liveonearth: (moon)
Today I finally got my updated living will / medical power of attorney updated, witnessed, and notarized, and I also officialized my first last will and testament.  My friends asked me if I was planning on leaving.  It's a good question to ask a person who is settling their affairs at my age, but no, in spite of the depressing state of affairs in the world, my life is good enough that I'm planning to stick around and see what happens next.   In my living will today I specified what I want done if I lose my mind (travel to a country where euthanasia is allowed for dementia--Switzerland or Nederlands allow it as of now), and also where I want my brain to go (for research purposes, to the Oregon Brain Bank of OHSU).  I'm excited and glad to have this done.  I've been meaning to do it and rewriting it for a decade now.

The real reason I was motivated to complete these documents at the age of 50 is that I can tell that I am losing cognitive function.  It shows up in many ways, and people routinely fight me on this observation, saying that I'm fine, it's normal aging, blah blah blah.  Let me just say that I used to be very smart, and I'm not any more, and I know the difference.  A minor example is that I make more mistakes in typing, for example I switch "their" for "they're" and vice versa.  This is a mistake that I used to find utterly mystifying, and now I am doing it.

The other day I updated my lifetime river log with the rivers I have run this year.  I've done 20 new rivers around Oregon this year!  But the shocker finding was that one day in July when I went paddling on the Lower Wind, I could not remember what had happened when I logged the day.  All I remembered at the time (a few days after the actual day when I logged it), was that I had planned to go paddling with Todd.  I did not remember where we went or what happened.

What happened that day was that I hit my head, again, and had short term memory loss as a result.  I have had many traumatic brain injuries over the years, from biking, skiing, and kayaking.  This is the reason that I want to donate my brain for research.  I suspect that my brain will prove that recreational sports participants can also suffer from CTE = chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  It's not just for football players anymore.

On that day I flipped over at the top of a rapid known as the Flume, and was battered on my head and shoulders as I floated through the rapid upside down.  I was afraid to try to roll up because getting in position to roll puts you in a more open and vulnerable position, so I "went turtle" which in this case simply means to tuck tightly under the boat and get my elbows in so nothing gets broken.   I rolled up at the bottom of the rapid and was dazed but otherwise OK.  And yes, for you who do not know me, I was wearing a top notch helmet.  There is no helmet that can protect your brain from the knocking it takes when your whole head is getting walloped around.

This was the third time I'd floated through that particular rapid upside down.  It is a steep, fast, shallow and rocky rapid....brutal, really.  One of my three upside down runs I didn't hit a thing.  Twice I've been beaten silly.  I vowed after this day to not run that rapid at low water anymore.  It's much easier at higher flows and that is the only time I will attempt it.  Unfortunately the portage is difficult and dangerous too... so I may not go on the Lower Wind as much anymore.  Too bad because I do love the waterfalls.

Something else happened that day.  I've thought of it many times since my memory of the day returned.  At the end of the Lower Wind run there are four major drops, three falls and one slide, not in that order. We'd run the first 12 foot falls without incident and were running the tallest single waterfall, about 18 feet vertical.  It's so high that you can't see if the person ahead of you made it, so we just wait a few seconds between boats and then go.  Todd went ahead of me and I waited probably eight seconds, then committed to the drop.  When I crested the horizon line and could see my landing zone at the foot of the falls, he was swimming in it.

He had plunged too deep in the hole below the drop, gotten caught and held, and wet exited from his kayak in the hole.  It took him a while to surface and start floating downstream.  When I saw him I was already mid-air and headed straight for him.  I was afraid that the bow of my kayak would plunge into the water and hit him in the abdomen, rupturing his organs and killing him. That didn't happen.  Thankfully I'd hit a good enough boof from the top that my bow skipped off the surface of the water and I went right over his head.  But the trauma of believing that I was about to kill Todd has not left me.  I am going to require a better signalling system for running blind drops from now on.  I need to know that the landing zone is clear.  We have had trouble at this drop before and still we are too casual about it.
liveonearth: (moon)

