Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dawn Patrol Dreaming.

"Getting Geared Up"

Thanks to Raphael Thiebaut for the photos.

Over the two weeks before the Green Race this year I did more dawn patrols than I had ever done before combined. I really grew to like it. Sometimes I was useless during the day but there is something about getting down to the river as the sun is rising that is really a cool feeling. There aren't many things that can start your day off as well.

"Going Left Early"

The day usually started at 5:30am wake up. Meet at the take out at 6:30am. Makr sure the water is running at the takeout. Transfer all the gear to the vehicle going to the top. Be at the top by 7:00. Walking down by 10 after and putting on the water around 7:20ish. The sun was up but not iluminating very much. So you are paddling into Frankenstien in a pretty awesome morning light. Some days there would be fog on the water and other days not. You would have to wake yourself up before heading into Go Left just to make sure you were paying attention.

"Boofing in the Fall"

And then there you would be running the monkey before most people get to work, and before some have finished breakfast. If we hung out a little at Gorilla the sun would just peak over the ridge in the lowest point and shine in on the slides below Gorilla. Just a whole new way of looking at a river that most of the time you don't even try to get on before 10:30-11:00 o'clock. The paddle out was really spectacular because if it was clear, the morning sun was lit up the fall colors on the ridges over the river.

"Paddling into the Sun"

Here is a video I made of "Dawn Patroling.

Dawn Patrol Dreaming Video, Click This!

Take it easy.
Wish I could be out there with you all in the rain.

Monday, October 23, 2006

It Rained! One New One, and the Raven's Fork.

Earning Our Turns on the Raven's Fork

All the photos are from the Raven's Fork by Raphael Thiebaut.

After the Moose Fest we didn't have a solid plan. We were thinking of going to the coast and doing some ocean surfing only problem was that there were no waves. None of the other rivers in New York or the surrounding area were running so that wasn't gonna work. We were thinking the New river in West Virginia but it was at an uninspiring level. The Gauley wasn't running so the options were getting thin. We finally decided to head down to Washington D.C. and mess around on the Potomac maybe run some new lines on Great Falls but as we were pulling into D.C. we got the news that North Carolina might have some rain on the way so the loose plan that we had started to change yet again. We stopped off at the Potomac to paddle a little bit, grab some dinner, and wait for rush hour traffic to die down then we started driving south.

First Drops

We woke up in the morning somewhere in N.C. within a few hours of Asheville. I started making phone calls as soon as I thought people would be up. The Asheville paddling hotlines were burning up. Everyone was calling around trying to figure out if anything was going to run because according to the rain gauges the western end of N.C. got anywhere from 1/10 to 3 inches of rain the night before but it was still coming down.

Toby in The Headless Horseman

The phone conversations that I had that morning were hilarious. It started out with people saying, "I don't know if anything is going to run it didn't rain much". I talked to several people all thinking that nothing was going to happen. An hour later the tune changed to, "well it looks like this might run and that might run we will just have to see". About a half hour after that it was," wow looks like we can run whatever we want". At this point I was getting really excited it looked like Raph and I had made a good choice to come all the way back south, but then the next call was, "Uh, oh it looks like everything might be too high". We rolled into to town and stopped off at Andrew Holcombes house to get a group together to go paddling and all the phone lines were hopping with activity. Who is going where, what is the level, what do you think the level is, is it good to go at that level. I heard so and so is going to run this with them and this group is going to do that.

