Sunday, May 08, 2005

Selway Day 3: Wolf Creek to Selway Falls

Wolf Creek bathed in morning light.

See also:
Selway, Day 1
Selway, Day 2
Selway, Day 3

Sunday morning, our last on the Selway. I hate takeout days. The abrupt change from peaceful river corridor to freeway traffic is always jarring and unpleasant. On this morning though, thoughts of work, cars, email, and all the trip reports I should have posted but haven't yet written were far from my mind. The roar of Wolf Creek had been with us all night, and after watching the moose swim it, I couldn't wait to charge the big waves myself.

Photos from the third day are available in the gallery.

We had again made it out of camp by 9 am, and as I paddled across the calm pool above Wolf Creek on my way to set up for pictures, I couldn't help but be amazed at the beauty of the Selway in morning light. How lucky we are to have made this trip. Once established at the lip of the drop, I signaled the crew to launch.

Hans shows the way at Wolf Creek.

Bill squares up for Wolf Creek.

Chuck in Wolf Creek.

Scott cleans Wolf Creek.

Below Wolf Creek, we enjoyed great canyon scenery as we floated towards Tee-Kem Falls. Tee-Kem Falls is the final class IV drop on the Selway, and is a straightforward, wave-filled rapid best run off the right wall at this flow (3 feet). We pulled over briefly for this drop, primarily to get set up for photos.

Chuck stays off the wall in Tee-Kem Falls.

Scott runs the gnar, Tee-Kem Falls.

Bill in Tee-Kem Falls.

Hans drops into Tee-Kem Falls.

Below Tee-Kem Falls the Selway continues to slowly loose steam. There were a couple of great class II drops to be run, such as Renshaw, and these drops had some of the best waves of the trip. I think Scott said it best, after one great wave train: "I haven't had this much fun on class II in years!"

The author in Renshaw.

In the above wave, I didn't hit it quite hard enough, and got quite a ride. The wave refused to let me through, and surfed me backwards back down into the trough. I'd come out of my upstream thighstrap, but managed to keep it together and get out the right side of the trough. This photo was take while back surfing the wave.

Scott gets his shuttle beer ready while cooling off below Renshaw.

We arrived at the Selway Falls takeout around 11:15, and got packed in just under an hour. A quick bath in the river made us all reflect on the courage of all those who ran this river before the drysuit era. We would carry our memories of this wild river canyon, its pristine pools and vibrant wildlife fondly, looking always for our next chance to return.

On the road at last, we stopped for the obligatory scout of Selway Falls. Scott and I thought the upper section looked like something right out of Tumwater Canyon on the Wenatchee, but we both agreed we'd never seen anything quite like that hole at the bottom right.

Selway Falls.

Scott points out the sneak route, Selway Falls.

Scott, Chuck, and the author above the big hole in Selway Falls.

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