Monday, July 27, 2009

Call me Ishmael...

Jim Fall's...I remember my first year kayaking and I went there. It looked really big to me...five years later I can call it pleasant water. I met up with one of my three favorite open boaters, Dave, to catch a quick paddle. Brian Brezinski has been running Safety Classes there and we watched the class put on. There was an excited buzz and I asked what was up? Brian said he had seen a sturgeon jumping on the far side of the river. We watched for a bit but it didn't jump again...of course. Dave and I decided to do some attaining to warm up. We paddled to right below the dam. I could see the tail fins of some huge sturgeon poking up in the wash from the dam. Now I like sturgeon. I see raw beauty in the ancient, prehistoric, remnant from another time. A glimpse of the past we can only imagine. We turned and paddled easily down stream enjoying the river when BLAM...about 18 inches from the side of my boat the biggest sturgeon I've ever seen jumps completely out of the water. Holy sh%$@#!! Dave was turned around at that time and saw the whole thing. He estimated the fish at almost the length of my boat. My boat is 6'1"! Up close and personal it looked like Moby! Oh man did we laugh...after the initial shock wore off...! Dave and I paddled over to see what the Safety Class was doing. Jim Falls is a great location to have this class. This is the second year Brian and Glenn have been doing this class and they do a fantastic job of arming new kayakers with important information they will need on whitewater. If you haven't had a safety class try to make one of theirs. You will walk away with more confidence on the water and it's definitely fun. Onward Dave and I went to Wausau for the clean up...Craig had organized a clean up and there were lots of people that really pitched in and cut the brush away from the river...It looks fantastic! The rest of the weekend was bouldering on Rib Mountain with Amy, John, and Tommy. Wet rocks in the evening. Dry rocks in the early morning. It was all good! I love it up there! God's playground for climbers. Now for Wausau...Changes were made and they were awesome! Mike had some great inventive ideas! At the very bottom they formed a new wave by blocking the river right channel. This deepened the left channel so when the newbies swim they won't be bouncing off the rocks like before. Great idea!! The holes at the bottom were changed into more waves and my favorite bottom hole (sorry that sounds "bad") turned into a wave...a surging unpredictable wave...I loved it! My rock star newbie Pamela joined me for her second time at Wausau. She did great and learned a lot of new things this weekend. The big news came late in the day that Little Drop is going to be the location of the rodeo hole for the Midwest Championships. Personally I haven't been in that hole very much so I thought I'd better start working it and see what it can do. I ferried out and thought hmmm...easy spins..left and right. Very retentive..I could paddle back up without being washed out. I was starting to think it was going to be pleasant...then I started sliding down into the trough of the hole backwards and thinking I better throw something soon or something is going to happen. Being the end of the day I just didn't feel like throwing anything and yep something happened. It caught my stern and threw me up and backwards...I tucked tight but when I landed it was hard and I came a bit untucked. I crunched back up to my boat knowing it was shallow and rolled up into a perfect rock splat on the rock behind it. My backband then popped loose and I slid down and got into an eddy and thought Damn! What a hole! I am really looking forward to playing more there. Bryan Z had some fantastic runs in there and loved it! Comp is going to be tough this year! Cole has been working hard and has a great format for the weekend. It promises to be insane fun! The "new" Wausau was so much fun I didn't have time to take out my camera...can you believe that? Sorry about that but you'll just have to drive out and see it's better in person! Here's some photo's from bouldering and Jim Falls.

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