Monday, February 25, 2008

Illinois River Trip Report: 2-22 to 2-24-08

Photo by Ryan Morgan

Here's a little eye candy from our last Illinois trip. We had a little excitement, but no major swims or other carnage. Keep your eye open for an article about the trip in the Outdoor section of the Medford Mail Tribune.

Pitcher Plant colonies along the bank in the lower canyon

Pete Wallstrom dropping into York Creek behind Scott Photo by Alan Douglass

The one class IV between Pine Flat and Prelude Photo by Ryan Morgan
Will Making the move at Clear Creek Photo by Alan Douglass

Scotty "Too Hotty" going big at Pine Flat. Put those oars in the water, man! Photo by Alan Douglass

Will rowing the Media Boat through York Creek Photo by Alan Douglass

Scott Rion and crew getting told not to mess with the bitches at "Pimp Slap"

Everyone trying to get a peek of the maelstrom at Green Wall

Our water level was right around 1500 cfs at Kerby. This is a nice optimal flow for most of the river. We mostly had endless class II, quite a bit of class III, and about 7 class IV rapids. Green Wall, however, was an outright menace. At lower flows, the main ledge hole loses its bite while at higher water the sneak on the left opens up. At this flow, rafts absolutely had to run the hole. The bottom drop also packed more of a punch than I've ever seen before. Carnage was inevitable. First up, Scotty Rion!
Scott got a little sideways and started to surf in the hole.

If I were responsible, I'd have put the camera away and gone to my kayak to help with safety at this point, but there were already several others downstream. Shortly after this photo, Leland got sucked out and flushed out of the boat.
Miraculously, he was able to grab on and keep from getting swept downstream. Then the boat spun again and he was in the gut of the hole, getting pummeled. Can you spot the swimmer in this photo?This was more than a minute after the raft started surfing. Just after this, the boat finally flushed out with everyone back in the boat!

After this, Ryan and Alan decided they should paddle down and set kayak safety below. Again, I was irresponsible and hung out to take pictures. Alan and Ryan both flipped in the bottom hole with their big boats, which was a little unnerving for me.

Pete came down and had a clean line through the upper drop, but ran the bottom hole sideways with a big high-side. Scotty "Too Hotty" Fine fired it up next and had the cleanest line of all. This was the closest to carnage he ever came: Photo by Alan Douglass
I was next with the smallest boat designed for surfing waves, not bombing down class V. Alan and Ryan kept thinking: "And Dan playboats this $h!+?" Photo by Alan Douglass
I did fine with the kayak sneak around the top hole, although I had a little trouble with the ferry back right. I came barreling down moving left to avoid the monstrous hole at the bottom. All was in vain: the laterals guarding it surfed me right back into the middle.

Dropping into a hole much bigger than me. Photo by Ryan Morgan

I got stopped immediately. And yes, I am in this frame. Photo by Ryan Morgan

Still in the hole. Keep in mind that this camera could only take one picture every several seconds. After an exciting rodeo session, I finally flushed out..... Photo by Ryan MorganOnly to get pushed into the undercut wall on at the bottom, flipping again. What a ride!
Photo by Ryan Morgan

Will came down last and gave us a little finale. They got sideways dropping in, but Will called a nice, early high-side command. Photo by Ryan Morgan
One of Will's oars popped out, so all he could do was high-side. Photo by Ryan Morgan
Thinking his oar was gone downstream, Will went for his spare and slipped it in so he could row again. Notice the bags hanging off the side and gear floating downstream..... Photo by Ryan Morgan
Will was finally able to row out of the hole after a minute-long surf. Alissa and Tyler had extremely clean lines through Green Wall that day: they walked.

Despite a little adversity, everyone was safe. We were blessed with a strong crew of boaters and everyone exhibited good boating skills and excellent judgement. We all took a breather and continued down through the class IV gorge.

Just before camp, I decided to hike my boat up to run the little tributary waterfall. This time I thought the upper drop looked good too, so I gave it a go, giving a little more carnage to the trip, but that's a different story...... Photo by Alan Douglass

1 comment:

Let's go rafting! said...

Looks like I am getting better at eating shit. The more you run (know), the less you succeed (need). There's a bumper sticker for you.