Thursday, August 16, 2007
So here is the breakdown of the miles we were able to accomplish:
June 1- Day one of Boof Against the Odds!
Tommy, Scott and I kicked off BAO by paddling 8.1 miles, putting on at the Barrell Springs section of the Colorado and following it down to Tommy's house.
Day 2, I had come down with some kind of bug already and decided not to get into the water. I figured if I rested, it would go away and I would get better faster and paddle more whitewater.
Day 3, I paddled the same section of the Colorado with my brother, logging another 8.1 miles.
Then I left for California! So far I had logged 16.2 miles, driving on day 4 and 5 to pick up Robin on Day 6
Day 6, I picked up Robin in Reno at the airport and we head to the Truckee River. We paddled there with loaded boats to get in some kind of practice before paddling the hooha with them. We logged 2 miles on the river and then hiked 2 miles through the urban jungle back to the dirtpatch mobile. This is when I decided that hiking with a kayak should count as miles because it is actually much harder to carry your kayak than for your kayak to carry you.
hey, it's our fundraiser, we get to make the rules. :) So, here we logged 4 miles.
We drove to meet Jason Hale on day 7 and went hiking with him up to Donner Summit, waiting to see if the Middle Kings was going to run and if the boys were going to meet us there to run it. On day 8 we drove to run Cherry Creek of the Tuolomne (Cherry Proper), which I think we ran on day 9, giving us 9 more miles.
We drove to set shuttle for the Middle Fork of the Kings adventure on day 10, and began hiking on day 11. Team Idaho, Team Sketch and Team Vermont were with Tdub and ourselves (the dirtpatch) on that part of the journey. We paddled on days 12-14 before I had an epic swim/hiking/camping adventure on day 15. I hitchhiked back to meet the rest of the crew (who paddled the Garlic Falls section of the Kings) on day 16. Before driving back to Lake Tahoe to stay with our girl, Molly, we had logged 29 miles of kayaking and 12 miles of hiking, bringing us to 54 miles in California. So, now we had a total of 70.2 miles!
On day 21 I met Stacy in Hood River Oregon. We decided to do an overnighter on the Clackamus River and logged another 29 miles there on days 22-23.
The next few days we spent around Hood River. About day 24, Stacy and I met up with Lana and ran the Green Truss logging 4.9 miles. Stacy got lit up by some bees that day, taking 15 stings to the face and ears. Day 25 I paddled the Truss again with Lana, Heather and Christie G (ladies' trip!), then went to run the Little White that afternoon with Keel, Jay, Ian and Evan logging 5.5 on the Ldub and 4.9 on the Truss. Day 26, I spent with the ladies on the Lower Wind River logging 5 miles and running some water falls that were really pretty.
Day 27, I paddled the Ldub again with Matt Gaudette and Chris Jones. And finally, on the last day in Hood River (day 28) , we paddled down one last time on the Ldub with Matt, Jay, Keel, Ryan, Boone, and Russell. That was a really fun group and I finally fired up Spirit with Jay and Keel setting safety from below. That was 11 miles for those two days.
So all together in Hood River, we logged 55.4 miles, totaling 125.6 miles for the entire trip so far!
I drove to Boise to meet up with Stacy on day 29, and spent day 30-32 in Boise with Stacy and Collin.
On July 3rd, day 33, Stacy and I put in on Marsh Creek, which feeds into the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. We had a great time logging 118 miles on that creek and the rest of the MFS during the next few days, taking out on July 6th.
On day 37 we drove to the North Fork of the Payette, running the top five miles on day 38. It took us 2 more days to run 2 miles of the middle 5 and all of the bottom five due to lots of scouting and one boat going down in a blaze of glory. (logging 12 miles)
On day 41, we paddled the entire South Fork of the Payette from around mile marker 30 to the confluence with the North Fork. The river winds away from the road, and after looking at the information on AW's website, I believe we paddled about 35 miles.
Therefore in Idaho, we totaled 165 miles. Bringing us up to a total of 290.6 miles! Stacy and I then decided to head back to Colorado to finish the Boof against the Odds Challenge there.
Back in Colorado!
