Saturday, November 10, 2012

Kayaking the Upper Clackamas

This weekend Chris Holm convinced me to kayak the upper Clackamas again with him and some other friends from Corvallis.  Emily was on the East Coast visiting her parents on the way back from work in Atlanta and I had nothing else to do, the weather looked good, and he could pick up a rental IK for me so I said ok to the idea.  By the end of the week the weather had turned very cold and on Friday there was frost on my truck when I got back from work.... it was going to be cold.

After a night of partying in Portland Holm gave me a call at 7:45, about an hour earlier than I expected his call.  I rushed to get my stuff together, grabbed a bowl of cereal and a coffee from Freddy’s and headed south towards Clackamas where I met him, Jack Zunka, and Kevin, Cristina’s newest boyfriend.  We then headed east up the river towards the Three Lynx area where we would put in at the same place as the last time Holm and his brother and I did it earlier this summer.  We would also take out at the same place that we learned was called “Bob’s hole” but we had to wait until June, her boyfriend Allan and her dad showed up so we could shuttle vehicles.  Waiting in the cold for a possible ride hitch hiking wet after kayaking was certainly out of the question.  

We had to wait about 45 minutes for June to show up before we quickly left a car, and made our way to the put in under partly clearing skies.  Chris had brought his 4/3 wetsuit for me and I had gloves and booties but was still worried about being cold.  Kevin had a wetsuit too but unfortunately didn’t have booties and was forced to wear cotton socks and old skate shoes.  Holm also had forgotten his gloves but he and the rest were in dry suits with warm dry clothes underneath so I didn’t feel too bad for him.  

Once on the river all was fine and I was pretty warm until I realized that I really had to pee.  I felt bad in Holm’s wetsuit so I decided to jump in the river to my waist.  Well, this turned out to be a blessing for my bladder but a curse for my core temp as I was then soaked and found myself shivering for pretty much the rest of the trip.  The water was a little bit higher than earlier this summer which made the rapids a bit more fun.  Neither Kevin nor I in the IKs flipped thankfully but we were still pretty cold.  All the hardshell boats flipped at least once and I was impressed by June’s Dad, he was clearly an experienced kayaker (he wasn’t “nervous”...).

It only took us a few hours to do the full 14 miles of river as we paddled a lot to keep warm.  I was just warming up from adrenaline after some fun class IV rapids when we reached the takeout.  I quickly dragged my IK on shore and stripped down to put on my down pants and top I had stashed in a dry bag Holm had lent me for the trip.  The others shuttled the cars and it wasn’t too long until we were all back in Kevin’s car and headed for burgers and beers.

We ended up stopping at the Carver Hanger in Clackamas where we ate in the saloon littered with peanut shells all over the floor.  I had a yummy Black Butte Porter and a really good French Dip Sandwich with tots.  It was a great day on the river with Holm and I enjoyed hanging out with Jack again who I hadn’t seen in a couple years I think.  Kevin was a riot and it was good to reintroduce myself to June and her boyfriend Allan who I hadn’t met yet.  Chris and the others were off to Jack’s girlfriends place in Portland again for another night of music and drinking but I headed home to a cozy fire and more work on wedding planning underneath a thick blanket!

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