"Poorly Planned... Badly Executed"

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Little White Mission

Chris Korbulic firing a nice line off Spirit

Well the pace of adventure in my world hasn’t slowed down at all. It turned out that I was ‘hard’ to contact by work and so instead of sending me back to rejoin my old crew for one last trip before I swap crews they simply found someone else. By the time I called work back they told me to ‘keep enjoying my holiday’. Maybe that’s Norwegian code for you’re fired or something but to me it simply means what it says and that’s what I have been doing. So after arriving back from Vancouver Island I made my way to Corvallis for a couple of days catch back up with Shaun and Jacs and everyone else down that way that I know. Shaun and Jacs had just purchased a stylie wee gas guzzler V6 van and were in the process of fitting a bed into the back of it. No worries guys, I’ll document and direct… actually just document (and drink beer of course) while you are hard at work. What a good friend I am ;-)

Shaun and Jacs working hard while I supervise

No power tools for these guys... Jacs doing it tough

I tell a lie... they had a power drill

The daffodils were enjoying the sunshine too

Job done... yet it needs a bit more charm, can never have too much charm

Right that’s the van done lets go kayaking… destination Hood River. A break away mob of four of us left Friday morning to get a sneaky wee run down the Green Truss, a beautiful class 4 run with a couple of bigger drops thrown in for good measure. It was also the perfect opportunity for Shaun to reacquaint himself with kayaking, it’s been a while aye buddy. It was also a chance for Richard to go 0 and 3 on Bob’s hole (he has swam out of it the first two times he has run the drop) but he wasn’t as keen on swimming as the rest of us were on seeing it happen and decided to walk… poor form Richard.

Moss covered trees of the Little White

EJ getting straight amongst it at Bolder Sluice

With a successful run of the Green Truss under our belts we were rejoined by the rest of the group from Corvallis bringing to total number to nine… Hood River had never seen the likes of it (well actually it has, many times even - the place is often descended on by large groups of kayakers and/or kite boarders but never let the truth get in the way of a good story aye Dave although I kind of just have… sheit). Right where was I, oh yes nine kayakers ready to paddle the shit but first they need a place to stay. Lucky our new buddy LJ let us use his house and we were set with a good nights sleep ready for adventure.

Chris Gabrielli getting air at Sacriledge

And I think he likes it

Chris K isn't so sure though (of what however, I think only he knows)

Maybe it is how many kayakers are on the run. Believe it or not, that wasn't all of us ;-)

Well all the rivers round Hood River are pretty well documented and get paddled all the time so it is not a true adventure in the sense of the word but we didn’t let that stop us!! Leave it to us to turn a hour long Little White run into an all day mission. First of all you need to start the day with the biggest groups you could imagine (so even the biggest eddy’s on the river wont hold all of you), then make sure there is a good ratio of people who haven’t paddled the river before and finally and perhaps key bring along pre-cracked kayaks with dodgy repairs and not enough split paddles.

Richard not missing out on his chance for air time

And sticking the whole line to boot (first time on the Little White and paddling it like a seasoned pro - nice going Richard)

Jeff searching for fish... I guess you have to go deep to find to best ones

Well we already had some dodgy pre-cracked kayaks and not enough split paddles but we felt that the group wasn’t quite big enough… no problem we’ll just find some more people!! “Job done” as my boss at work would say. So our expanded group of eleven put on the Little White for our wonderful adventure… five and a half hours latter the last of the tired cold hungry kayakers took off the river. Some egos had taken a bit of a bruising and a few pockets had taken a little hit but fortunately all bodies were still intact. Actually I’m making it sound worse than it really was but it still had to be described as a mission.

Eli doing some impromptu underwater caving... his buddy lost his kayak in the cave under the rock wall and Eli swam under there to get it back... what a good fella

The spectators enjoying the caving action. If you look at the bottom left corner you can just see Eli!!!

Right so here is the breakdown…

1) EJ got pinned at the first drop and swam. His boat made a much nicer platform to boof off than the rocks that trapped him. Way to take one for the team EJ!

2) Richard dropped his camera while helping to retrieve EJ’s boat. Lucky for Richard the camera was waterproof and five minutes duck diving saw him and the camera reunited.

3) I re-broke the kayak I was paddling just before S-turn rapid and so enjoyed some extra hole punching weight in my boat, at the expense of manoeuvrability. The trade was later described as ‘fair’

4) Shaun had a token swim and nice self rescue might I add, at Wishbone Falls. When you’re already in the eddy after the drop you can probably just roll up eh Shaun.

5) EJ lost his paddle at the top of the narrow gorge above Horse Shoe hole but managed to paddle the gorge and eddy out before the hole. A pretty good effort and it turned out the paddle he was using was one that we found that day anyway… easy come easy go eh EJ.

6) Rick broke his paddle at Spirit Falls and although he managed to roll up he ended up behind the curtain, got sucked back into the falls and went deep. He came out but his boat decided to stay… until we went and got it. That little break turned into over two hours of fun for everyone (except the half the group who bailed so they could return a demo boat in time).

7) The remaining group pull out some Macgyver tricks and fashion a makeshift paddle from a couple of pieces of paddle blade found at the bottom of Spirit Fall (while retrieving Rick's kayak) which Eli nominates himself to use.

8) The Macgyver paddle disintegrates at Master Blaster rapid and Eli swims... bugger au.

Rick flying off Wishbone

Nick going deep on the same droop... both lines are sweet, trust me I have tested each out (and a couple of other variations for good measure)

Jeff ready to rescue people from Horse Shoe hole... thankfully his services were not needed

Richard threading his way though a maze of holes in a cool narrow gorge above Horse Shoe hole

Shaun sticking the right side of Horse Shoe

Moments before disaster... Rick just before he breaks his paddle and goes deep at Spirit

The boat retrieval in full swing. Nick jumped at the opportunity to abseil down and get Rick's boat... the rest of us stood back and let him go to it... 'sure Nick I'll take pictures'

Well as you can see lots of little dramas but nothing to scary to really that serious… just another day on the Little White.