Loved this video showing all my friends getting beat down. Everybody takes a turn at this level of whitewater. If you aren't willing to take a beating, you shouldn't be out there.
liveonearth: (bright river)
The most basic part of rolling a kayak, the most important part, is being able to orient yourself to the boat before you start the motion. In whitewater the paddler can get pulled in any direction, and needs to be able to assume a protected, turtle-like tuck when they flip over. This forward tuck makes it possible to get your paddle situated parallel to the boat at the water line, for a proper roll. These days it is modern and cool to be able to roll from any position. Playboaters master the back deck roll because it is integral to the moves they do. For the regular whitewater kayaker, a regular forward tuck leading into a basic sweep or C to C roll is all you really need. Getting the offside is great, and then explore. First, get a good tuck and set up position, which requires hamstring flexibility to touch your toes and them some, and crunch strength to pull your body to the front deck no matter what the river wants to do to you. If you have that strength, you've no excuse, save the panic of being upside down underwater, which happens to almost all of us. Stop going for that rip cord, and TUCK. From there it will be much easier.

Paddling Fitness: Core and Hamstring
liveonearth: (moon)

Kayaking on this class V section will be permitted, and the management team there sounds quite reasonable about letting management evolve along with use. The use of this river section can be revoked if there is any paddling on Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, where boating is banned.

The run will start at Pothole Dome below Tuolumne Meadows and end at Pate Valley. Exact details about put-in, take-out, portage trails and landing/no-landing zone locations will be determined in the near future in consultation with the boating community, tribal interests and National Park Service resource experts. Boaters making the run will be required to carry their boats 3 miles to the put-in, and carry them 8 miles from the take-out at Pate Valley to the White Wolf trailhead.

Carrying your kayak 11 miles is hard. The info does not indicate that this section of river is a series of long slides over domes of granite. I do not know if anyone has been running it lately, but I do remember that Lars Holbek carried his boat most of the way and didn't want to do it again. I have HIKED down the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne on a 3 day backpacking trip, and it was spectacular. A backpack trip might be a good way to scout the whitewater before committing in a boat. Though it is possible that those California boaters think nothing of this stuff. Looks hair to me.

liveonearth: (urban sitter)
Downward facing dog aka Adho Mukha Svasana. Re-invigorates the person who has settled into a slouch. Enlivens the gaze. Practice for at least five minutes after 4 hours of sitting. Ok to play with it, go into Wild Thing or whatever variation makes you happy. Try getting around on all fours--feet and hands, no knees. The dog knows how. The heart is the center for this asana.
liveonearth: (endless_knot)
I don't think I've been keeping up with recording all my river runs, perhaps because mostly they've been repeats of runs we've done before. The Trask was a new run for me. I went on it with a local canoe club (group of 12, 9 kayaks, 3 canoes, 1 tandem) because my elbows have been bothering me and I wanted to do something relatively easy. Little did I know that the surfing would be great and I'd work my elbows harder than I do on a creek run. Nothing needed to be scouted here, but there was some wood shifting around so stay on guard.

But what I really want to document here is this vimeo of Portland local Nate running Opal Creek. He runs Big Fluffy, the falls that I have never run, and also the gorge down below. His run of Big Fluffy as at 2:20 and as you can see, there isn't much there to convince a person that it's a good idea. Still I think I can see where he went wrong. He slides toward the left off the rock at the top of the drop, when it appears to me that you want your mo going left to right. So something in the approach has to be different to set up for that mo. Like I said, I've never run it, but it's nice getting to study on the line using someone else's mistakes. I've seen only one good run of that falls, and it was Willie doing the right side teacup line at moderately low water.

I'm studying on the Opal gorge too. I'd like to run it. Looks intimidating in all that black basalt, and there are some definite must make boofs. And there's a mandatory portage which is shown. Note to self: re-watch this before running the gorge.

