Clean Teeth.....Clean Rivers?

On the Clendenning Trip (see below) I did not pack toothpaste (but borrowed others). I was surprised to see that practically everyone was using "Crest" or "Colgate" or some other major label. So giving people the benefit of the doubt that this might be unknown information, I will pass this on:

Tom's of Maine toothpaste has created a five-year partnership with River Network, The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service's Rivers & Trails Program and participating retailer to launch the National Rivers Awareness Program. This is in addition to the natural ingredients they use, recycled packaging, and on and on.

As most of you know, I am a huge proponent of conscienous consumerism. I think the choice is clear here. For kayakers and anyone else who values rivers, we should all be supporting Tom's of Maine.

my 2cents.


The Clendenning

The Clendenning is a multiday wilderness trip beginning high in the Coastal Range of British Columbia. Jonaven Moore organized this trip, and I was fortunate enough to be invited. The entire Clendenning drainage is protected as a provincial park, and for good reasons. The closest comparison I can draw is that of the Yosemite Valley--huge granite domes and slabs with waterfalls cascading down them from the several glaciers above that are all visible from the river.

The Clendenning requires a float plane shuttle to fly into a lake at the headwaters. The plane, an otter, seats seven with kayaks and gear. So when two people backed out at the last minute (very last minute) there was a rush to fill those seats. Jonaven called Andrew Spragg from Vancouver, and I called Bryan Urakawa who was able to drop everything, start packing and be at my house one hour later. From there we headed north to meet Bryan Smith at the infamous Krispy Kreme parking lot. The three of us would represent the US contingency. We then continued up to Squamish, eventually meeting Jonaven, Nicola (his girlfriend, and the best shuttle driver in the world :), Jordy McKenzie and Joey Vosburgh for a pre-trip sushi dinner.

The next day was shuttle day. Bryan Smith, Joey and Nicola headed up the Elaho to drop take-out vehicles at the confluence with the Clendenning, while the rest of us lounged around squamish. Four and a half hours later, they returned just in time for all of us to load up and rush to Whistler to catch our plane. Mike, with Whistler Air (604 932 6615) flew us over the Pemberton Ice Cap and right up the Clendenning drainage. You have never seen people jump from one side of the plane to the other so fast to check out the various drainages, rapids, and other amazing scenery. 30 minutes later we were landing on a lake with ice bergs floating around. As Mike buzzed our heads on his way back to Whistler, the group was full of excitement about where we were just dropped off and what lie ahead the next two days. We spent the remainder of the day taking in the surrounding area, including a paddle across the lake to check out the glacier.

We caught the best weather of the entire month of September; and as we waited for the sun to rise over the surrounding mountains we loaded our kayaks and prepared for day one. A small boulder garden before the largest confluence entered, some flatwater to fully appreciate the scenery, and then the whitewater started to pick up. A few fun boofs through some building boulder rapids started us off. Then as we approached a sievey portage, we learned that Jonaven had cracked the bow of his gus. Luckily it was above the water line, but with 25 km and a day and a half to go, we tried to wax and duct tape it as best possible. The rapids continued for a few more kilometers before reaching the flat section in the middle. As we approached a drainage some of the team had scouted from the plane, we started to look for a good camp site. A nice mossy clearing above the river was spotted and provided a campsite that felt like sleeping on a carpet. That afternoon, as I was unpacking my boat, I noticed a crack right under my thigh (tough day for liquid logic). So out came the knife and metal spoon, and Joey gave us a lesson in field boat welding with a ski base methodology. It seemed like both the boats were going to be good as new....kinda.

