Words By:Aquabatics Team
I figured I’d touch base again as it has been a while. I have been getting lots of comments lately about some of my trip write ups and its got me stoked to know that people are actually reading the stuff……or at least looking at the photos. It has given me motivation to try more to get them up on a regular basis. So here is the first installment for this year.
With the knowledge that our instruction season was just around the corner and knowing how busy that can sometimes get, Allen and I planned a pre-season paddling trip back in the beginning of April. With the infamous Little White Salmon being the focal point, we managed to piece together an exceptional trip in Washington.
It all started, as all North American roundtrips do, with lots of driving! Allen can’t keep his eyes open for longer than 2 hrs in a vehicle, so I buckled down and got’er done. Our first stop was in Castlegar for a short playboating session on Brilliant Wave. I have been loving this feature lately and am jealous of those who get it right at their doorstep. We finished that day with a sunset paddle on Trail wave and grilled salmon over the fire.
Next day we made it down to Leavenworth Washington, a funny Bavarian themed tourist town on the edge of the Cascades. Kesley Price graciously opened her home to us and we spent the next few days paddling great runs in the area. The weather we had was fantastic, hot and sunny. Snow started to melt up high and rivers were on the rise. We got to paddle Tumwater canyon on the Wenatchee at 3000cfs and again at 6500. This was an amazing bigwater playground. All roadside and progressing from easier to harder rapids as you get closer to town. Me and Allen couldn’t convince each other to run the biggest rapid “Last Exit”, but on our second trip down we got to witness Sam Grafton and Ben Kinsella fire it up. They both had awesome lines, but it was still very humbling to watch!
We also managed to paddle Robe canyon of the Stillaguamish. This is a very well-known class 5 testing ground and we got to paddle it at a perfect level (5.7 feet) with a crew of Washington legends. This run is just so quality! Too many rapids to remember and having a similar feel to paddling the box canyon of the Ashlu (minus the sheer canyon walls), it is 2 hours of solid fun! Afterwards we went for a quick run down Canyon creek of the Stillaguamish. This was a totally worthwhile addition to the day.
The following day found us on Top Tye. This is just a classic creek with lots too offer. Me and Allen had fun playing around with freewheels on box drop and we both fired up the rarely run slide at the end. It was an exceptional day out with Nick Baughman showing us the lines!
After being eddied out in Leavenworth for a while, we moved on to southern washington, where our big goals awaited us. We spent the first night at a camp spot up Buck creek. First day in the area we had no one who could take us down the little white so we decided to run the Green Truss section of the white salmon. We knew we were in for a treat after the first (warmup) rapid! It turned out to be very much on the high side and we took it slow and safe. What an incredible river! It was a medium volume run in a pretty substantial gorge with short rapids interspersed with (fast moving at this flow) pools.
The last major paddling day of our trip we hiked up the notorious Eagle Creek in Oregon. We were a little bit disappointed (and relieved) to see Metlacko was too low, so we kept hiking higher and ended up running the spectacular Punchbowl Falls. After watching countless videos of this waterfall, it was very satisfying to paddle a good line on it! It’s a very unique waterfall.
After getting back into hood river, we hooked up with some local boys who were waiting to take us down the Little White. Suiting up at the put in, my stomach was doing somersaults. The little white is a run that I have paddled plenty of times…….in my mind with the help of go pro footage! To actually be there felt surreal! It was a mind-blowing run that just did not stop! Kept bombarding us with boof after boof. I can say that I haven’t been that amped in a long time and it will probably be a while before I am again! When we got to Spirit, I was very satisfied with my adrenalin fix for the day already and opted out. It will be there for another day, which I know will happen.
On our way home we stopped again in Leavenworth for a chill run down Lower Icicle creek. This is a super fun, short lapable section, with classic boulder gardens. It was a great way to finish the trip and we got to paddle with our host Kelsey!
Thanks everyone for yet another successful journey down the great rivers of our continent!
Special Credit for the photos goes to Allen Yip and Sara Yoshimura.