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Jeff
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  Quote Jeff Replybullet Topic: Rock Creek Epic...
    Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 6:35pm
Ok, so since no one else from the trip has posted anything on this, I will and allow the S*&tstorm of comments about our judgement begin to fly.  Say what you like, but if you weren't there, you don't know the exact situation, so leave the BS chest thumping and name calling out of it (please).  We made some mistakes, but ultimately we finally got it right and we all got out safe and with all our gear.  We learned from it and have now moved on.  So here goes..We headed down to the Lewis Drainage on New Years day with hopes of running CC or the Falls, or something else big and exciting.  We eventually opted for Rock Creek as a warm up run and planned on running something big on friday based on water levels. We followed Bennetts directions, but couldn't find anything resembling the put in (according to the milesages given in the book) where it should have been.  (Mistake #1 - Unsure of put-in).  We finally found a likely put it on RD 1210 where the river came close to the road.  We chose to put in there, late in the day (Mistakes #2, 3, 4 - Not the normal put in, late in the day, unfamiliar with the run).  We eventually got to the river after much bushwacking, and it started off fast.  The river was just above it's banks and we were anticipating it to rise more due to the rain falling (Mistake #5 - River flooding).  We were on our toes from the start what whith the very rapid water and high potential for wood/strainers.  We portaged numerous times and were able to dodge, dive, dip, duck and dodge our way around a few more (Mistake/Danger #6 - High number of logs/wood).  We found "Little Rascal" and there was nothing little about it.  It was a massive pour over ledge (approx. 8')that we had to run blind and we all agreed it was rather sporting, but a slight bit scary.  No swims, but it did flip a few of us.  Further down, we encountered mode wood, which we were able to duck, some more successfully then others (I got my bell rung and cracked the plastic visor on my helmet).  At some point, enough infeeders had joined up with the run that we were now on a raging torrent of muddy water, late in the day, and not sure exactly how much farther we had to go.  We got out to scout around an ominous looking bend in the river only to find that we couldn't see what was below, only that there looked to be a lot of gradient loss and serious wood potential.  After much discussion about where we were, the time, and the danger level, we decided to walk off (Finally, a smart decision!)  Luckily two of the guys on the trip were pretty sure which side the road was on (Mistake #??) - not having an escape plan) and we were able to bushwack our way up and out of the canyon and about 30 min through the woods (It was dark by this point) and make it to a farmhouse where we were able to use a phone.  We attempted to call our shuttle drivers, but we didn't know their phone numbers and coverage was spotty at best, so we had no way to let them know we were ok (Mistake - not having a plan in place about what to do in the event of an emergency/overdue return).  We did call the local 911 dispatch center to inform them that if they got a report of missing kayakers that we were out and ok.  This proved fortuitous, because about 10 min later as we were waiting for the nice old guy who lived at the house to give us a ride, 911 called back and they had just gotten a report of us being missing and wanted to confirm that we were the same party they had a report of.  Eventually, we made it back to the takeout and to our patiently (if not distraught and slightly pissed) shuttle drivers.  A lot of bad decisions were made, and at each one we were aware of the consiquences and how they could drastically impact the situation, however once you are in a situation, you often have no choice but to continue on to try and improve it.  Knowing when to make the call to bail on a run is tricky, and takes judgement.  I believe after this trip, we have a better understanding of that fact.  Should we have just bailed on the whole thing?  Quite possibly.  But we didn't.  We tempted fate and this time we made it out unscathed, but definatly much wiser for the experience.  I don't place blame on anyone for the decisions that were made, since we agreed as a group on all of the decisions that we took.  I don't care to undertake this type of situation again any time soon.  I'm sure I'm leaving out details that I have forgot (or blocked from memory) so if anyone else that was on the trip cares to put their two cents in, I wold appreciate it.  Hopefully others can learn from our mistakes and be able to make more informed decisions in the future.  Have at it!  BTW, I still had a good time on the run, even if I did pee in my wetsuit (just a little!) from fear! haha!
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Wiggins
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  Quote Wiggins Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 6:49pm

Sounds like I lucked out by not going!

I was wondering what you guys did when the EF Lewis blew out.
 
Glad you are all ok and have your gear!
 
Kyle 
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lazaruslong1108
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  Quote lazaruslong1108 Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 6:58pm
Glad you guys are okay, sounds like a crazy trip. Thanks for sharing, so all of us can learn from this.

eli
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  Quote dragorossinw Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 7:10pm

While they were going through that crap, I was surfing a sweet wave, in peace, listing to IPod tunes just 3 miles downstream. 

Jeff - how'd the super glue on your helmet hold up for day 2?
Tony Z
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JoesKayak
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  Quote JoesKayak Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 7:23pm
Glad you all came out OK.

Trying to think of where you guys put-in. I ran that once and the put-in was a bridge on the main road... but my memory is spotty.
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  Quote RemAcct2 Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 7:33pm
I am not going to be as hard on ourselves as Jeff, but we should have gotten local beta on the run (I had gotten beta on the EF falls section thinking that was what we were going to do). The main risk; what scared me; was high water (minimal eddies) and lots of wood.

In other news, I broke my Habitat on the Tilton. The boat was almost two years old, so let's see if wavesport will send a new hull for a reasonable price.
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  Quote Kiwi Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 8:08pm
what drop did you break your boat in on the tilton?
and what was the level?
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  Quote RemAcct2 Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 8:13pm
I think the level was around 3k; don't know the drops on the river. Tilton is a read and run river for me, so drop names don't stick in my memory as well. Was a boof flake. The boat was ready to break. Nothing extraordinary caused the break.
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  Quote Kiwi Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 8:19pm

I've only run it in a playboat and I it's read and run for me too, I just can't see a boat breaking in only 2 years! especialy at that level because everything is covered and it's more big water. that sucks, but on the other hand, you can buy a brand new boat!

