OK, I really don't get excited about class IV very often, but this last weekend we had a chance to run the lower T with a couple of good friends, one of which (Molly) has only been in a boat a handful of times. In order to make the journey a bit easier, we decided to put Molly in a Topo Duo - a two person kayak. Being unaware of the dangers she was about to face, Molly happily agreed...
Molly and her fearless captain To make the lower seem a little less gripping, we ran Cherry Creek with Corby - a great day for sure; highlighted by stellar lines, a few jive backenders, and successful runs for everyone down Lumsden.
Rebecca on the big one Corbs Jives it
Once down to Merrel's pool, we were able to relax, drink tequila and mentally prepare for the next day's trip. Before we got too far though, we had to test out the new craft
Warming up for the run sans water The first Roll
With tequila induced confidence, we headed to camp fairly certain that we could survive the 18 miles of class III-IV that we had to face the next day. With the morning upon us (and a slight hangover) the intrepid paddlers put on the river and waited for the dreaded "bubble". Of we went with our boat scouts leading the way - Rebecca, Corby, Brett, Dave, Mike and Andrew. So here is the funny part, this was actually my first time on the lower AND my first time in a Topo Duo, so while Molly trusted that she was in capable hands, I had no idea how or if we were going to make it down. The run progressed much as a first decent would, with boaters signaling back to me how to run each rapid; in addition, I could not see past Molly very well, making the read and run option very difficult. Add all that to the fact that getting one of my best friend's fiance thumped and scared away from whitewater was not an option - it made the day much more stressful than boating down Cherry Creek.
Me an Molly in the Gnar
After a couple of rapids, we (meaning I) got comfortable enough to surf. The wave was perfect - nice and fast with enough of a trough to completely douse Molly every now and then when we pearled.
The epic surf spot
The good news was that the 18 miles passed fairly quickly with the Topo setting the pace in the flatwater. I do think Molly might have been a little sore for the next coupld of days since she insisted (and I relented) on paddling the entire time. Of course I would stick a rudder stroke in every now and then to keep us on line...
All in all, a fun and exhausting day on the river.