Monday, April 23, 2007

The Real McKoy

McKoy Creek is just a few hours outside of Porland. Rob and i left hood river at the break of dawn after stopping by for a few bagels and a cup of joe. Departing from Hood River, we wouldn't have known when the sun rose due to the seasonal showers. Rob hydroplaned all the way to Portland where i locked my keys in my car in order to give him time to grab a new pair of snoes for his Civic. Around the time that the AAA man arrived we recieved workd that our first choice had flooded causing us to call an audible. So, we chose McKoy Creek. No one had ever been here, but it sounded like fun. And so, the adventure begins.....

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

learing how to farm in the desert...

Bend, OR lies just east of the Cascade Range and too the west of the Great Sandy Desert. In the summer the snow from the nearby Three Sisters range melts away filling the rivers and providing a vital component of the seasonal transition. This water is a critical resource, which has been claimed as private property.

Though we all benifit from the redirection of this resource. It brings up many questions in regard to the act of farming in the dessert and water rights in general.... is this a method in which we can continue to use for future generations? and if so, what will be the externalities of our actions? whom is responsible? and, are there better methods that wouldn't place so much pressure upon valuable resources? i am curious to know what you, the reader, has to say about this issue? This week, in Bend, OR, they began to divert the lower Deschutes River for irrigation. This is one of the better local runs in Bend, and as of this week it will be turned off.

The Six Hour Bar Fight.....

It all starts with a phone call... the metaphorical worm, that upon first inspection appears to be free of any sharp metal objects. and like most baited lines, it is often not until you swallow that you realize your last bite probably wasn't the best idea...
so, I hung up the phone still tasting the worm i had just swallowed. Rob and i, along with two other friends had decided to do a little bit of exploring. Flowing into the Cougar Lake Reservoir, between Bend and Eugene, is a creek that i am still not sure of the name. Rob had explained that he knew of some people whom had paddled the bottom few miles of this creek a few years ago, but the top section had still not been explored. Rob had hiked a section from the bottom the previous year and felt that what he had seen validated a closer look. So we set off hiking through the snow excited about our exploratory mission.

When we reached the creek we were excited to see that there was plenty of water, but there appeared to be a fair amount of visible wood laying across the creek. For those whom have not spent much time in the Northwest, the trees get really big. Subsequently, these big trees can pose as a great obstacle when trying to navigate a river. And almost as soon as we put on the creek we were faced with catching small "last chance" eddies in order to avoid the piles of old growth trees which lay strewn across the river. Ducking under trees in the middle of rapids became a standard move very quickly. we were committed to moving downstream in whatever fashion necessary, assuming that eventually we would get past the log jams. I felt as if could almost hear that first bottle break, as the sound of stools scattering filled the vast river valley. The first punches were thrown, and the bartender did nothing. He just let us duke it out with this endless pile of long jams for the next six hours. At certain points we would walk over log jams for a hundred yards, with the river moving swiftly beneath us. After six hours of going toe to toe with these old timers, we finally made it to the lake. It was completely dark by the time be left the parking lot. And though the creek had some great sections, i will probably not walk into that bar again. So, the moral of the story is: if you are going to go toe to toe with some ole boys for six hours, pack a lunch.

photos:(Above)setting safety as rob heads into the bar.(below T-B). Suiting up for the mission, the cast: Rob, Simon, and Andrew. Rob and Simon heading to the river. Rob Bart...contender #1 for the Oregon wilderness limbo. Simon, about to punch the bartender right between the eyes. class five log jam..don't look down. Rob, catching an eddy in one of the cleaner sections. Simon enjoying happy hour. dropping into the cougar lake reservoir. happy to leave the bar intact.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Northwest Update

Spring is upon us....Last week i had the opportunity to spend a few days in Hood River, OR. The main priority of this trip was the acquisition of suitable housing. looking for a new hook to hang your hat on can be a timely process. and results in a lot of good ole fashion phone tag. Luckily, some of the gorges ambassadors knew some great places to spend the day waiting....

DAY 1....The east fork of the hood flows directly from the glaciers on Mt. Hood. The warm spring weather created great water levels and made for a beautiful day. the sun was out, the air was warm, and the water.... was really cold. Arriving at the put-in i discovered that i had left my poggies(neoprene hand warmers) in my car. Being naive and excited i declined Shawn and Andy's multiple offers to drive back to the take out to retrieve my poggies. I have re vowed never to forget my poggies again. After a few long rapids the glacial water had numbed my hands to the point that i was not able to grip my paddle. It is a weird sensation when the water is so cold that your hands don't actually get cold; they just cease to function and eventually get hot. that is when it is time to get out. I finished the run with both my hands about six inches off the center of the paddle. the narrow grip was designed and popularized in the pre poggie era. and very rarely brought back. After the first run i was able to retrieve my poggies and make another run with my preferred grip width.

DAY 2...Lower Trout Creek eventually dumps into the Upper Wind River offering a great run that collectively is almost one long rapid that dramatically increases in volume. Another great sunny day in the Columbia River Gorge.

DAY3....Panther Creek also flows into the Wind River. Panther Creek is little bit steeper, but offers the same type of Geology as Trout creek. the lower wind has great big water rapids a long with a big fish ladder rapid. Shawn and I lacked dry suits and subsequently opted to portage the rapid via a very steep ledge. Andy, being the savvy paddler that he is opted for option number one and just jumped off the cliff below the rapid.

Photos:(above)Teams Swain Hood River Ambassador, Shawn Lonin. Panther Creek(t-b) Shawn "big red" Lonin entering a nameless rapid, Panther Creek. Andy Round above the Flume, L. Wind River). The Flume. A.R. Beyond Limits, L. Wind. Fish Ladder Portage Option #2. Fish Ladder Portage option #1. gotta love the run out, heading for the CRG.

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