Sunday, October 3, 2010

Black Canyon

Late season boating in Colorado means one thing to me, the black canyon! Gore runs satisfy us through august until it is a bit cooler and we turn our attention to a huge crack in the earth near montrose,co. I first did the black canyon 4 years ago during my first year of class 5 boating with a flow of 1300 and a sweet crew of local black canyon legend milo, christian, rolf kelly and tim kelton. That trip showed me how out of shape I was and inspired me watching Rolf paddle and seeing christian kayaking class 5 only a few months after breaking his back. This last year I felt that it was time for a return trip with only half the flow of my previous trips, me and christian made 3 trips that year and got to fire up some new stuff that was sweet, plus R. kelly fired up the great falls portage that I'm not sure will ever get run again.
This year I have been talking up the black canyon to anyone that would listen, and convinced enough people to organize a big group of 8 to drop in, with only Dan and I having previous experience we took a nice slow pace and enjoyed ourselves for a 2 day run. The first day was awesome with great rapids down to the infamous portage. I assured my buddy and recent Coloradoan Nick Abrams that we should just do the portage in shorts and lather ourselves in dish soap. Unfortunately I brought hand soap not dish soap and a week after the trip me and Nick are still itching!
That night at camp was one of my best nights of the year, great fishing, a few beers and ribs made for a great time. Waking the next morning I was pretty nervous about the drop just after the portage, named next generation that Christian 1st D last year and a spot that my brother had a nasty swim resulting in a torn MCL. We got down to the drop and Sean and me sized it up, the drop consists of a sweet 6-8foot boof then a 10 foot sliding shoulder boof into a tight slot then line up for the 15 foot boof with a tight landing and then you get the sweet few hundred yards of runout, after a while scouting I decided it was time to go. I went back up to my boat and got super focused, The next 30 seconds of rapid dropping 50-60 feet; was an awesome feeling with a styling line had by both sean and me. Dan and Marty ran the bottom half and had equally fun lines, our group was feeling great!
The last big drop of the run is the great falls portage, we just portaged quick due to time issues and decided to scout the bottom 20 footer. Sean and I stepped up to run it; Sean boofed but didn't clear out very far and hit a rock pretty hard. Before they could tell me, I was in my boat and luckily flying off the boof. I love that feeling of hitting a boof so well that you disconnect from the water, pull those legs up so your flying flat and then stomp in down at the last second; having control in the air is a difficult skill to master but so fun when you nail it.
The hike out at chukar was hot as usual, but only a half an hour so not to bad. On the long drive back to boulder I had time to think about this trip and how much fun it was but at the same time it just wasn't the same without Christian in there firing it off with us!
The season should still have another month left down there and I can't wait to get back in there and fire it up, I'll shut up now and post some pics.

Sean lee, looking like wigston

Coming out of the narrowest part of the canyon, the narrows!

Nick Abrams on ball crusher (I wonder how it got that name?)

Marty on the 18 footer that is more like 10 feet

A little something to supplement Nick and my ribs

The canyon at night

Me boofing the second part of next generation

Sean, Dan, Marty dropping the second part of next generation

Sean Lee boofing the shallow 20 footer

Me about to go flying

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