Stacy and I had the opportunity to paddle with the wonderful people from Pike's Peak Whitewater Club on day 45, after spending some Q-T with my nephews. We paddled the Arkansas from Pinnacle Rock through the Royal Gorge to get a total of about 19 miles.
On days 50- 56 I had the opportunity to spend a week with First Descents outside of Vail, Colorado. During that week, we paddled Shoshone twice (2x2=4 miles) , a section of the Colorado near the Dotsero exit on I-70 (about 5 miles), the section from the take-out of Shoshone to Glenwood Springs (about 5 miles), and the Pumphouse section of the Eagle River (about 5 miles). We racked up 19 miles that week! Giving us 38 miles for this trip to Colorado and brining the total up to 328.6 miles!
Boof Against the Odds was finished in Alaska on days 60 & 61 on the Copper River in Alaska! It was so beautiful and a perfect way to end this unbelievable summer. There was no way to tell exactly how many miles we did those first two days of the five day trip, but I would guess it was about 35 miles. 10 the first night and probably about 25 the next day. Bringing the grand total of Boof Against the Odds first summer challenge to.... 363.6 miles!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The final days of Boof Against the Odds were spent in Alaska of all places. I flew there the day after I left First Descents. Alaska is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Scott Dillard, who I paddled with on the first days of the fundraiser lives in Fairbanks and I finished up BAO on a river with him again along with some of his friends that were in California with us on the warm-up trip to the Cal-Salmon. The summer was really coming full circle now.
Cindy and Dave
When I first got to Alaska, Scott picked me up at the airport and we went fishing with his mom, Cindy, and his dad, Dave. To get to the river we were fishing on, Dave flew me in his super cub float plane. It was incredible to fly there and to see Fairbanks from the air. We caught several Pike that evening. Cindy and I caught the big ones (a first for me) and we ate them for dinner!
We spent the night on the river and fished some more. The sun set around 9 or so and just stayed a sunset for hours, well past midnight. The next morning we flew back to Fairbanks and drove to meet 18 of Scotts friends to float down the Copper River.
This was an amazing Alaskan adventure with a stellar group of really funny people. With 20 people, 5 rafts, and two dogs and lots of ammunition to protect us from the bears, we were quite a crew. I felt as we traveled down the river like one of the Pirates or Peter Pan's lost boys, finding adventure along the way.
We put on the same night after returning from fishing trip. It was a little chilly and raining, luckily that weather did not last for the rest of the week like that. We barely missed our planned campspot and were forced to continue down stream as it began to get dark. Fortunately we found a good spot that night and even ended up with a few Copper River salmon to eat for dinner. As we continued each day down stream, the river grew and grew. It was the largest moving body of water I have ever been on. It was difficult not to get stuck in huge eddies that take forever to paddle out of. We stopped at several beaches on the banks to get out and explore.
Dan and the potato gun
One beach was known for having a lot of bears, so we stopped to check them out. When we got out of our raft, the sand was covered in huge bear prints. It looked like hundreds of bears had been there that morning walking the beach. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I didn't get a chance to see one, but a few people in our crew saw a big grizzly bear when they first landed on the sand.
Scott amongst the paw prints
We also saw lots of seals that had come up from the Prince William Sound, and plenty of bald eagles. The river itself was a relaxing class II, but with a swift current to keep it interesting. The scenery was incredible.
Everywhere you looked there were beautiful waterfalls pouring down into the river and glaciers which looked like frozen lakes tilted and perched on the sides of the steep mountains.
On the last day, we paddled across a lake for a few miles. It was cloudy and I could hear what sounded like thunder in the distance. The sound grew louder as we continued downstream. Finally Scott told me that the thundering sound was coming from an enormous glacier a mile ahead. When we reached the glacier, we parked downstream and hiked up and watched iceburgs calving off the face of the glacier. As they fell, they would make a loud booming sound, and sometimes form huge waves. One wave was so big that it picked up our rafts and moved them 10 feet up the bank. It was a strange feeling to watch skyscraper size chunks of ice suddenly break off and crash down into the river. It was an amazing experience, another simple life adventure coming to an end.
