Sunday, October 15, 2006

North Santiam River

Yesterday I kayaked down a section of the North Santiam River just east of Mill City, OR with my North_santiam_101406_005
fellow new COAS grad students.  It was Robyn, Esther, Anna, Eleanor, Bart, myself and Greg who organized the event.  We had rented inflatable kayaks from the Outdoor Rec Center at OSU for the day and took his party van, and my truck to shuttle us between the launch and the pick-up.  We put in at Packsaddle park and ended up at Fisherman's Bend County Park about 6 miles down river.  It was aNorth_santiam_101406_016
really fun trip with a few close calls.  At one point a friend fell out of her boat and I was able to hold on to her and safely get the two of us to the shore to get back in our boats.  Another time, while helping some friends steer their kayak through a rapid, I got sucked into a pretty big hole and was instantly catapulted out of my boat straight into the air, back flipping back into the rapid.  I sort of felt a little tug back towards the hole when I was underwater but gave  few good kicks and re-emerged at the surface for a gulp of air before going over another small hole underwater again.  I've been caught in white water before like this in Australia so I knew it wasn't a big deal and it would spit me out.  I held onto my paddle the whole time and when I was free of the rapids easily swam to my boat, flipped it upright again and jumped in.  It was exactly the dangerous thrill I've been looking for a North_santiam_101406_007
while for!  Got my adrenaline pumping again.  Apparently it looked pretty cool to see the bottom of my boat completely vertical in the air from downstream.  ha ha.  We pulled our boats out about half way through our trip for some lunch.  I had on a cotton t-shirt and board shorts while everyone else seemed to be covered in layers, sailing jump suits, polypro, or wetsuits.   So I was a little cold to say the least.... Lunch was fun and relaxing and gave those of us that were a little unnerved by the dangers of the river a much appreciated reprieve.  We got back in our boats and soon caught up with a local ex-river guide named Rick who was super nice to us and helped us safely down the river.  He was able to tell us what lay ahead and which angle to take down the river to avoid the bigger rapids.  We owe him big for giving up his afternoon to guide us.  We eventually got to a site where the inexperienced among us could go ashore and rest while Anna, Eleanor, Greg, and I followed Rick down the last section of the river to where my truck was parked.  We had to go over a 3-4 foot waterfall and then negotiate some smaller rapids afterwards to get back to my truck.  It was great and we were able to play a bit before reaching the truck.  I drove Rick down to his truck about 6 miles away so that his wife wouldn't worry about him taking so long (helping us).  I also got his email and number so that we might contact him to take us in the future.  From the time we left the main group to the time we got to my truck I was still shirtless, in water that is fed directly from the Cascades so I was pretty damn cold and shivering at times.  I'm sure I was sporting a little THO action... ha!  We got everything loaded in my truck and I drove everyone (Eleanor and Anna riding inNorth_santiam_101406_029
the bed on top of the gear) back up to Greg's party van (I will always refer to it as that... I mean come on... It's got a stove and a fridge!).  We all stopped at DQ on the way back (this has become a tradition after trips).  I can't speak for everyone, but I myself had a terrific time and can't wait to kayak again!  Hoo-ra.

No comments: