Sunday, March 21, 2010

At Home in the Gorge

Just a few days ago my brother Todd arrived from Chile ready to paddle the creeks of the Columbia River Gorge. For the last two months he's been paddling in Chile with World Class Kayak Academy and having a great time on the beautiful rivers there. I was stoked for him to come back so we could paddle the local goods. The day he got back he picked me up from school and were already on our way to the classic Green Truss section of the White Salmon River for an afternoon run. Before we knew it we were back on the water again the following day paddling one of my favorite runs in the world; the Little White Salmon River. The levels were perfect and it was finally starting to warm up, I was stoked to be on the water with my brother and friends again. The next day Todd's friend Eric Parker, from World Class arrived and there were only more sick runs to be paddled. We took Eric down his first run on the Green Truss, followed the next day by another lap on the Little White.

Classic picture of me on Big Brother

We stopped a couple places along the way to take advantage of the great lighting.

Sick sequence of Todd

Beautiful day...

Me, throwin' down on Spirit Falls

Still wanting more, we headed to Rock Creek Falls to finish the day with a park n' huck. Although Money Drop was looking a little on the low end, she still looked good to go. My brother ran the drop first, over rotating a little but coming out safe at the bottom.

Todd on his first run...

After Todd was Martin, a guy from another group who came up to the drop with us. Martin fired off the drop with just about the same line as my brother, going a little sideways as well but having a great line.

Classic Money Drop line

After that I was ready to go and again, went a little over the handle bars and got the wind knocked out of me but was safe and super happy to be at the pool below. (photos coming soon)

Next was Eric Parker who had the best line out of anyone by far. For his first big waterfall he styled this one with a perfect angle of entry.

Parker stylin' it like a pro

After we were all back at the top and stoked to have safely ran the drop, my brother decided to give it a go on his second lap of the falls. This run didn't go over so well.

Todd coming out super flat...

And trying to kick it down...

Todd came off the lip with a little to much of a stoke, causing his bow to come up. He managed to kick his bow down to have a good entry angle but didn't have time to tuck forward which caused his back to be too straight on impact. As soon as he landed we knew there was something wrong and I ran down and to the other side of the river to try and help. He managed to make it to the bank were the trail led back up to the top of the drop. As soon as I looked at him I saw that he was in serious pain and something was wrong. With excruciating back pain we got him out of his boat and made a make shift stretcher out of paddles, ropes and straps. As soon as we got him on top of the of the steep embankment we called for help. Shortly after three or four sheriffs, two fire trucks, search and rescue, and an ambulance all showed up. Even with all of the man power, the amateurs took almost two hours to get him the short way up the hill and to the ambulance, but finally, he was on the way to the hospital. The ER doctor checked him out and found the he got a compression fracture on his L1 vertebrae. At this point he needed an orthopedic doctor who could figure the next steps to recovery. After an ambulance ride to Portland, he was in good hands and already started physical therapy. Luckily he should make a full recovery 2-3 months and be paddling once again. We all learned many things from this experience and can't wait to paddle with Todd again. On the bright side, I passed my drivers test, got my license and drove myself to to a birthday lap on the Little White the next day.

Photos by Eric Parker