Saturday, June 24, 2006

Middle Fork and M-Wave Madness

M-Wave Vid (9.4mb)

Words to describe the Middle Fork of the Salmon would be: pristine, beautiful, unparalleled, unspoiled, fun, fast, remote, scenic, sometimes eerie, and many more. It is a 100 mile self/raft support run of non-stop III-IV with a little bit of everything thrown in the middle. From big holes to big waves, it has it all.

The run starts more ‘river-like’, with somewhat more technical class III-IV for the first 10 or so miles. After you enter days 3-5, the run doubles in volume and has more of a big water characteristic to it, much like the New River Gorge.

The level when our group put on was 6.21 feet—notably higher than many normal runs. Each group must attain a permit to run the river. I heard some 7,000 are requested and less than 1,000 are accepted. The permit is limited to a stack of rules and regulations that would make the paperwork you have at your office queasy. Some rules and regs are: 24 people max, Leave No Trace (which includes you know what), fire pans for fires, and many more.

Some history directly from the NPS’s website: “One of the original eight rivers in the nation designated as Wild and Scenic on October 2, 1968, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River originates 20 miles northwest of Stanley, Idaho, with the merging of Bear Valley and Marsh Creeks. The designated segment extends 100 miles from Dagger Falls to the confluence of the Middle Fork and the Main Salmon. The river traverses northeast through the heart of Idaho and the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, flowing through a canyon that is the third deepest in North America. The Middle Fork is one of the last free flowing tributaries of the Salmon River system. Because of its remote location, man's presence in the area was somewhat limited, leaving it in the condition we see today. Only a few trails, landing strips, private ranches, and Forest Service stations are evidence of man's intrusion.”

A truly wonderful experience…

Before heading to the Middle Fork, I had the opportunity to meet up with my old high school buddy, Kevin Dombey, for a M-Wave session in Montrose, Colorado. A slightly different experience, and a entirely different atmosphere. Check out the video of M-Wave:

M-Wave Vid (9.4mb)

M-Wave Vid (Low Res)

Until next time…

-Adam Johnson

Ps- for some photos, go here soon.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Astros In Colorado with Huge Experiences

Currently I'm in Salida, CO sitting in an internet cafe by the downtown play spot. Riot southeast regional team paddler and NOC instructor, Jason Aytes, and myself are leading the Huge Experiences teen kayaking group on a boating tour for the month of June. We left the Huge Experiences headquarters in Fayetteville, WV five days ago with a couple of the students and all our gear. Along with the kids, Jason and I were very excited to try our Astros out in all the awesome play features Colorado has to offer. The drive out was long as always but we took in all the finer, cultural experiences the midwest has to offer.

Beautiful sunsets...

And all the other regular attractions like Roscoe the 36 inch Donkey...

Pictured here are Brynne Weeks, Jason Aytes, Alex Mohn, Chris Miller and Kevin Mooney. All of them awe struck by the concept of miniature donkeys.

We rolled into Evergreen, CO 24 hours after leaving WV and crashed at the very welcoming Zach Mitchell, Huge Experiences student, and his family's home.

Here is Zach being himself. He's an awesome kid if you ever get to meet him and a sick boater.

Zach showed us to Clear Creek, specifically the Lawson hole (his home hole) the last two days. This is one of the best play holes any of us have been to. Pretty much every hole move is possible here. The hole gives up most moves pretty easily.

Here's Jason looping

And myself doing the same...

We're out here coaching these kids but they've taught us a thing or two in the first two days. Alex Mohn and Zach are doing some of the largest loops I've seen and they're pulling a move they call the "Switch" where they initiate a cartwheel then turn the boat back upstream and go into a loop. It's kind of like a McNasty, but different. Then they've been doing the "Whopper" which is something else similar. It's kind of like a Phonics Monkey but also different. You can look at the Huge Experiences Blog to see more about the kids and our trip.

All Photographs by Chris Miller - ©Huge Experiences 2006

watch the video of Jason and I at the Lawson hole on Clear Creek - CLICK HERE

I'll try to keep the updates coming as we move through the state.

Spencer Cooke, Team Riot