Im November 2013 war es endlich soweit. Die Schwarze Sulm im Weststeirischen Hügelland hat den richtigen Pegel und ich habe Zeit. Also auf in die Wildniss, bevor vielleicht auch dieses Kleinod an der steirisch-kärntnerischen Grenze der Zerstörungswut einiger geldgieriger Flußverbauer zum Opfer fällt... Fragt sich nur, wer an der Verbauung solcher Kleinflüsse wirklich etwas verdient?!
|Reiner catching some air on Big Brother, Pic.: Daniel Egger|
Since we still felt a little fatigue from our trip into the Upper Cherry and our time window until our flight back was pretty narrow, we weren`t very sure about the Middle Kings at all.
So after rolling the dice we decided to drive up north and look for some fun in the Columbia River Gorge.
On our way up we stopped at the Trinity River and ran a stretch called the Burnt Ranch, which is a summer California classic since flows are always in. After that we filled up gas (again) and drove the night to wake up ready for two North Western classics, White Salmon and Little White Salmon.
First we ran Farmlands on the White Salmon which is a beautiful class 4 gorge and gives you a little insight what the lower stretch will be about. Cold, clear, fast flowing water in an basalt gorge featuring drops, caves and trees.
|Daniel on Big Brother, Pic.: Reiner Glanz|
Always be aware of fallen trees that mark the most dangerous features of the river!
On Big Brother, the biggest drop of this stretch, Daniel and Reiner went into the cave on river right, but at lower levels you can easily paddle out and leave the darkness without too much excitement.
After taking out at the wrong place (about one mile too early at some wooden stairs rafters use for putting in) we watched the last NBA final accompanied with some beers in the beautiful town of Hood River and the next day we were of into one of the highlights of the trip, the Little White Salmon.
|Matthi starting into the Little White Salmon|
Without anybody knowing the river the first mile can be an exciting boat-scouting fest, but at our levels it turned out pretty manageable.
So after running most of the drops before Spirit Falls we finally arrived at one of the most famous places of the kayaking world.
Spirit Falls is a 10 meter drop, featuring an autoboof, a pretty hard landing if boofed too hard, a big cave behind the falls and a nasty drop bellow called Chaos. Chaos has two lines, the right one being the main channel and having a circulating hydraulic that has no escape for somebody swimming in there alone. So after Spirit you want to make sure to either have a great boof in the right channel or to make it into the left channel and run of the easy slide.
So Matthi went first, had a great line and chilled through into the eddy below.
|Daniel boofing the "shit" out of Spirit Falls, Pic.: Reiner Glanz|
Then myself flat-landed Spirit too, felt my back a little but luckily didn`t hurt myself too bad.
|Reiner of Spirit Falls, Pic.: Daniel Egger|
Can`t wait for the next time to go paddling and I think the Pacific Northwest would be a great choice to do so...
So big thanks to Daniel Brasuell of awetstate.com and Diane Gaydos for their hospitality! Can`t wait for you guys to come to Europe to do some creeking together... Darin and Rok for the Beta... Liquid Logic, Hans Mayer of Stohlquist and Piero of Alpin Action for the support... and the Vboyz Crew Daniel Egger, Matthias Zeiner and Robert Machachek for the nice trip!
See ya soon, GBP