Monday, September 17, 2007

North Shore Huckfest

Click the images for hi-res photos.

and for those of you that want to get straight to the action -
here's the video footage.


It was me, Cliff, Tom, and Joel. Our mission was to get a log out of 'The Cascades' of the Cascade River that was preventing a run of Chastity and everything above it. This is a section of 5 waterfalls in a canyon and this log is in the entrance to the 3rd falls. Joel Decker rappelled down to the log and got some webbing around it. We used a come-a-long trying to free the log to no avail. This thing is in there good. Someone will need to use a chainsaw at low water.

About the worst place the log can be - no way around it.

Joel getting ready to loop the log.

Gettin' friendly with it.


We used all of our daylight on Friday trying to get that log out of there, knowing that the last 2 falls would still be runnable the next day. Saturday morning we teamed up with Alt and headed over to the Brule. It was at 1 foot and this is still a really fun level. I would be impressed to see someone run the left side of Canyon and/or Lower Falls at this level - not to mention Devil's Kettle! Cliff and I ran the right side of Canyon which was a fun slide. I've heard quite a bit about the Devil's Kettle and with all the mystery that surrounds it, it makes it a very magical place. For those that don't know the Devil's Kettle is where half of the river disappears into a vertical shaft and nobody knows where it ends up. The other half cascades over an amazing 40 foot falls - I was stoked to get the second descent of this beautiful mystery.

Cliff on the right side of Canyon.

The rarely run left side of Canyon.

The Devil's Kettle. The vertical shaft is on river right with half the river disappearing into it. This is a big boy rapid.

Unrun 'Lower Falls' on the Brule. Still some stomping holes at this level.

After the Brule, we had just enought light to hit the last 2 waterfalls on the Cascade. Cliff and I fired off 4 and 5 with style. We used a rarely used technique called the skirt implosion on Lover's Leap. Cliff was able to paddle away stern squirting down the river while I joined the Cascade Swim Team without even pulling my skirt.

Pretty much only one way to get this photo.... #4 on the Cascade.

At the lip of #5, Lover's Leap.

A parting image of Hidden Falls on the Cascade River a few days earlier.
By Tom M.

Paddle safe out there,

Thursday, September 13, 2007

DIY: Fixing A Broken Boat

Here's the damage - 3 slices clear through the bottom.

First, gather the tools you'll need: torch, silicone, knife, lighter, rag, screwdriver, drill.

Take out the seat if necessary - most boats break under the seat.

Drill holes at each side of the crack to prevent it from spreading. I used an 1/8" drill bit.

Shave plastic from the cockpit rim to use to melt and fill the crack.

Use the torch to heat up the plastic around the crack. Apply shavings to warm plastic and they will stick. Keep applying as needed using the torch to weld the crack closed. Don't let it get too hot or it can make it worse and/or weaken the plastic. Start on the outside of the boat and you may need to do a little melting on the inside. Pushing the area with the crack in will prevent it from bubbling out like it wants to. Let it cool, then put more plastic in weaker areas. Repeat until you're satisfied.

Almost done.

Now patch the hole on the inside with a watertight sealer - I chose silicone.

I wouldn't trust this patch job for any remote runs, or any shallow runs (that's how it broke in the first place). I'm planning on giving my boat one final hoorah over the Cascades of the Cascade, hopefully it holds up!!

Paddle Safe,

Late Summer Creekin' on the North Shore

I got the info Saturday that the Cascade was running so I packed up my boat and my dogs and headed north.

Don't forget you can see the hi-res photos by clicking the images.


On Sunday a good group of us hit the upper section of the Cascade at about -3", a really fun level. Jeorg, Kiffy, John Alt, Joel Decker, and Nate Heydt made a solid crew of boaters. The rapids clean up a lot at these flows - it's amazing how much of a difference a couple inches on the gauge can make. At -3" eddies were small and scarce, the holes were juicy, and Hidden Falls was really fast! I only got out to take pictures once on this run - we were moving along pretty fast.

Nate clears 8 Foot Falls and prepares for more action downstream.


Me and Joe K. hit the upper section of the Cascade again at -9". At this level there is still some push in most of the rapids with a little boatscraping, and some scraping in most of the boulder bed between rapids. Hidden Falls is still fast and fun.

Hidden Falls.


Swails, Mac, and I started our day on the Brule somewhere over 2'. First we hiked around in the woods with our boats for a few miles to warm up for this run - and before we found the right trail. Sauna Bath was stomping at this level - we all opted out of carrying up through crappy brush to potentially get pounded in some really big holes, and instead chose to put in at the base and marvel at this powerful rapid. There was a couple miles of class 3/4 boogie with big waves all over and barely any eddies. As we approached Canyon we missed our portage eddy on the right, but luckily found somewhere to stop on the left. This portage was a beast... Straight up the canyon through crappy brush, then through more thick brush and back down to the river. The entrance to Canyon is a massive hole, then after that lies a half mile of water pounding through big holes, banking off the canyon wall, then around the corner into some more holes. I'd like to hit this one at a lower level for the first time.

Putting in below Canyon with the bottom of the rapid barely visible.

Next was a few more miles of practically eddyless water leading up to the Devil's Kettle - a beautiful mystery. Half of this falls goes into a vertical shaft of which the exit is yet to be located.... The other half cascades about 40 feet into some of the biggest boils I've ever seen.

Devil's Kettle - any takers?

Shortly after Devil's Kettle is Lower Falls - a huge, stomping, clusterf*ck of holes. At the base of the falls was a hole with a 10 foot face! The spray that this falls creates is intense. Putting in at the base of Lower Falls, we encountered more boogie, a drop called Sewer Pipe, and a cool rapid under the footbridge. This is a big water run and would be a blast in a playboat - there's 5 miles of boogie with waves and holes everywhere.

Most sane people continue to portage around the stomping Lower Falls.

Mac styles his way through a monster hole.

Next we headed to the Cascade to check out the falls. A log in Chastity prevented us from running them so Mac and I did a quick run of the Upper at -12". At this level the major rapids still have enough water but without much push. The boulder gardens between the rapids can be painful. Hidden Falls is still fast and fun.

Classic whitewater on the north shore with Chastity in the foreground.

A log preventing a run of Chastity.


Today I started off with a solo descent of the upper Cascade at -14". I broke my boat and was taking on quite a bit of water. I made it to the takeout without getting out of my boat and by then it was quite full. I was planning on playboating the Brule after that, but I ran into Cliff and Tom who wanted to get in a run on the upper - I decided to go for it broken boat and all. I sliced a new huge gash in my boat and a smaller one to go with it - 3 total. I was taking on a lot of water and that sure didn't help in the shallows. Cliff and I were talking about running the last two falls of the cascades, but my boat was broken and we were both freezing cold so we decided to call it. The plan is to go back and pull that log out on Friday to run all of the cascades - stay tuned for that trip report.

The grand finale of the Cascade is this sweet 25+ footer.
I can't wait to float to Superior after hitting this falls!