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  Quote RemAcct2 Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 8:23pm
I hope Wave Sport will sell me a hull. Outfitting is in good condition, and it shouldn't break going over a boof flake... Now, you mentioned the rocks would be covered up at the flow, and you are correct. It was a minor drop with an interesting line...that I regret taking. I was lucky I had duct tape with me.
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  Quote PowWrangler Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 9:20pm
I tried reading but got a headache.  Paragraphs are your friend.
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Jeff
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  Quote Jeff Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 9:21pm
Hey Tony,
  Superglue is still holding strong!  Thanks!
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BRoss
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  Quote BRoss Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 9:24pm
Nice TR Jeff, glad things worked out!
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  Quote chipmaney Replybullet Posted: 05 Jan 2009 at 10:51pm
I think Jeff was a little hard on us.  Yes, we put on late, but we were pretty sure of the put-in, just took us a little while to be sure (hence the late put-in).  Yes, there was a lot of wood, but the river is only a Class III, so we were all very comfortable with being able to avoid it.  It was sometimes hard to boat scout, though.

When we hit Class IV with flooding and wood and darkness looming, we took off the river.  That was the right decision, and I am pretty comfortable with all the decisions we made the entire day.  Fact is, it's the PNW, and you have to deal with wood.  And, sometimes you're not going to know what you're getting into b/c it's an obscure run.  Rock Creek only runs at high flows, and the potential for a beta was slim to none, particularly if Tony didn't have any info.

Only change I would make:  Leave Seattle at 6 instead of 8.  Then we would have had plenty of daylight and could have made it all the way out in out boats.

Other notes:

We realized the main road bridge was the proper put-in, but decided to put-in upstream because the run seemed pretty short.  We put-in a mile or two upstream on a little side road.  Not recommended in the future, as there aren't many features between there and the main put-in. 

Fortunately, Leif broke his boat near the end in the river-wide ledge below Leap of Faith and just above the last drop (the long boulder garden).  The entire feature was underwater at 3k, but Leif somehow managed to find the shallowest point in the ledge.
sitting all alone on a mountain by a river that has no end
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  Quote ALCOHOLIC Replybullet Posted: 06 Jan 2009 at 3:31am
Careless and irresponsible! Jesus! Gimme a break! You kayakers are out of control and they are going to shut down all our rivers,,, ruin it for everyone why dong you! give us all a bad name you selfish baastards! Lesson # 69: bring a bottle of whiskey next time, who cares if you lost when you have whiskey... Maybe some good cocaine too, so you can keep hiking all night ya know, DUH.
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  Quote Liz Replybullet Posted: 06 Jan 2009 at 6:29am
I'm glad you are all ok.  Thanks for posting for our benefit...
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  Quote Kiwi Replybullet Posted: 06 Jan 2009 at 8:06am
that ledge was the one that I thought if someone could break a boat in they would. bummer.
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  Quote septimus prime Replybullet Posted: 06 Jan 2009 at 9:31am
Jeff, I thought it was E-P-I?
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  Quote justin Replybullet Posted: 06 Jan 2009 at 11:52am
Hey, I'm glad that everyone is o.k. 

I sure have learned this year, that it is a good idea to start super early on runs that are committing during the winter.
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  Quote Wiggins Replybullet Posted: 06 Jan 2009 at 5:42pm
Lief,
 
I talked to Charles at Aquasports about new boat hulls about a month ago and he said that new hulls for all the boats he sells are around $300.
 
Hope this helps,
 
Kyle
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  Quote tradguy2 Replybullet Posted: 07 Jan 2009 at 4:57pm
Originally posted by PowWrangler

I tried reading but got a headache.  Paragraphs are your friend.
... preparing for a river beating!     
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Jeff
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  Quote Jeff Replybullet Posted: 08 Jan 2009 at 6:55pm
My appoligies for lack of proper paragraph format.  Usually I'm pretty anal about that along with grammer and punctuation.  I was in a rush and my computer was acting up.
  Hope to be back on the water (instead of just surrounded by it as I currently am in Duvall) this weekend!
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 09 Jan 2009 at 8:14pm
WAIT!! This thread MUST NOT end before I put MY 2 cents in!!

Sounds like it may have been epic-ish. But so what? Like you said it's good experience.  Yeah, you stacked up a pile of variables in a potentially precarious way, but sounds like you did all right.

I've said it once (or more times) and will say it again: Chumps who sit in front of their computers who judge you with scorecards regarding experiences you have on the river don't understand what the spirit of kayaking is all about.

In other words, sometimes, the spirit of kayaking is all about what you just experienced.
It's all gotten so easy. From gear, boats, beta, the internet, road developement ect. What would this sport be without a little ADVENTURE once in a while? The important thing is to know how to manage these variables and risks in a way that provides you with an escape hatch when Sh*t goes pear shaped on you, and to be able to keep your group dynamic tight through it all.

That's why spacing is so key on the river. you need to be able to respond to a situation quickly with your group in tact, because being sperated makes any adverse situation WORSE. By keeping your group tight, you can combine your thinking and select the best decisions.

IMO, having a few trips go like that once in awhile really stretches you and makes you a better paddler. Period. As long as no one got hurt, no harm no foul. Hope you enjoyed the trip regardless.

Probabaly the single most important detail that I picked out concerns the short winter days, and the need to leave town EARLY to accomodate the unforeseen.

Well done!
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