Toby in Mortal Combat

Jeb called in and knew the thing to do. The Big East Fork of the Pigeon was probably running, he thought. You basically have to be there while its raining to get it, it takes a ton of water. We loaded up and went for it. When we rolled up to the take out to meet Jeb 3 other cars rolled in as well. In the end the group was 12 people. None of which had done the run before, except Jeb. The water was high. The group was nervous, but we decided to put on. It was the right decision. The river was, "On the high side of good" and it was amazing. At the put-in we ran into a guy named Garret who had been scoping the river out and gave us some great beta for the run. He has been mapping the river for a while but hadn't been able to get on it yet. Unfortunately he was working and couldn't jump on with us. We split our gang up into 3 groups and started working our way downstream. It was super continuous class 4 with some scouts thrown in to begin with. The eddies were small but manageable and the group did a great job of keeping spread apart enough. The first little bit of the run was sort of chunky, but maybe a half mile into it things became more structured and more bedrock like. I would guess that we scouted maybe 10 times total. There were probably 5 solid class 5 drops and no portages. It was a shitty rainy day but none of us cared at all. The run was fantastic. There is a very brief write up about it on the American Whitewater page. Its well worth it if you have a chance. For the most part it was super continuous class 3-4 with some good class 5 thrown in. The highlights of the day were, high water excitement, Philly Williams 21st birthday, The Three Tier Drop about half way down, A new run in the smokies, and not getting shut out on a big rain day. The only downside was that because it was raining all day we couldn't get any shots or footage. Which seems to be the case on this river. The only shots I have seen are shots of the river without any water in it.

Thats me in Mike Tyson's

When we got to the take out we paddled under the bridge just to check it out and found a gage on the bridge upstream, river right side. When we took out it said 1.8ish. I would guess that when we were at the take out at the beginning it was 2.5 but we didn't know the gage was there. At the put in it looked pushy but manageable.
Basically an awesome day.

What a day on the river!

The next day was a little more predictable. Most flows had dropped but there was one that was pretty much a sure thing. We got our little group together and headed up to the Raven's Fork. The water was a fair bit lower than I had seen but Toby and Andrew H. had both done it at this level so it was a go. The weather was unbelievable and the colors were starting to go off so it made for one of those perfect fall paddling days. Luckily Raphael was able to take photos on Raven's and I was able to get some great footage. The river was quite a bit different at 8 inches than it was at 12 that I had done before but it was still fantastic. The Raven's Fork is so much bang for the buck. Andrew ran Big Boy and super styled it. I wanted it bad but decided on the hike instead. Still not completely confident in the ribs I injured during the summer. Can't say enough about this run. At 8 inches it was super manageable, and much slower between drops. So if you haven't done it before I think this was an ideal level for your first time. A little higher might be better for Mike Tysons but everything was good to go at this level.

Enjoy the photos and video. Shane

"Later Emanuel"

Raven's Part 1 Video, Click This!
Raven's Part 2 Video, Click This!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Back on the Water!

So its been two months since the last post. So its time to get back on the ball. A week ago Wednesday i picked Raphael Thiebaut up from the airport in Charlotte. I went paddling with Raph in the French Alps earlier this summer so it was my turn to take him on a tour. The original plan was to take him right from the plane to the
Charlotte Whitewater park but his baggage was lost so we had to deal with that. But from that point on things have been full on and super fun.

Tuxedo Hydro Station will be running...

While we were driving home from the airport I called the Green and it said it was running till midnight which usually means the river will run the next morning but it may shut off at 7 am. So you have to get on the water early to make sure you have water. We were walking down the trail before daylight for Raph's first trip down the Green. Everyone had good lines and Raph fired up the Monkey on his first trip down the river.

The next stage of for trip was driving all the way up to the Moose River Fest. Just a short 14 hour van ride with a stop over at the Syracuse airport to pick up Raph's lost bags and we were paddling on the Black River on Friday. The Black is a really crazy paddling experience because you can actually show up a little before the release and sit in your boat and wait for the water to come and sweep you away over the first rapid, a long mellow slide and then over a 8-10 foot drop. Its one of the craziest ways I have ever started a paddling trip.

Standing on the falls before the release

Sandy running the falls with water

Local boy bagel running the "Poop Chute"

After the Black we headed up into the mountains for Moose Fest. Which I think ever paddler should experience atleast once. If you get to Slickers Pub in Old Forge N.Y. before 5 o'clock its cheap Spicey Shrimp during happy hour, and that is where most of the kayakers hang out anyway. Oh and don't forget to try the French Dip sandwich also. Friday night of Moose Fest has become a sort of pub crawl type event with different folks throwing parties at different bars. There was an interesting mix going on at Slickers it was the Confluence party with a Pirate Theme with lots of those kids paddle ball thingys being smacked around. Then over at the Tow Bar it was the Pyranha Pimp and HO theme. I didn't get to any of the other events so I missed out on them it was an fun evening. This crew knows how to have a good time.

