The Level is Dropping....

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

River: Ottawa
Level: 1.5 feet
Paddlers: Me, Sharky, Chris

Met up with Sharky after work and decided to run the river. The river was at a weird level with not much play, so we thought we'd brush up on our river-running skills. When we got to McKoys, we realized that the level was actually lower than we thought! Corner Wave was sweet and we stayed there for a while before reluctantly heading down the main channel. We managed to convince Chris to come along with us, and off we went.

We tried to catch Garb, Waikiki and Chopping Block on the fly and then hung out at Brain Douche for a little while. The level still needed to drop a little bit for whirlpool fun, but it was already too low for mystery move fun. I got one sweet whirlpool ride with about 3 rotations upside down in the vortex before popping out! My drytop was completely vaccuum-sealed against my arms!

Normans and Coliseum was big fun, and while Sharky went down Centre Slot, I chickened out at the last minute and did an awesome hero move over to Dog's Leg, missing the hole by mere miliseconds! We practised rock splats and boofs and then arrived at Blacks.

I knew Right-Side Blacks was going to be better than it was on Sunday when I ran the river, but the level must have dropped lower than I thought! We stayed there until we were too tired to roll! It was right between a wave and a hole, and sometimes would green out into a wave and then a second later, crash into a steep looping hole. We worked on our loops there for quite some time!

Sweet day on the river for sure!

I'm Getting Married.....

Friday, May 18, 2007

To Corner Wave on the Ottawa River, because I love it so much! But don't worry, it's an open relationship, I will share it with the rest of you!

River: Ottawa
Level: 3.5ish
Paddlers: Me, Carly Harris, Billy Harris, Sandro Spreiter, Luke Newuinhuis, Lisa Utronki, Melissa, Nicole Whiting, Craig, and a whole lot of others!

Lucky me got the afternoon off work, so as soon as Carly got home from teaching little kiddies, we went down to McKoys to play! I know you're probably thinking 'there's no way Billy and Carly Harris would hang out with Jen', but it's true! They get to stay at my house in exchange for pretending to be my friend! It's an awesome deal! Hee hee.

Luke likes his Kool-Aid: Oh Yeah!
Photo: Carly Harris

I have never surfed Corner Wave, but wanted to give it a try, knowing that I would likely miss the eddy and have to paddle down. Billy and Carly gave me some hints on how to get on, and how to catch the eddy and out I went!

Sandro throwing down!
Photo: Carly Harris

It's true, I saw Billy Harris in person!

Photo: Carly Harris

This wave was unlike anything I had ever surfed before. It was so smooth and fast. I hopped out on it, carved back left and just started spinning! It was so easy! I think I got about three fast smooth spins before I flushed off. When I was backsurfing, I had to look up at the green of the wave. It was so steep that all I could see was a wall of water!


Photo: Carly Harris

I am going to stop there, except to say that I surfed it 4 more times, all resulting in me screaming for joy and spinning my brains out! I also got in a lot of surfs at Right-Side, working my clean spins, and a few fun, fast Left-Side surfs!

Jenny CornerWave

Photo: Carly Harris

Upper Petawawa River

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Thumbs up for the Upper Pet!

Photo: Jeremy Laucks

River: Upper Petawawa
Level: 3.18m on online Town Section gauge
Paddlers: Jeremy, Me

Today I added another new river to my repertoire. I had attempted to run the Upper Pet on Easter weekend, but as with all things with Brent Cooper, the excursion ended up being a diversion and we didn't get to run the river.

This morning, after a week of squirt, play, competitions and parties, we decided to run the Upper Petawawa. About an hour and a half into Algonquin Park and a hour plus hike in to the put-in lies a hidden gem. Well, it's not really hidden, but because the logistics are a pain in the butt, not a lot of people run it. If you want to run the Upper Pet you need to reserve a whole day for shuttle and river-run.

Hiking in with my homemade harness

Photo: Jeremy Laucks

The Upper Pet is a class 4 drop/pool deal that flows into Travers Lake. In order to put in above a section of the best rapids, Jeremy and I had to drive up to an old railway bed and along it until the bed becomes blocked by a pile of rocks and a gate. From there, we gathered our gear and hiked along the railway bed the rest of the way. I think the hike took over an hour, but wasn't checking my watch.

The best part about running the river today with Jeremy and taking photos, was that this was the first time that I had ever looked at and chosen my own lines, and then run them solo. I would shoot photos of Jeremy, then he would take the camera from me and I'd jump into the boat and pick my line. Usually before this I would always just follow someone else down each rapid. Today I had to decide for myself where I needed to be and pick landmarks to determine the right line. It was time to step it up a notch!

I don't know the names of the rapids, but there were approximately 10 major drops along this section. The first one was just an easy ledge with various runnable lines. We got out to scout the third drop on an island in the middle of the river. We checked out the chute river left of the island and discussed the line, then went over to look at the right side. There was a fast narrow flume into a big hole. The water through the flume was smooth and green but really steep. I was nervous at first, but watched Jeremy run it twice and after he told me that it was a lot of fun and I'd really like it, I decided to give it a go. I set up fine, but maybe was a little late of my paddle strokes because I ended up side-surfing the hole for a minute before being shot out the back end. It was fun! YEAH!

Jeremy running the Flume

Photo: Me!

Me running the Flume
Photo: Jeremy Laucks

Another rapid we came across was a little canyon that came out of nowhere. There was a huge wave in the middle that Jeremy surfed, but also an enormous hole in front of it. This was my bad run for the day. It was hard to find the tongue through the top river-wide hole and once I did, it was too late. I punched through the hole, but got sucked back in after trying really hard to paddle out of the backwash. Once in, I did the only thing I knew to do, surf it toward the tongue and get out! The next part was a HUGE diagonal curler that went right into that nasty hole. The idea was to punch the curler. I punched it, endered and went right into the hole. I carped a few times, and finally got upright, but in the hole. I gasped a few breaths while being tooled in the hole. This time, I decided to get out of the hole a different way. There was no side surfing out of it this time as it was a frowny hole. I let the hole flip me over, laid on my back deck and let myself get washed out. I caught the eddy below and spent a minute belching from all that air I had gulped while in the hole!

Soon-to-be Jenny Beatdown

Photo: Jeremy Laucks

Jeremy sez: I want to surf that!

Photo: Me!

The last rapid just above the take-out was one I had looked at earlier in the day, but wasn't sure if I was going to run it. It was a series of ledges, with holes. Basically the top ledge had one line that looked doable on the very river right side, the second ledge was doable anywhere from centre to right (which meant an immediate ferry over to the other side of the river), and then the third drop had a clear line also on the river right side. The middle section was oddly a corridor of whitewater between two walls of piled up rocks. Kind of random. I watched Jeremy run it, and still wasn't sure if I could do it, as it mean precise lines and quick reactions. I finally agreed to do it with Jeremy, so there were no photos of this one!

It went fine and I don't know what I was so aprehensive about. I made the first drop through, endered a bit, but got back on track and headed over to line up for the next two drops. What a great rapid, and a great run of the Upper Petawawa!

We ended the perfect paddling day with the discovery that my truck at the take-out had a flat tire that wasn't there when I left it to run shuttle a few hours earlier.
The Hyundai comes fully equipped with a donut spare tire in the back! Awesome! Stupid Donut. Next on the to-do list. Buy an old wheel so I can have a full-sized spare. It drove well though.

I can't wait to run this one again, it was definately a step up for me, at the high end of my abilities. I ran at least 3 rapids today that were bigger or more difficult than I had run before.