July 4, 2015
9000KWs = 2.50 on the gauge
The first rec release of the year brought out a big crowd. I counted 40 cars between the various paddler parking areas. At times there were boats as far as I could see both upstream and downstream. I picked up Stephen in Flat Rock a little after 10am. After dropping our boats off at the top among the many others, and after saying hello to a lot of paddling buds I had not seen in awhile, I hopped in and went down to the Power House rapid to play until everyone else came through. It was one of those Kibler days where you can paddle in and out of groups fluidly. After shooting some video of friends paddling through PowerHouse, I peeled out to follow the gang. While ferrying over to a wave to surf in the jumble below PowerHouse, I flipped and my paddle wedged under a log that was broached against a rock. It didn't feel like the paddle was going to break, so I kept trying to work it loose. I was still upside down and working on that when I felt my wedding band slip off my finger. Frustrated at that, I pulled the skirt and lugged my Jitsu over to a rock in the middle of the current. After emptying it out, I parked it on the bank and headed back in to retrieve the paddle. John and James got out of their boats to help. When I pulled the limb out, the paddle popped right up.
While I was fooling around with that project, Deb had pinned in the Public Enemy slot. Jack was able to quickly assist her and to work her boat loose using a vector pull after attaching a rope to her boat and a tree. Kit retrieved the paddle at the bridge. Thanks to Kevin, James and the others that had done the early prep work of clearing out trees and strainers, the rest of the run was pretty uneventful. Stephen paddled well and had a dry hair pfd of the top section. As always, it was great to see so many paddling friends in the valley. I laughed hard when John pushed Butch into a wave that James was already surfing. And I ate lots of blackberries that were hanging out over the river as we made our way downstream. It was a good day.