Slickers Bar

Saturday started off awesome we had clear skies and decent temperatures until about noon. Unfortunately we waited for the race to start to go paddling because we wanted to see the mass start over Agers Falls. As soon as the race went by the clouds came in and a breeze from the North Pole came down the river and the temperature dropped I kid you not 10-15 degrees. When we got to my van it was 32 degrees. We paddled the river and went back to Old Forge, to get ready for the Festival.

Agers Falls

Freddie Racing the Pisgah

Pat dropping into Fowlersville

Knifes Edge

The Alpine Line of Crystal

Raph running Magilla

Pat on Magilla

The party happens inside a big community building so that we can get out of the weather. There is always a band and drinks and folks showing off their cool stuff. There was an awesome crowd I don't really know how many folks were there. We set up our booth and showed boats and premiered LVM number 20 that was cool We have sort of started a tradition up there of serving Apple Jack which is Hot Apple Cider and Jack Daniels folks lined up for it. I would guess that there were over 200 people for sure and it could have been closer to 300. Just as things were getting started it started to snow huge snow flakes and by the time it ended we had a few inches on the ground. So far I have been to the Moose Fest 3 times and every time it has snowed.

Snowing again at Moose Fest

Watching LVM 20

Chris and Chris, the organizers of Moose Fest

There are three great reasons to go to the Moose Fest. One the river is awesome. Two Chris and Chris do a great job of putting on the event, and Three I think the cold paddling weather brings the group together. The Black and Moose paddling community are an awesome group of folks that love hanging out, paddling, and partying together.

Here is a link to the Video I took on Sunday on the Moose.
Moose River Video, Click This!

All these awesome photos were taken by Raphael Thiebaut. Well except the shot of him. His website is:

Take it easy out there and get on the water.
more adventures with Raph coming soon.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Night Session on Garburator

Its been a while. Back on the blog with style.
Just did an awesome trip up to the Ottawa to help out with US team trials and Canadian Team Trials and the first two legs of the World Cup of Freestyle. The highlight of the whole trip was getting a gang together to go do a night session paddle on the Garburator wave on the Ottawa river. It was very cool. A little wierd at first but super cool. Here are some photos and a 10mb video that needs Quicktime 7 to run.
I hope you enjoy it.

For Video of the Night Garb Session, Click This!

Friday, July 07, 2006

French Alps Day 3: The Ubaye River

Raph On His Home River

Next stop the Ubaye River which is home turf for Raphael.
The Panda took Raphael and I back to his home in the Ubaye Valley. Raphael and his family live in a beautiful little village with about 10 other families on the canyon rim of the Ubaye river.

The Home Village

He works with a rafting company there and teaches kayaking, and takes photos. The whitewater pictures in this story were taken by him.
We ran into some other paddlers for our day on the Ubaye River. See if you know who they are. One of these guys runs a paddling program in The UK and Europe called Gene 17, and the other well hes just psychotic.

Simon Westgarth On Safety Patrol

Irish Dave, He Doesn't Drink You Know

There are miles and miles of the Ubaye to be paddled. I think we did about 8-10 miles. It is super scenic with views of some incredible mountains as well as some tight gorges and one waterfall coming in on top of your head in the river. Its the kind of day you just walk away smiling.

The Ubaye Shot From The Road Above

Bridge That Napolean Used On His Shuttle

Paddlers Shower

The biggest section is most of the way down the run. There are really three main rapids that I remember. Of course the names of the rapids elude me but they were both good fun. The first one was a nice boof in the middle of the river and then a quick boogey over to a small slot that the entire river goes through that tries to throw you on your head against the wall on the right. The second big rapid had a really cool boof on the right side of the river over a huge boulder in the river followed by a quick move over to the left through a few holes. These rapids were super classic easy class 5. I would imagine with more water there would be quite a bit of juice in this part of the gorge. With the water we had it was very well defined and padded so the water level was sweet. I believe the water level was chest high on a duck to be exact. Here are some shots of the main couple rapids.

