Thursday, March 27, 2008


So, after a fun party for Ira's birthday everyone was excited for our weekend jaunt over to Hood River. Certain members of the group had been planning for weeks. Unfortunately this morning saw a number of the supposed crew waking up with fevers, thus nixing the trip. After so powwows the trip has been tentatively rescheduled for next weekend...with the final destination yet to be determined. There may be a change of venue from Hood River to the North Fork of the Payette. Ever since I started kayaking, particularly class V, I have wanted to run the North Fork of the Payette. Either way keep you eyes peeled after next weekend for stories and pictures.

In the mean time, I just came into possession of some pictures from my 2006 trip down the legendary "Box" on the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River. Ira and I met up with some characters from Bozeman two years ago in mid July for our descent down the "Box." For those of you not in the know, the Box is a two day wilderness trip through the 3rd deepest river gorge in the United States. Only the Grand Canyon and Hell's Canyon on the Snake are deeper. The rapids in the box are generally characterized by big boulders and big sieves and undercuts.

I have been on a lot of multi day trips, but the box ranks up there in memorable rapids, awe inspiring scenery, and scary portages.

The most notable section of river is known as Deliberation Corner. In this section the walls rise up dramatically and the river gets steep. Whether you decide to run the whole corner or not the last drop is mandatory, unless you have rock climbing skills beyond my comprehension.

Dropping the first 15 feet of Deliberation Corner.

The sequence consists of a 15 footer, followed by a boulder rapid into a 20 footer, around the bend to the mandatory 12 footer, followed by another 12 footer with a big hole. On our trip there were three groups that converged at Deliberation corner, and of the 16 people on the river only four of us ran the entire sequence.

Ira and I dropping the 20fter.

Box photos by Matt Rusher.

As memorable as Deliberation, but far less challenging, is the last major rapid on the run, Leap of Faith. Leap of Faith got its name because it is both mandatory to run, and unscoutable. You, have to go off the directions of the people that have been there before.

The author Leaping Faithfully

Shortly after is the final mandatory portage, which is awe inspiring in its own right.

Ira and I back in the water after the final portage, known as the Sunlight Strainers.

Two weeks after our Box trip we loaded down the Kia again, with British Columbia set out as our destination. A short detour through Seattle, to pick up JEB, and we were on our way. Unfortunately we did way too much kayaking to take a ton of photos, but we had some memorable days and got to see some amazing biking at the Kokanee Crank Works freeride festival at Whistler. In 7 days in BC we did about 10 runs on Callahagn Creek, two runs on Rutherford Creek, Rogers Creek, and the Upper Checkamus. We had to cut the short trip and get JEB back to Seattle so he could go to work in AK, but we finished the trip off with a run on the Green Truss and a run on the Little White Salmon near Hood River.

The Crew working towards a putin, with some ugly scenery in the background

Ira dropping in on Rutherford

Rutherford creek was slightly emotional for some of us, as it is the river where we lost a good boating friend, Matt Sheridan. The rapid that was the site of the accident produced a huge rainbow as we scouted, which lifted the heavy mood and got some smiles back on peoples faces. R.I.P Matt "Newschool" Sheridan

That's it for now, or until more photos resurface or I get back on the water. Look for a new post mid week for the pictures of my new ride... (Insert nickname). Hopefully a totally schweet name will come to me soon.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

From the Little White to the Tetons and Back...The final voyage of the Muffin

For those of you that I have not been keeping up with, I have had a fairly busy winter of traveling. Earlier in the winter my travels most often took me south to my previous residence of Driggs Idaho. This has been an unbelievably good snow year in the Tetons, and thus my trips have seemed more than justified. Other travel destinations have been both to the north and west. Unfortunately I was not able to make it East for Christmas and my travels saw me to Whitefish Montana, for more skiing, followed by a few jaunts to Hood River Oregon for some super high quality kayaking.
Christmas Eve powder at Big Mountain Resort
Overlooking Whitefish Lake into Glacier Natl. Park

Two weeks ago Ira and I organizing a group for a long weekend in Hood River. We arrived to find the Little White Salmon with almost twice the volume that Ira and I had seen just 2 weeks before. Although more water can be nerve wracking, I knew I was going kayaking. So, with a slightly smaller group than initially planned we put on and had an incredible day. Unfortunately, I was more than a slacker and forgot the camera in the car. The next few days saw more runs on the Little White, as well as several runs on the classic Green Truss section of the White Salmon river. My buddy Robin took some sweet photos of the biggest drop on the Truss, aptly named Big Brother. Check em' out on his web page The above photo, I took of Ira on Big Brother on our second day. All in all it was a great trip...Good people, high water, and a visit with our long lost friend Polly.

After the long drive back to Missoula I was informed that I had no work for the rest of the week. This was seemingly great news because I had received a phone call from my friend Curtis, saying he and his wife were on vacation in Driggs. After a long and greasy day under my car, a new catalytic converter and oxygen sensor were installed, and I was underway.
Curtis hiking on a seldom seen sunny winter day in the Tetons

The new equipment seemed to alleviate my previous problems and I began dreaming about my April voyage back East(and how it would be the Kia getting me there). After 4 days of skiing I made the journey home, which included car issues starting up once again. Flabbergasted and frustrated are two words to describe my attitude towards the Kia, after all we had been through she was finnaly showing signs of rebellion, possibly even hatred towards me. Less than a week later the Kia, a.k.a The Muffin Wagon, The Scone, Superportage, M@+* F#$!_@(^ car, and many other names passed on to a new owner. Despite my honesty her new owner carried high hopes and expectations. Thus far, no calls or complaints, from either the car or the new driver.The Superportage on one of her great Cali adventures

It was a sad day to see the Muffin drive away. But, as I look back I can only say that I doubt any other Kia has been on as many adventures or taken anyone to access as many beautiful places as mine. In total, 2 separate summer long trips, from Asheville NC to California and back. Two trips from Asheville to Missoula, via Driggs Idaho and back. A trip from Missoula to and around British Columbia. At least 8 round trips from Asheville to Wilkes Barre PA. Easily more than 200 trips to the Green River. And this winter 6 trips to Driggs, and a trip to Hood River. All in all the Muffin Wagon carried me over 130,000 miles in just about 6 short years.

A few of the beautiful places accessed by the Muffin

I can only hope my next car takes me on as many if not more adventures than the Kia. Hopefully the next week or so will furnish images of my new ride.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Preface...

Welcome to my first attempt at keeping all of my family and friends connected to what is going on in my life.

The tip of the Grand breaking through(above) BAM!!! Looking at Ed as he cruises down into Teton Canyon(right)

Essentially, I take pride in my flexibility, passion for adventure, and love for my friends and family. As a result, my life has come to revolve around my hobbies, telemark skiing and kayaking. These sports have become more than hobbies, and as a result have allowed me to see things from perspectives that very few people, save my partners in crime, will ever see.

Many people have trouble understanding why, how, and for what reasons I do what I do. "Why would you have a degree and not use it?" "How did you survive and travel without money?" "What do you get out of being a lifestyle athlete?"

There are many questions I hope to answer with the pictures and stories I plan to put up on this blog.

How I spent my 23rd Birthday
Royal Gorge, N.F. American River

As Ed Abbey says, "Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it's still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women
with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes
hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this;
You will outlive the bastards."

Devil's Punchbowl, Day Two Middle Kings August 2005

"Nothing has changed, but everything is different."

kayaking photos courtesy of Toby MacDermott