many of the 5-7 portages on this run are must-make and not obvious from above. That said 3-4 hours on the water is average when you know where you're going. So many boofs, waterfalls and slides, paddlers are certain to leave Jalacingo's canyons with smiles plastered on their faces. Hard not to love Veracruz!

Here's a little edit I put together on the Upper Jah. Such a good run and there are a whole lot of drops and slides that just didn't make it in to this edit… I guess you'll just have to see this jewel of Mexico yourself. Til next time y'all…

Jan 21, 2014

Mexico part 1

Creek Sides went to Mexico this year and what we found was... some of the best whitewater on earth. Starting in the Valles area we found a nearly endless supply of waterfalls, from fun to massive... a few are even scary. Then we headed to the Veracruz and Alseseca. Rio Alseseca is one of those special places you rarely, if ever, come across. This is why creek siders come from all over to experience its magic. And the quality is certainly not out matched by the quantity. The Alseseca will take you as big as you've ever wanted to go. It is a truly special river, but not the only river in Veracruz. Sit back and enjoy the highlights of how our trip began.