Saturday, March 11, 2006

Canyon Creek, Lewis Drainage

Mike Novak drops Big Kahuna,

Canyon Creek south is a great friendly creek run. This run always reminds me a little bit of the Truss, having a great variety of drops, although lacking the deep canyon and sheer quantity of drops on the Truss. Winter 2006 brought some new wood to Canyon Creek, and we didn't know what to expect when we reached Swizzle Sticks. But off we went, with the EF Lewis at 900. On this trip we had paddlers David Chatham, Mike Hoover, Eric Klein, Mitch McDougall, and Mike Novak.

After some splashy warmup, we pulled into the eddy above Swizzle Sticks -- sure enough, a new log spanned from the right bank to just off the left wall. The normal right side line was not available, but a narrow line on the left looked possible. Most of us chose to portage, which was the usual amount of fun. David opted to try this left line however.

Novak didn't like the portage along the bank, so he put the new wood to good use.

David runs left under the new limbo log in Swizzle Sticks.

We knew there was one other new log, lurking somewhere below Terminator. After quickly verifying the Terminator itself was clean, we ran through. I love Terminator, mostly because I've managed to not swim it -- yet. This drop has a fun entry move into a big hole, then a hard charge left to ride a pillow off the wall to avoid the meat of a pounding ledge hole. Everyone had clean runs.

Next up is Bitch Slap -- also called 50/50. All I remember of this drop from our previous trip was big holes and big braces. Today, it was a nice clean entry ledge with some easy runout. This is where the second log in the run is lodged. A small rootball is hung up mid-river on the left, with the tree itself sitting at water level at this flow, and blocking the exit of the drop. We ran the ledge moving right, and stayed right to fight our way over the log. Good lines, and no issues with this wood. Portaging would be a serious challenge however.

Mike Hoover runs the entry ledge on Bitch Slap.

Mitch makes the move right to deal with the wood.

River-level portage.

Thrasher Prelude was a very different rapid than at higher flows as well. We ran off the center flake.

Chatham and Novak in Thrasher Prelude.

Thrasher itself is always a very entertaining drop. I utterly failed on my attempt last time. I was determined to find redemption, but based on how lines were going, I wasn't very optimistic.

Chatham and Klein make their lines on Thrasher.

The author, however, does not. Way to hold that brace, buddy!

The drop below Thrahser is actually one of my favorites. It's got a good technical lead in, a unique ledge, then some boogie to the bottom sticky ledge hole. Lots of folks like to run this right, but there was wood blocking that route. Several lines were run, I was happy with my far left line, and everyone styled the drop.

The entr'acte now out of the way, it was time to enter the Drop Zone! Big Kahuna is about the friendliest waterfall I know -- and there's something fun about hitting an eddy turn then a boof stroke and dropping 17 feet into a huge cauldron. Good times!

Mike Hoover styles Kahuna.

Eric Klein over Kahuna.

After some fun boogie boulder gardens, we arrived at Champagne and Hammering Spot. I ran first, to get set up for pictures. I was happy with my line over Champagne, which is a pretty forgiving ledge. Hammering Spot was trickier at this lower flow, with much of the water on the right line falling off to the left in to The Spot. I landed it though, and was promptly typewritered into the left wall. But still in my boat, at least.

Eric Klein fighting to stay high and right at Hammering Spot.

Unfortunately, my camera's memory card crashed on me working on this trip report. I lost all of the shots of the fantastic runs and interesting lines folks had over these drops. Guess we'll just have to go back again!

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