Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tres Rios Weekend

Belicks Surprise rapid - Poplar River

Friday had absolutely nasty weather conditions on the North Shore with heavy rains/snow and strong winds. Most of the crew spent the night in Duluth and headed north on Saturday.

Poplar River flows through Lutsen Ski Resort - Sliding down to the river

Saturday was much improved with sunny skies with winds and temps on the cooler side in the lower 40's. Beta was gathered on the Devils Track and Cascade and it was determined those rivers were still a bit to high to have fun on. The crew of Ryan Zimny, Joel Decker, Burgess Norrgard, Justin, Tommy Norton, and North Carolina paddler Chris Gallaway all put on the Poplar river at a fun medium flow. Everyone had a good time on Belieks Surprise and really enjoyed the canyon section.

After the Poplar river, the crew heard the Kadunce water levels were up from the day before. The level ended up being a perfect Medium flow. The same crew plus Tommy Meirerhoff geared up and made the mile hike to the put in admiring the narrow river some ninety feet below. The Kadunce river gorge is a special place on the North Shore. The gorge on average is ten feet wide with fast roller coaster ride type rapids. The waterway is 4-6 feet wide and steep. It is dark in the canyon with little light penetrating to river level. The walls are dark grey and they appear as black bricks. You feel like you are truly in a tubed water slide. Everyone had great runs except for one paddler didn't have a good day. He ran the big waterfall (in pic) and swam out of his boat in the pool below. Luckily he was able to swim to the river left shore and climb out. The rest of his gear washed down to the crew below and had everyone worried as to what happened. The crew gather up his boat and gear and anxiously waited for the swimmer to come down. He never did. From far above the top of the canyon we heard yelling and received the sign that all was good. The Kadunce rocks!

Disappearing deep into the enchanted gorge

On Sunday, the weather was near perfect for spring paddling the North Shore. It was sunny, temps in the 50's with no wind. The Devils Track river and the Cascade river were on the top of the list to paddle. The DT's water level gauge is all messed up with logs choking the left channel. It is difficult to get an accurate level. No one was completely sure the DT level so John Alt drove down to the Cascade to see what levels were.

The Cascade was at -1 and Tommy Norton, Chris Gallaway, John Alt, and Justin Japs were up for a high water run. The crew paddled down to Hidden Falls and scouted the falls. It looks pretty intimidating at -1. Justin, Tommy, and Chris all fired it up. Tommy went right to left at the top and hit the hole at the bottom and broke his paddle and other things. Chris went right to left at the top into the hole and surf out. Justin started left at the top, stayed left the entire rapid and caught the left eddy at the bottom.

Since Tommy broke his paddle and other things, he was done for the day and hiked out with others. John, Justin and Chris continued down the Cascade and ran all rapids except Hannah's Hole. The run went really well with no problems, just sick lines, lots of action, and good times.

A safety cautionary note: There is a large tree down 4 feet off the water level that spans the entire river at the bottom of cheese grader rapid.. It has thick branches protruding to the river bottom. This tree is where the river narrows and flows into the river left wall. Luckily there were a few branches missing and a 4 foot gap close to the river left wall and all paddlers got through safely. This tree definitely has to be cut out.