Reports were that the second days starts out with hardest rapids, giving way to long class IV, read and run, boulder rapids. (This was a report we had from Sam running the river at 90 on the gauge. We had flows closer to 67. 73-57 day 1, 81-67 day 2, peaking @ night) We found some fun class IV rapids that started to grow in complexity. With more water, this could definately become juicy. As the rapids grew harder, the weld on the bottom of my boat grew weaker, until if finally split open again. After portaging the hardest drop on the river, we pulled over, put my boat in the sun and broke out the duct tape. I portaged the next rapid and gained a good scout of the next two drops. They looked more straight forward with a few holes to dodge, but fewer rocks. I made my way down to the river and rejoined the group, taking the lead in a mad bombing mission trying to make as much mileage as possible in case my boat's crack grew even bigger. Eventually the rapids gave way to class III and the valley started opening up. We knew we were into the final few km. After confluencing with the Elaho, we had the hardest part of the trip left. A short but grueling hike throught the BC bush up to the logging road.

This is a trip that everyone who kayaks should do. And those who don't kayak, should learn how, just to experience this amazing place. Its one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever floated!


Hot Springs, Drunks, Log Jams, Class II and a Missed Turn.

Just returned from the Olympic Pennisula with Jen. We headed over there for a paddle and soak (in hot springs) before she started her fall quarter of school.

We arrived at the trailhead to the hotsprings late Monday night, and thought there would be camping, but it turns out it hike in camping. The nearest campground was 10 miles back down a windy road so we figured it would be peaceful enough to camp at the trailhead in the truck...WRONG. We were quickly woken by a drunk speeding up to the hot springs, pulling in to park (too quickly) and running off the road. Off the road as in down the hill and into the forest. Luckily we didn't get too involved in his junk show because some soakers took him back to town to get a tow truck, which woke us up again about an hour and a half later. Jen just as we thought the chaos would end, a bunch of partying high schoolers came up to soak around 2:00 am.

The next morning, we decided to paddle the lower Elwha. This seemed to be a great run for Jen, especially since she hadn't kayaked in over a year. It was class II, starting in a deep forested canyon and ending in the ocean. The salmon were running and it was cool to see them heading upstream as we drifted downstream. In places it seemed like we would not be able to get through without hitting them, but the moved promptly out of our way. The run was going well, with Blue Herons leading us down the river, until Jen didn't make it around a log, flipped and swam. Luckily the log did not create anymore than a scare. A little farther down we had to portage the biggest log jam I have ever seen!! The floods really stacked them up here. A few bald eagles later and we were at the ocean.

That night we went for a nice soak, and seemed to have the pools to ourselves. Guess all the drunks were recovering. Nonetheless it really felt like we were in the middle of nowhere...always a good feeling.

Some rain moved in later that night and we woke to a chilly, foggy, drizzly, NW morning. This took some extra motivation and a bad cafe latte from Port Angeles to get Jen on the water. We paddled the Middle Elwha, and while the water was low, this was a nice stretch of river for Jen with a few Class II-III rapids, no wood, and easy logistics.

We had to return home after this, and with a missed turn we learned about some other parts of the Olympic Pennisula and were able to catch the Fauntleroy ferry home. For me, it was then off to BC for some more paddling and Jen had a three day yoga weekend with her favorite, Shiva Rea, before school on Monday.


Season Summary

With fall approaching and the days growing shorter, I know the trips to river will soon be replaced with trips to the slopes. Reflecting back on the season of '04, it was another great season as I share some of the highlights. We had a warm spring up here in the NW which brought our snow down early and got us off to a quick start. Early on in the season, Bryan Urakawa, showed me a first descent he had been scoping out. My excitement for this run became apparent as I would not leave Bryan alone with daily emails. Eventually, we gathered a crew to attempt Eagle Creek. Due to the steepness and continuousness of the run, we were forced to scout long stretches at a time. This resulted in more scouting that kayaking. Nevertheless we descended a little more than the upper 1/2 mile before deciding to hike out and return for a 2nd attempt. Unfortunately word got out, and another team led by Tao came in and poached the next couple miles. On a positive note, the last mile still remains...

The next big mission was to Wyoming (again with Bryan) to meet Todd Gillman for some hopeful first descents. For the most part we were shut out due to hot weather and flooding rivers. I managed to bag one first descent of a waterfall on the The Upper Cascades of the Middle Popo Agie River. After that we scouted out many potential missions for the future.
On the way home, we hit the N. Fork of the Payette River @ 4000 cfs. Thrilling to say the least. We followed Ryan Casey, Conrad and Simon down the run as we completed the 15 miles in under 2 1/2 hours.

