If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

2015: Post 26 – Whitewater Weekend

Brian proposed we go to the Ruins at the Terra Nova River this weekend for some variety in our kayaking lives. He had a kayak to loan Tony, who had not done any whitewater before, and Tony agreed to give it a try.  He would paddle and camp with us on his way to visit his sister; Terra Nova is about the halfway point to where his sister lives, so it broke up the drive for him.  

I had a few introductory lessons, taught by the late Jim Price, on the Terra Nova river a few years back, but beyond that the extent of my whitewater endeavors have been taking my Pyranha InaZone 232 to the pool.  Pete and Gary would be going as well, so Tony and I knew we'd be well looked after.  

This weekend was good timing to get on a river.  After I got my Jackson Karma RG earlier this year  I had sold my Inazone and my old whitewater paddle and put the proceeds toward a new Werner Sherpa paddle.  I ordered it from Western Canoeing and Kayaking,  and it showed up on Thursday.  I have to say those guys were excellent to deal with...  Even though they had already put their spring orders in to Werner, they got my order added to it.  The paddle showed up to their store right about when they said it would, and they promptly got it out the door and shipped to me. 

Anyway...  I met Tony and Gary at the TCH Irving Station, and we headed down the road for the three hour drive.  

When we arrived at the campsite we set to work and put up tents and tarps. The forecast was for rain later on and we wanted to have our camp set up before we got on the river...


Brian and Pete showed up shortly after we arrived and they set up their accommodations by the old building just up the path from us...



We had a quick lunch and geared up.  It was a short carry to where we would put in.  My RG is a heavier boat so I simply dragged it behind me up the trail.  The water level was low since we had not had much rain in the last while...




Although it was Tony's first time on the river, if he had any qualms about it it did not show... he looks pretty stoked for his first launch here on the Terra Nova....




... and here is is up ahead of Pete and Gary surfing on a little wave...



... and here he is heading down river...




I took a little video of da boys.... 


video


After a while we moved down river a ways and we practiced peeling into and out of eddies.  I remembered my instruction from before and had less trouble with it, but it was fun watching Tony trying to get it right.  Here's a clip of one of his better entries into an eddy....

video


We moved on down and got out of our kayaks to size up the water flowing through the pillers of an old bridge.  The water was low but we decided to run through the middle opening...  It wasn't anything spectacular, but I do wish I would have stayed on shore to get a few pics or a video of the guys as they came through...  



We picked our way down the rest of the river, stopping here and there to play a little...





When we reached the end of the line we pulled out kayaks up onto the grass and Tony, Gary and I walked back to get the cars while Brian and Pete stayed with the kayaks...




Back at camp it was time to get some supper on the go...






Then we had a few drinks and had a few laughs under Big Yellow, and lit a campfire as it got a little darker... 






There was talk about Jim Price as well, who had suddenly passed away very recently . In our neck of the woods, Jim was well known in our paddling world.  If it involved a canoe, or a sea or whitewater kayak, he seemed to be able to do it all, and he seemed to enjoy teaching his knowledge and skills  to anybody who was willing to learn.  I would say that almost all paddlers around here knew Jim to varying degrees, and I think Jim taught most of us some kayaking at one time or another.  

I told my story about when I was a newbie paddler and kept capsizing on a pond during my Level 1 Sea Kayaking course with Jim... After about the third time Jim put me back in my kayak he asked me "... has anyone showed you the Eskimo rescue?"  It wasn't part of the course but he taught me the rescue right then.  I think I was slowing things down, having to be rescued each time.  I did not pass the course then, but obtained my certificate about eight months later... that's a funny story involving Jim but I'll leave it for campfires... 

Pete told us about when he did a river course with Jim some years back...  Jim had passed him.  Then the next year Pete decided to do the course again just because he had enjoyed it.  Jim failed him that time around....  We had a good laugh at that...

I think most everybody who knew Jim Price can probably tell a good yarn about the man...  During our reminiscing Tony suggested we all raise our drinks in a toast to 'ol Jim...






The next morning we had breakfast and broke camp, packing all our gear into the cars...




Tony had planned to paddle again with us Sunday morning but his hip was bothering him,  and so he decided he would head off down the road to his sister's.  Then Pete decided he wasn't going to paddle this morning.  We were down two men, but Brian, Gary, and I geared up and headed up the path again.  

We all seemed a little slow this morning.  It had rained a good bit during the night and nobody slept particularly well.  The water level was up a little from the rain.  As we paddled and played a little we started to perk up a bit..




Here's a clip of Gary having a little fun... 


video


Further down the river there is a spot where the water recirculates over a rock... Brian told me it was a spot Jim often used to teach when doing courses at The Ruins... I watched Brian for a while...


video


... and we took turns having a go at it.  Then Gary came over and we spent a bit of time there, taking turns.  Gary took my camera and shot a four minute video but it is too large to be accepted to put onto this blog... So I figured out how to upload it to Youtube... click HERE; Gary added a bit of funny commentary... 

From there we carried on down the river...  




... and made our way to the take-out and then walked back for the cars...



I have to say I enjoyed another trip to The Ruins on Terra Nova River.  It was fun practicing and relearning the things I was taught a few years back.  Playing on the river in a whitewater kayak serves to help us sea kayakers learn better boat control; there's a lot of edging involved, and you learn how to be better at reading the water... it's all good stuff.  But I have to caution that, like the ocean, it is a dangerous place.  

Thanks to Gary, Pete, and Brian for their guidance and watchfull eyes.  You guys made it a safe and fun experience for both myself and Tony.  Maybe we should make it a yearly trip, if not a couple times a year!


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