When I first arrived at camp, I met Tex, Crampster and Beef, 3 of the couselors and we all went to paddle Shoshone together. It was great to be on the river with these guys. The next day we met the campers. They were an interesting group and so much fun to get to know.
On the first full day of camp, we all drove to a large pond and taught the campers how to wet exit. Many of them had never been in a kayak before and were really apprehensive about pulling their spray skirt. It was amazing to watch them conquer their fears and join us in a game of kayak polo by the end of the session. Even more amazing was watching them get out on the river the very next day and paddle through rapids.
The first river day was on a section of the Colorado near the Dotsero exit on I-70. I am not exactly sure how many miles, but it was at least 5 or more. Then we all went to run Shoshone again. The campers rafted it and Beef, Buttons, Crampster, Mateo and I paddled it. Also Forrest and Tex took two of the campers down in Topo Duos.
The next river day we took the campers from the take out of Shoshone into Glenwood Springs. It was a beautiful day and the campers styled the river. I was amazed at how quickly they progressed in just 3 days.
We took a day off to go rock climbing and to ride the Gondola in Vail the next day to rest up before the biggest challenge for the campers. The final river day we paddled the Eagle River 'Pumphouse' section I think it is called. It begins at the takeout for Gore canyon. It was my favorite day on the river with the campers. They did so well out there. Several of them tried surfing, and a few got their first rolls.
I had such a good week with First Descents. It was so good for me to have the opportunity to talk with them about my experience the past year and learn from their experiences. I think this camp is a valuable experience for those who choose to go. I can't wait to spend another week there next summer.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
After my diagnosis with colon cancer, this group of people (who I had not even met yet), headed up by Mike Brown put forth a huge effort to raise money to help me with all the medical bills I had aquired. By doing so, they gave me the encouragement and support I needed to continue going through the treatments. I will forever be a huge fan of PPWC, and will always feel a special connection to them.
Stacy and I had never paddled this section of river before, and we had such a great time with the crew there. We did some surfing and just had so much fun cruising through the rapids.
The Royal Gorge was a really cool place to see. The rapids were fun class IV between tall rock walls. We saw some Big Horned Sheep and a deer next to the river. We also crossed under the Royal Gorge Bridge (possibly one of the highest spanning bridges in the world... or at least that is what we were told) and also a ramp a few hundred feet off the water that someone said Evil Kinevil tried to jump across the river on (that may just be the legend, as told by Daniel).
We had so much fun paddling with everyone from PPWC, and really hope to paddle with them again sometime. Thanks so much to those guys for paddling with us and also for all the support given to me through the hard times last year.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
We decided to paddle only the top 5 miles the day we arrived. That section was great fun, but we spent a lot of time scouting these really long, continuous rapids.
The next day, we planned to paddle the the next 10 miles to the confluence. After the first mile, Stacy and I got out to scout another long rapid, and as we were looking at it, we see Robin's blue Jefe I had been paddling come screaming down the middle of the rapid on its own. Apparently I had not pulled the kayak far enough out of the surging river. We went scrambling down the bank, but there was no way we were going to catch that boat.
So, to make a long story short, we found the boat pinned a half mile down stream in the middle of the river. We unpinned it and knew the boat was passed the point of ever again floating down another river.
Fortunately my boat from Pyranha had just arrived in Boise, so we were able to pick it up and try again the next day. We put on right where we had taken off the day before and continued working our way downstream. After tons of scouting and some portaging, we decided it was going to take us forever at this pace and we skipped the next 2 miles and put on at the top of the bottom 5.
We met a guy named Ben who paddled these 5 miles with us to the confluence. It was such a great 5 miles, and more melow than the middle 5 had been. So, all in all we had completed 13 miles of whitewater (in only 3 days).
To make up for lost time, we paddled the South Fork of the Payette the next day from the top (around mile marker 30) to the confluence. It is a beautiful deep gorge, complete with incredible riverside hotsprings. At the end of the day, we loaded up the Matrix and headed to Colorado.
one of the more interesting signs we saw while exploring the area
This is a picture from our last camp. We left on July 6th and paddled all the way 5 miles past the normal cache bar take out to the end of the road take out. It was great paddling so many miles through wilderness. I definatly plan to return one day and take more time to fully explore this magical place.