Thats Me In The First Big One

The Sweetest Boof on the Run

We were up late with the locals the night before the run and the boys were telling me how much they love it when tourists come to paddle the Ubaye because they always find good gear down at the bottom of the river in the lake. It makes them feel like pirates.

I had a great day and long weekend paddling with the French paddling pirates. Can't wait to do it again.

Here is a video of the day on the Ubaye.
The Ubaye River in France, Click It

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

French Alps Day 2: The Guil River and Congratulations to France in the World Cup!

Zindane Is The Man!

Congratulations France for making it to the finals of the World Cup! I wish I could be there to party with you all.

Gotta Love Espresso, The Morning After

The second day of my trip in the Alps started a little late for some reason not really sure what happened. It had something to do with the Briancon Festeveal de Kayak. Thanks for that BFK, and Malique (Don't know how to spell his name). After a nice sleep and much needed coffee Raphael and I took off for the Guil river to paddle a classic. Its not very often in the U.S. that you get to put in in the shadow of a castle. Very cool.

Typical Normal Everyday Castle

Normal Castle Put In

The water was low because of the cool weather we were getting, but still a great time. The best part was the classic folks we ran into at some of the bigger sections. You have to love the playboat, kober paddle, motorcycle helmet combo. It was awesome. I will say one thing they were not afraid. The first part of the run passes through a tight gorge directly underneath the castle in the picture. The first canyon is tight enough that you do need to pay attention to not hit both sides of the river if you turn sideways.

Raph Boofing The Guil

Then the river opens up with a few bigger rapids, and then we dropped into a fun series of rapids right along the highway. There were a couple cool ones. I remember a triple drop and then this on that I think they called Anaconda. Not a super hard run but super fun, beautiful and crystal clear water.

Cool Anaconda Rapid

After the run we headed over to Raphael's house near the Ubaye river. Raph informed me that this was the ultimate shuttle vehicle in the Alps. Good gas mileage, 4 wheel drive, and stylish too. The only problem I had was the roof caving in from the boats being tied down only on a blanket.

The Ultimate French Shuttle Vehicle

The Village Where Raph Lives


Monday, July 03, 2006

The French Alps Day 1

Okay back on track! No really I swear. Its been a while since the last update. I kind of let it slide there. My fault.

Where was I... Oh yeah I was in France at the Lyon River Festival, but before the festival happened. I had a few days to be able to get away and paddle some in the French Alps.

David Arnaud, Creator of the Video In-Flux

I met up with David (Dah Veed) Arnaud and took off for the mountains. Its pretty amazing how the mountains just come out of nowhere there. Lyon is really down in the flat lands and you go through a fair bit of flats before you start getting close to Grenoble and then all of the sudden it all changes.

Church on the way up L'Onde

I love the bread in France. Notice the Bread Co. Year Started

The Alps are like Colorado but even bigger where we were. Maybe its just that we were further into the mountains on our way into the Briancon valley but it seemed to me that all the views were extremely large. One of the things that was really cool about the drive was driving over a route that is often part of the Tour de France. It was a super small road winding its way up and over a huge pass. I could see the bikers givin' it up there.

We ran into Raphael Thiebaut near the town of Briancon. Raphael is an incredible paddler who lives in the Alps with his family, and pushed his paddling on the creeks around the area. We checked a few options out and settled on an incredible run on the Onde river. We drove up above the popular run and put in on a tiny super steep technical run just below a big snow bridge over the river.

These Paddling Photos Were Taken By Raphael Thiebaut.

About 5 strokes and here you are

The landing from the first drop

L'Onde was pretty much like paddling moguls. One rapid lead right into another and the eddies weren't really eddies. Most of the time we just paddled ourselves on shore to stop. It was incredible paddling, super steep, with great moves, and fun boofs for a couple kilometers.

Thanks For the Photos Raph.

The photos and video speak the best about the rapids themselves to here is the video of: The Onde River in France, Click It

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