Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Northwest ...Payette River

Minnesota girl headed out west!  YeeHaw...oh...wait...I lived in Oregon a long time ago.  This was my first trip back to the state I grew up in since I left in "69".  My first stop was to see Andy and John in Idaho. They were both working for Cascade Raft and Kayak as instructors and raft guides.  I don't think I've seen a better operation yet.  It is owned by the Long class kayakers and incredible teachers.  The knowledge they pass on to their employees is priceless!  John and Andy both encouraged me to attend a rolling clinic put on by Cascade to see  first hand their teaching technique.  I was amazed at how easily Chad Long put a new student in the proper position to roll within seconds.  I will definately be putting this knowledge to work back home.

  I was camped out with John and Andy on an island on the Payette River neatly tucked in between two class V rapids.   As music has the ability to penetrate your physical body and affect your soul the sound of the river flowing a few feet from my tent saturated me with it's song.  It became an essential element for me that I was reluctant to leave.  The Payette was my intro to big water...yes it was big in Colorado a few weeks ago but I have never seen whitewater such as this.  From class V rapids that stretch non-stop for miles, to super fun huge class III.  I could spend a lot of time just enjoying the area...and I will be back.


Kelly's Whitewater Park

  I took the time to go up to the new Kelly's Whitewater Park to check it out.  After looking at HUGE water on the Payette for days it struck me as small.  Well it's not.  My whitewater perspective had been pleasantly skewed.  The features are excellently created from easy to challenging.   The park it's self has brand new landscaping and a beautiful clubhouse.  Plenty of comfortable viewing for spectators and a backdrop of snow capped mountains...I just love Idaho!
   Special note.  The guys from the Midwest and I decided to do an easy paddle on what is called the Swirly Canyon section...class II-III.  The guide book says there's just some squirrely eddy lines in the canyon.  What it didn't say is that it takes about 500 whirlpools and squeezes them down into a half mile stretch with sheer walls.  If you know me you know I really dislike whirlpools.  There wasn't a single straight line anywhere to be found.  People were flipping (not me) and it was quite a time getting through.  I was taken spun backwards and slammed into a wall at one point.  By far the most unique stretch of whitewater I've seen yet. But everything for a reason...once through the canyon your fear of whirlpools is gone.
                        Hot Springs at the Swirly Canyon Take out

  The rest of the crew moved on to Washington in the morning and I took Emily up on her invite for one more run on the Main Payette before I left.  I took my playboat this time and it was addicting!
I was very reluctant to leave Idaho, but Washington and Oregon were calling and I needed to see my friend Lori to see how she was fairing.  That evening I crossed over the Oregon State line for the first time in 41 years. I wondered if I would make it back to my home town of Coos Bay this trip.

No comments: