Monday, May 19, 2008

A couple days on the South Shore of Lake Superior

After getting some high water action on the North Shore some of the crew headed over to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the South Shore of Lake Superior for the annual Jim Rada Memorial Race on the Presque Isle. We ran the final mile of the Presque which has a few nice waterfalls and finishes with a big water rush called the Zoom Flume.

Kiffy giving Manabezo the elbow flick for a little extra air time.

Johnny "Utah" McConville styling it before taking 1st place in the race.

Me on the Red Dangler - a river right channel that opens up at higher levels.

It's always fun to have some lake surf at the takeout.

The day after the race we did the full run on the Presque Isle which is about 15 miles. This run has some really cool drops separated by a flat water stretches, giving it a kind of Boundary Waters feel. Photos by John McConville.

Kiffy and Max ready to roll.

Me subbing out in a sliding falls.

Max watching Kiffy disappear in Nokomis.

Max on Nokomis.

The next day we headed over to the Black River which was about double the "maximum" runnable flow. We sat around and talked about putting on, but we were all pretty beat so after a couple beers we lost motivation and pretty much just hung out and talked about lines and chilled out.

Gorge Falls is happy to give you some serious downtime at this level.

The namesake of Rainbow Falls.

John scouting Rainbow.

Is there a line in there somewhere?

Rainbow is very burly at this level - from 60mph to 0mph in less than a second.

A photo of a photo brought to you by Pam, Big Sky Brewery, and of course PBR.

Loren Moulton is working on a film highlighting the whitewater of Lake Superior. See a preview by following his link > Videos > Kayaking Superior's North Shore.

Utah taking a nap in the sun.

Jedi in his element on the shores of Lake Superior.

Andy in his element burning ants.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Cascade River, MN: The L-Dub of the midwest

The Cascade is one of my favorite rivers and I was stoked to get on it at a very juicy flow. Kiffy, Maximus, and I put on at about +3" which provided a lot of excitement. The first drop is a huge slide that is pretty much a roll of the dice at this level. I lost a lot of skin, but managed to surf out of the hole. My companions weren't so lucky and both swam.

Hidden Falls is the first drop.

I recommend staying upright when possible.

The entrance to the Moose was pretty busy at this level. The horizon line is a slide with a huge pillowy airplane turn that dumps into a small pool that continues down another slide into a big hole.

Maximus pondering the Moose Cock.

Long John Silver Rapid, "Boing!"

Me and Andy warming up with a nice fire at Long John.

Long John has a long fun entrance with some big waves and holes, here Andy is nearing the end.

He's stoked to be upright and on line in this one. The pillow off of the river right wall swallows you and spits you out.

An "Oh Shit" moment for Andy on Screaming Stingl Falls.

I plugged the left side of Screaming Stingl giving our group a 100% swim rate!

After the takeout for the upper section, the Cascade falls over a series of 5 stout waterfalls. They are usually only ran when the upper section is too low or at a bare minimum. There's lots of wood in there right now so hopefully it cleans up a bit by the time they are safely runnable.

Friday, May 2, 2008

High Water in Minnesota: Spring Creekin'

Here's a few of the runs we've hit up here on the north shore of Lake Superior over the past week. There's been plenty of water and lots of drops got fired up.

is a class IV run with some portages.

The first drop hasn't been run, but definitely goes at this level.

Johnny "Utah" McConville.

The final portage - Rain Falling Up Falls.

You can see why it gets its name - it's incredibly powerful.

The Manitou channelizes and goes over this final drop into the lake. Props to the boys who fired it up and watch for it in the next LVM.

Next up was a northshore secret gem.

The first major rapid is a boof through a hole into this slide with the lip of a 30 footer at the end of the pool.

Chad "The Chizzler" Thurow dropping this perfect 30 footer.

Lake Superior has a rugged coastline with small islands, inlets, and even sea caves.

is one of the best creeks on the north shore and with the highest water level ever attempted it was really fast and sometimes furious.

Lots of big fast slides.

Typical Splitty.

Under the Log is the final rapid and it packs a punch.

This Burn was ghost ridin' and got destroyed.

Almost Always
used to almost always be portaged.

Nate Heydt dropping in to Almost Always on an urban creek run in Duluth.

Paddling to Lake Superior and doing a ceremonial roll is a tradition here.


A perfect 30 footer.

Andy "Maximus" McMurray setting up a zip line for a dynamic camera angle.

Kiffy hanging out at the lip.

This is a great drop on a sunny day.

is a larger river with steady gradient and a few huge drops that are rarely to never run, definitely a must see.

Chizzler in front of the unrun entrance to Canyon Falls.

This massive curler is only a small piece of the puzzle.

The right side of Canyon is a sweet slide.

The left side is a full on big water slide, but it's hard to get over there at this level.

The Devil's Kettle was very full on at this level. Half of the river disappears into the huge kettle/vertical shaft on river right.

Reflecting on this magnificent drop.

Upper Falls lies right below Devil's Kettle and has never been run. Can you see why?

is an elusive north shore creek that meanders through a deep canyon as it roars down slides. There are two portages so you need to know where you're going because this thing moves fast when it's high.

The first portage is The Admiral, and has only been run twice. Two big slides are above it, but at a high level we were forced to portage all three.

Nate Herbeck catching a nice boof on Portage Down the Middle.

Trying to catch a glimpse of Pitchfork Falls, an unrun 40 footer with a shallowish landing. A pretty big portage to get around this canyon, and if you miss the eddy your stuck at the lip.

More photo dumping to come.