Monday, July 02, 2007
So, after our last post, Stacy and I met up with a cool girl in Hood River named Lana and ran the Green Truss for the first time in 5 years. That river is so fun, especially Big Brother. The kayaking part was awesome, but there was a mini epic that happened on the banks. Basically the mini epic involved one dropped and lost paddle, hand paddling a large portion of the river, and Stacy getting lit up by at least 15 bees that we know of and then a slightly early hike out to get Stacy some Benadryl.
The next day, I paddled the Truss again with Lana, Heather and Christie G. It was so fun to be on the river on a ladies trip. We fired up Big Brother and BZ Falls.
That afternoon, Lana and I caught up with my friend Jay (originally from Tennessee) and Keel and Ian (who was on the middle kings with me) and Evan and ran the Little White. It was really beautiful there and we had a great, and uneventful run. Ian and Evan and Keel all fired off Spirit and it was so fun to watch them. I wasn't quite feeling it yet, so I decided to save Spirit for the next time (or the next).
The day after that, I paddled the Ldub again with Matt Gaudette and Chris Jones.
And finally, on the last day in Hood River, we paddled down one last time on the Ldub with Matt, Jay, Keel, Ryan, Boone, and Russell. That was a really fun group and I finally fired up Spirit with Jay and Keel setting safety from below.
Then I hit the road for Boise. Stacy and I are here together again with her man, Collin, the firefighter from CA. We are beginning the Idaho/possibly Montana phase of the trip.
A year ago today, Stacy and I were together in Honduras kayaking the Rio Cangrejal. We didn't realize that that would be the last time I would be kayaking until that one day on Thanksgiving, or that we wouldn't be paddling by ourselves on the river again until the Clackamus almost a year later. If you have time, check out the 2006 archives of this blog and you will see how the whole cancer thing completely took us by surprize two days later. Stacy and I are planning a secret river trip for the 4th of July, celebrating life and independence, exactly one year after C-day.
Nothing in my life has so profoundly stopped me in my tracks and forced me to take a closer look. Life is so amazing and such a gift, and I am, especially now, treasuring these sunny river adventures, peak adventures, and even a few misadventures turned peak adventure with people who are amazing and who also get it.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Stacy and I are back on the road together for the first time in awhile. We are in north west Oregon in the Hood River area. Last time we were paddling here was back in '02. Wow, time flies.
After I left California, I drove up to Hood River and met up with Stacy who just got finished fighting fires in the east. I am sans kayak right now, except for Robin's broken Jefe. I took my borrowed leaky vessel along with Stacy and ran the Clackamas river, 29 miles of class II-IV in the beautiful Ponderosa Pine forest of north west Oregon.
It was fun to be back on the river, living out of my kayak. I could get used to that.
On the way to the put in we did a 3 mile side hike to Bagby Hotsprings. They were amazing! We did an early morning hotsprings tour and then went to put on the Clackamas.
Shortly after we put on, we paddled to the Austin hotsprings, right on the side of the river. The water was so hot(boiling) that it melted the vinyl mastic (sp?) on the Jefe and it began to leak for the rest of the run. Here is Stacy perched between the incredibly hot hotspring, and the incredibly cold river.
The river was pretty mellow, but was filled in with these huge lava-esque rocks.
We ended up camping on a beautiful sand bar and built a camp fire. The wood was dry and Stacy contemplated setting the woods on fire to give her firefighter friends some work. However it bagan to rain as the sun began to set. We had to batton down the hatches under a rainfly(the first picture is us battoning down). It was another adventure.
It continued to rain and was a balmy 53 degrees much the entire next day, but when we took off the river that afternoon we got to see 3 beautiful rainbows on the way back to Hood River.
The Adventure continues... We are glad to be here and happy that each time we go kayaking we get to help beat up on cancer and help those that are still fighting the battle.
Fight to the Finish!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Robin and I just got back from an epic trip to the Middle Fork of the Kings River in California with Tdub, Team Idaho, The Vermonters, and Team Sketch. I think it was definitely too big for my britches.
