Thursday, September 13, 2007

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!


Nora said...


Ryan C. said...

Looks like you're running some sick stuff out there in the ole midwest. What, are you preparing for the creeking season out here in PDX? School starts up in a couple weeks bro, when you gonna get here? Hit me up when you do get out here, 'cuz we've got some sweet stuff on the radar! Later bro!