Over the 4th of July weekend, Bryan Smith, Andrew Oberhardt, Erik Schertzl and I set our sights on the Grand Canyon of the Elwha. The Elwha presents a very deep gorge with several unportageable drops, and one unscoutable, unportageable drop (with a big douglas fir visible from the eddy). The other major obstacle of the Grand Canyon is the 8.5 mile hike in. This can be made more difficult by taking a wrong turn if you feel like going for seeing some extra scenery. After camping half way up the trail, we woke, up finished the hike and were quickly rewarded with one of the most beautiful canyons I have ever passed through. The rapids are spread out enough that you can really take in this most beautiful place. The floods of Fall '03 cleaned most of the canyon out (of wood), and even placed a log jam about 40 feet above the water that provided a glimpse into the unscoutable drop. The Grand Canyon went smoothly, and after hiking around an enormous log jam at the top of Rica canyon we all survived Goblin's and quickly found ourselves at the lake. A few more steps up the hillside, a rejected hitch from the stereotypical american and eventually we found our shuttle.


The next big mission was up to BC (British Columbia) for Skookum Creek. I heard about this creek shortly after I moved to the NW, and its been on my list ever since. Skookum features a 60 foot waterfall at the end of the run. While normally this wouldn't attract me, this waterfall has some training wheels--the first forty feet are vertical and the last twenty feet are an 88 degree slide. Its just enough to set up your angle of entry. A twenty footer at the put-in, thrity-five footer in the middle and a few blind box gorges make this one pumping the whole way down!

After recieving the news that I would not be admitted to law school this fall, I made the decision to produce a kayak video, so it was off to the OR show. On the way I met up with Johnny "Utah" in Idaho. After realizing the flows on the Main Salmon were off, it was back to the N. Payette. Our goal quickly became the Vertical Mile. One mile of gradient can be achieved by running the North Fork three times (plus an additional lower three at the end). Thats 51 miles of class V. After a 7 am start, biscuts and gravy after lap 1, bubba burger and fries after lap 2, and a short chill session we finished at 7:30 pm. More boating than I have ever done in one day...AWESOME!

The latest highlight for the season was running Tatlow Creek, towards the end of August. For all of you boaters who don't know, BC has amazing whitewater in August and September!! Tatlow was first descended only days before our descent. This creek is amazingly steep and beautiful with several big, clean drops. You will most definately be seeing this one in videos to come. So come on up and run it with me before it gets spoiled.

Some more eye candy:
Bryan's Sea Kayaking Carn @ Skooks

The Callahan and The Ryan (British Columbia)

Tumwater @ 8000

Not bad for a 30 year old, eh? Can't wait for year number 31....right around the corner!

ONE thousand

In the past couple days, the fighting in Iraq has pushed the US soldier death toll over 1,000. As sad as this is, it is even more disturbing that recently the civilian death toll caused by the fighting in Iraq surpassed 10,000. This happened without a blimp in the news, even by several liberal media resources.

This and more information on the subject can be viewed at:


This news has reinvigorated my interest in the election, as we are now less than two months away. The length of the campaign and the extensive news coverage have started burn me out on the topic, but I am now reminded of the importance this election will be for us and the world.



If you don't mind a little (a lot) foul language, go here:



Garden State

A new movie out that is a must see. In the same genre as Lost in Translation, it is a beautifully shot film with so many deep emontions expressed throughout this both simple and complex storyline. With a great soundtrack to boot.

Another great movie that is currently out in the theaters is Open Water. Jen and I caught this one early in the summer at the Seattle Film Festival. It got picked up by Lion's Gate, and has since hit the mainstream. Simplicity is name of the game in this movie, where it lets your imagination do the work. Try to catch this one in the theaters, because I don't think the tv will do it justice. At least not our small tv located 20 feet away from the couch. enjoy.