Thursday, August 16, 2007

Boof Against the Odds slides back into home

I finally have arrived back in Asheville after an incredible summer of boofing against the odds. Before BOA was officially kicked off in June, I was able to warm up by kayaking in California, North Carolina and Colorado. I paddled the Nordheimer section of the Salmon river and South Silver in California, then back to Old Faithful, the Green River in North Carolina, and then back west to Oh Be Joyful in Colorado and competed in the Homesteak Creek Race (3rd place). This was all to get in shape for the Boof Against the Odds fundraiser, where Stacy Heer, Robin Betz and myself were trying to paddle 300 miles in the months of June and July (61 days).

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.

A week at First Descents

On July 20th I drove to Vail to spend a week with First Descents, a kayaking camp for young adults with cancer. This was an amazing experience to meet and spend time with people my own age who had also battled cancer. This was the first time I had been around so many cancer survivors, or in a place where those who had had cancer outnumbered those who had not.

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.