Saturday, we took one of the better February days to finally clean up our back yard after all the winter storms we had. Having spent a considerable amount of my life at or around a golf course, I'm pretty particular about my grass, so it was good to get it cleaned off, assessed and a game plan devised for my late winter/early spring yard care. Shell and I also got the fire pit going, buring some old branches, etc. that were in the yard... I simply can't get enough of that campfire smell.
Sunday was paddling day and I organized a group trip to the Upper Klickitat (Salmon Hatchery to Leidl Campground) in Washington State. Final count at the put in was 15 paddlers, a great turn out for this trip and a testament to the hardiness of Pacific Northwest kayakers.
I'd never paddled this section before, but it is classified as a Class III run. However, on Sunday flows were on the extreme low end of good, so I didn't really know what to expect... that is, with low flows, some runs become more difficult and some become easier. Overall, the flows we had gave this a Class II/II+ feel, but you could tell by the gradient and the drops that more water would make this a wonderful Class III/III+ run. Couple that with the stunning scenary and you have a section of river well worth the drive. I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story...
Looking downstream on a typical section of the Upper Klick
One of the prettier waterfalls on the Upper Klick
Brit digging in and moving downstream
Nobu says "Hang Loose"
My buddy Aaron taking in the beautiful scenary
Typical columar basalt formations on the Upper Klick
On the drive home, Shell and I stopped by Husum Falls on the White Salmon River to take a look at the log that became lodged in it during the last high water event (See Below). I sort of knew what to expect, but I wasn't prepared to feel as sad as I did once I saw the log. The White Salmon River is a pretty special place for me. The Middle section of this river (The Mid White) was a huge step for me and I spent a good portion of my early kayaking months (which coincided with the courtship of my wife) walking Shell down to the put-in and watching her float away. I would drive down to the take out and look at Husum Falls and think "someday, I'm going to run that drop with Shell". When it finally came time to paddle the "Mid White" and run Husum Falls with Shell it was, to say the least, a super high point in my kayaking. Every time I come up here and get to paddle this section of river, it reminds me of special paddling is to me and how lucky I am to have a partner who I can share these wonderful experiences with. Now, the river is still there and we can run the Mid White section, but it just won't feel the same without being able to finish off with Husum Falls. We'll see what the rafting companies can do about it, but for the immediate future, Husum Falls is out of the question... I'll miss you old friend!
So, that's all I've got for now... I'll be out there exploring the beautiful PacNW again this weekend, hope you all can do the same!