"Poorly Planned... Badly Executed"

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Van Is. Mission

A cold one anybody?

So yes I have been doing a very good job of hiding lately, whether on a boat working in the Caspian Sea or playing in the best snow that Colorado winter has to offer. And I even managed to sneak in a couple of trips to the UK for courses and a flying visit to Norway. Some good times but nothing gets me motivated to let you’ll know what I have been up to like squeezing myself into a plastic tube and chucking myself into the depths of the whitest water I can find. And that is exactly what is have just been doing... and not just anywhere but on Vancouver Island, Canada. Anyhow more about that in a minute, for now I must backtrack a week to where the story actually begins.

What ya doing parked on the side of the freeway Shaun?!?

Location: Portland, USA. My good buddies Shaun and Jacs arrive to start off their North America adventure while I was checking out the white water in Hood River and re teaching myself to kayak… well as you know it has been a wee few months. I missed out on there arrival and subsequent ‘partying’ but the next day I found a ride to Portland and caught up with everybody which also included Emma and Chris. Shaun was given a fine introduction to freeway driving on the wrong side of the road when the truck Chris leant him ran out of gas about five minutes after it was acquired, you sure know when to leave a sinking ship eh Chris.

The rescue... maybe it would just have been easier to put a bit more fuel in there to start with eh Chris.

Fortunately backup was not far off and so were we and off to see Dusty before road tripping our way to Corvallis where Rich was waiting. Never before in a single day have I ever met up with so many people that I have not seen in for such long periods of time!! Good times all round but all good things have to come to an end and I left the lot of them planning a rafting trip as I heading off on my own adventure…. Van Is. here I come!!

The guys planning their trip... as you can see there was some concern over flows (it's always over flows)

Unfortunately my journey was to start without transport and I tried my hand, literately and rather unsuccessfully I might add, at hitchhiking for the first time in the states. Three hours of standing in the rain and the onset of darkness had me reconsidering when a super nice guy picked me up and gave me a lift all the way to my friend’s door - what a garry good… ‘guy’.

Heading out to 'The Island'

A couple of days later and with Canada in our sights six of us departed Hood River, bound for ‘The Island’ as it is called by the locals. There we were joined by four more and so our large crew of ten keen kayakers were all set to rock and/or roll. The only problem however - the weather wasn’t… the rain that we ordered turned up as snow (and in abundance). Cold we could deal with, the lack of water in the rivers, not so much. Still life was not so bad with a close little gem, Gordon’s Creek, flowing at an ok level with three sweet as sections for our entrainment. Each was paddled twice (except the first bit which was only done once).

Better clean the snow of your kayaks guys... there's boating to be done!

The putin to the middle Gordon

Todd running the first drop on the middle Gordon

Not to be out done - Jay getting amongst it.

Yep... it was cold!!

Christie collecting a little snow for the journey.

Spot the kayakers... in case you are wondering there are three

Rob lining up the deceptive hole at the bottom

Rob looking good on the exit drop from the middle Gordon.

Well I would like to say the low water levels were our only problem but that was not to be. Between the four vehicles we had with us we managed to get three flat tires and destroy a clutch. Luckily we forget that we were scumbag kayakers for a couple of days and hired a lodge complete with hot tub. Nothing makes your problems disappear like slipping into steaming spar pool. Due to low flows and lack of functioning cars we didn’t quite last as long as planned and certainly didn’t get to see much of what the island has to offer but I’ll be back, camera in hand ready to explore more rivers. We just need to get the order for rain instead of snow correct (and bring stronger cars).

Yes... work it baby, looking good Jay ;-)