After our last post, Robin, Hale and I met with the McClaren brothers, and Boomer and did a practice run with loaded boats down the Cherry Creek section of the Tuolomne (Cherry Proper). We started to get our groove on through the big holes, seeing exactly what it feels like to get worked with gear in our boats. We were studying the river levels on Jason's blackberry, hoping to get on Middle Kings, but thinking it may be too low. But we got the word from Grace and Tommy that we shouldn't worry and we should start running the eight hour shuttle with the Sketch mobile, the Dirtpatch mobile and Jason's pimp ride. To build our caloric reservoir, we must have eaten In-N-Out burgers at least 4 or 5 times in the day or two before we started hiking.
We made it to Bishop at 3am and found team Idaho camped out at the put-in for the hike at South Lake. We crashed for a couple of hours in the parking lot and woke up and put together our carrying systems and loaded our kayaks for the next 6 days of hiking and paddling.
Let me preface the next part of the story by saying it is not the greatest idea to run the Middle Fork of the Kings Canyon as your first overnighter in California. Or as your second attempt at paddling with a loaded boat. Or only 4 months after completing 12 rounds of chemotherapy. But it was a lofty and valient goal, and we gave it our best shot. If you do try this at home, make sure you bring your Jedi brother along with you.
Here is what we did:
12 miles of backpacking 90 pounds of gear over Bishop pass (12,000 ft of elevation)
Day 1 on the river, manky drops, lots of logs, steep, narrow boofs.
Sweet camping at Sick Camp.
Day 2 on the river, put on the shooshoo right away, bigger drops, big slide, water fall gorge (4 gorges total). One long portage for the dirt patch. One incredibly broken wrist (shout out to Dave...we missed you Dave, and wish you the best recovery) and an amazing evacuation by Ryan and Dave.
Emergency camping 4 miles short of our intended camping spot, waiting for Ryan to hike Dave back to the pass and rejoin our group.
Day 3 Ryan makes it to our camp by 10am. Then on the river, it was like the west prong and the Linville put together, but longer (16 miles). All was good, but burly. Thank goodness for the young gun probes. (shoutout to boomer, ian and tristen) Also, thank goodness that Tommy and John have such a great memory for where we were on that long section of river.
Sweet camping at Tehipite Valley under the dome.
Day 4- Robin's Birthday- Bottom 9- First of all, Robin stomped it down, but katie made it about 75% percent of the way down. Big hole birthday beatdowns. This is where I realized that I wasn't quite strong enough yet to paddle 9 miles of the hardest river I have ever been on with a loaded boat. So, while trying to keep up with everyone, and continuing to get beat down, I got super tired. Eventually I finally swam out of a big hole and lost all, including my shoes being sucked off my feet. As Jason put it, Middle Kings-1, Katie-0. The river swallowed my boat and gear and paddle and shoes and said maybe you should spend the night out here and think about what you've done.
This is where my brother came in (for probably the 12th time since we had put on) and rescued me. He gave me his headlamp, food, and a radio and I bushwacked through the thick, wild forest for 2 miles, climbing steep embankments, scaling cliff faces, and 'angry moosing' through the poison oak (which is currently covering 40 percent of my body). The rest of the group was forced to make it to camp before dark, and Tommy hung back and waited for me to make it back to the bank of the river. We were cliffed out on that side of the river, so he ferried me across on the back of his boat, and we tried to continue down stream, hoping "against the odds" to make it to camp by dark. We didn't make it, and ended up spending the night in an emergency bivi on an animal trail. We did some serious bonding, and pondering the decisions I had made that led up to us being in this situation.