Another note: at good water levels, at the last rapid on the regular Opal run: Door #4 at Thor's rapid is good. A few waves slap you in the face and then there's a nice boof. Go there again. Don't go through Door #2 at low water; it's best from medium up. I think Door #1 is best at low water.

The EFL on Sunday was a fine day. Group of 9 locals, a little bit of hole surfing carnage, nice runs overall at the falls. I posted a bunch of pix on fb.
liveonearth: (Default)

The rain began the night we got home from our Grand Canyon adventure, and I've been getting out every weekend day. We got on the Sandy Gorge at something just shy of 3000 cfs, and again at 1200 or so, the North Fork Washougal which usually doesn't run in October, Opal Creek at something like 900cfs, and the Tilton at a lovely 1300 cfs.

notes by river )
liveonearth: (Tempest in a Teapot)
Here's a friend's photos from Saturday on the Lower Wind. The flow was 112cfs Saturday, 109 Sunday, on the gauge up top.
And some video:

We did it again Sunday and I hand paddled it for the first time. I'm finally learning the lines---it sure did take long enough. I listened to the locals too much and got worked a lot, instead of just doing what I know how to do. In the final set of falls one of our number suffered a shoulder dislocation. We've been having a lot more carnage in this set of rapids than we have in previous seasons, and everybody is somewhat sketched. I think it is a psychological shift due to the two recent kayaker deaths in our area, as well as having one of our regulars swim the bottom two falls after a bad run in the tall one (#2).
liveonearth: (gorilla thoughtful)
Today's google doodle is a digital slalom "canoe" race. The boat in the race is actually a kayak, but it is called a canoe because we speak the English language, and the English call kayaks canoes. This English convention dominates Olympic language. Uninitiated Oregonians call kayaks "rafts" when they are used for whitewater. They see the kayak on in my truck and ask me if I am going rafting. But all this vocababble is beside the point: the doodle race is kinda fun. I did it a bunch of times.
liveonearth: (Default)
Kayaked both days this weekend on the Wind. Lovely river, waterfalls, hotsprings....fantastic place. Perhaps I should have been studying for boards, but the practice test I did last Friday convinced me that I'm pretty well prepared. I just now studied up on G6PD. There are a few glaring areas of ignorance but overall I feel good about what I've been able to assimilate. Going to buckle down again this week and then the big test is next week.
liveonearth: (bright river)
Water's creeping down toward low here in Oregon. I'd only ever run the Breitenbush at 1,100 and 1,200cfs, so this run was at approximately 1/3 the flow I'd seen. It was fine. It got a little scrapy in the second half, but overall channelized well. The trip was a LCCC trip so Mark shot some video, here it is:

Last night we ran the Lower Wind at a gauge reading of 3.2, or 162cfs (internet gauge). I was worried that the flow might be a little much for the falls, but it was fine. Willie made it look like a perfect flow for hand paddling, and I noticed how powerfully he could boof with simultaneous hand-paddling forward strokes.

The cross-river log at the top of High Bridge rapid was easily hopped on the right. I think we ran it about that high last year. The bony big one was easier just fluffy looking, and the falls went fine by the standard lines. Nobody wanted to catch the eddy at the top of the fish ladder on the left (boily in front of the sucking wall hazard) or the eddy on the left above the final man-made weir. We got in the hotsprings on our way out, then saw several bald eagles downstream. It was a lovely evening and the perfect reward for studying all day.
liveonearth: (fantasy river)
Here's a nice new post on the NRS blog by a friend of mine. It's about Staying Connected to Boating... The author gives examples of several different ways of negotiating the river, and makes the point that a full connection to river running and to the river itself comes from trying many different craft and styles.... which is in my view what adds up to true mastery. And joy.
liveonearth: (Default)

(I'm in the sparkly red helmet and antique yellow boat, with yellow blades on my paddle.)
notes )
liveonearth: (Default)

I won't go this low again on purpose, but it's always good to find out what your minimum is. Also, I always enjoy Mark's musical selections for his videos.


liveonearth: (Default)

October 2017



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