Day 5- We left at first light and somehow made it back to camp before everyone woke up. We celebrated with eating a ton of potatoes, mac and cheese and oatmeal and one bottle rocket that Freddy had toted down the river. I hiked out there, 4 miles from yucca point and hitchhiked to the park entrance and awaited the rest of the crew to finish the Garlic Falls section of the Kings River (the last 20 miles of the trip). (Now Robin is talking here)... So after the bottom nine miles of the Middle Kings (aka, the scariest Birthday of my life), the river converges with the South Kings and we had twice the amount of water. Let me tell you even though we finished the Middle Kings the river gave us no mercy. The Garlic falls section was full of gigantic holes, huge burly boofs and tombstone rapids. It was all so good-to-go especially with the strong crew we had. Such a fun stretch of river, but I was really tired by this point and got beatdown in every hole possible. Basically we just 'mad-bombed' down this stretch so we could get back to car and find Katie. But it was like we were still running the gnar. The Sketch mobile had to fix their racks, change a flat tire, and then get a jump start, and our car had the most dirtpatch rack situation ever (towers falling down, and six boats and people crammed in). But luckily we had enough gas to find Katie awaiting us at the park entrance. We celebrated with pizza and beer.
After running another long shuttle, sleeping in the car and the dirt again, the only goal that Katie and I could focus on was how we would get our next shower and real bed. We found an amazing sanctuary on Lake Tahoe with team member Molly Malone and her mom and sister and lisa. Now we feel like we are almost normal again.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Grabbed Robin in Reno, we logged two miles on the Truckee River and two miles hiking through the urban jungle of Reno, the biggest small city in the world. It was like one of those lunch adventure magazines, simply an adventure.
We made it by that night to Lake Tahoe, stayed with some of Robins friends (shout out to Sue and Jeff and the whole massanutten crew). We met up with Hale and are waiting for some more of the boys to arrive and go run the hooha.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Below homesteak is a great section of river called Gilman's gorge (I think). Jules, Scott and I paddled this the day before the race.
On June 1st, the first day of BAO (Boof Against the Odds), Tommy, Scott and I ran 8.1 miles of the Colorado river. We put on at Barrell Springs and took off at Tommy's house in Glenwood Springs.
On the second day of BAO, I came down with something, so I rested up instead of paddling.
On day 3, Tommy and I paddled 8.1 miles of the same section of the Colorado, taking out at his house. So fun! So officially we are at 16.2 miles of river in 3 days. Not bad!
Stacy called today and said Robin is going to be in Reno on the 6th (wednesday), so I am heading out tonight to pick her up. Stacy is leaving in a few days to meet us in Cali after that. I can't wait to be paddling in the warm california sun with my girls!
Meanwhile, I am spending some QT with my nephews here in Glenwood Springs. They are so cute!
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I made it out to Colorado and my truck is still running like a scalded dawg! Kansas is so big and flat, but seeing the Rockies rise up in the distance was worth the drive. So beautiful!
The first stop was Lake Creek, where I watched my brother, Tommy, Pat and Jules run some huge rapids at high flows. It was beautiful there and the river was very impressive. It was fun to be hanging out with the boys, too.
Next stop was Oh Be Joyful. I really can't believe I have not been here before. It was one of the most beautiful places I've seen. We ran into lots of the Green River crew from Asheville when we got there. What a small world it is. This was the first time I have paddled with Tommy since last March, over a year ago. It was so fun to see his smiling face on the water. I kept looking around, and everywhere I looked it was sunny and beautiful! I love that place.
John, Tommy, Pat, Jules, Scott and I paddled the river once the afternoon we arrived, and then twice the next day before leaving for Tommy's house in Glenwood Springs. That makes it the 10th and 11th day of kayaking since finishing chemotherapy. Scott and I have now paddled in California, North Carolina and Colorado in the same week. That is definitely a first for me.
That night, we went to see a friend huck his meat off a 500 foot drop in Glenwood canyon-base jumping! wow, I have never seen anything like that before. The next day, he hucked his meat off a 800 foot drop in Rifle. I got vertigo for him, just watching. Amazing!
I am heading to Vail tomorrow and I am going to kick off the Boof Against the Odds challenge there at the Homestake race on June 1st. I am really excited to be out here paddling, and raising money for a good cause. Robin and Stacy will be joining the crew in a little more than a week. I can't wait to have the entire Dirtpatch out here in full force! We are hoping the water holds out for California. If not, we may be heading North.
We are still in need of pledgers to sponsor me per mile of river I run this summer after beating down cancer last year. All donations and pledges go to First Descents and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. If your interested in pledging, log onto www.simplelifeadventures.com and send us a pledge form.