Seth Dow enjoying one of those moments where a kayak seems to have too much rocker.
Then we blunder into it at the next
horizon. It doesn't look too steep and we can see eddies, so away we
go. Now we are trapped in a
gorge with walls on both sides, and there is a tree across the river at
the lip of something. We scramble around and spend a lot of time
options. It's either a massive portage, or a river level affair that
could be tricky. Pat commits to the river level move and we all breathe
a huge sigh of relief when it's shallow enough for him to get out in
the river. It is a bit technical, we get out one at a time in the
single shallow spot, do a little rock climbing and pass kayaks up over
the log then down the bedrock. Not huge, but lots of awkward angles to
make it difficult. Thirty minutes later the puzzle is worked out and
it's time for us to take a lunch break.
Quite the shoulder dislocator crack, let alone with wood to duck. 12:30pm.
Bellies full and we are back at
it, but this isn't a fast section of river. Nearly every rapid is blind
and one in the group has to scout and give beta. We move fast but this
style of boating takes time, and mad bombing would take longer due to
the amount of pins this creek would dish up.
Connor Herdt in the boulder gardens.
Herdt, enjoying what is almost a sweet boof but just has that
South Feather geology; manky. Fun if the lines are dialed or kind of
abusive when you don't know
where the rocks are hidden, and we don't know.
Pat Keller gives good advice: Be the ball in this game of ping pong. Seth Dow is the ball.
Beautiful, scenery and cleanish rapids. Sharp rock makes it tough to perfect the line. Seth Dow at 1:20pm.
Once again, good thing this one went, portaging would take at least an hour. Seth Dow.
Seemingly endless steep boulder gardens with the odd wood portage here
and there. Another hour goes by and Pat Keller takes flight off a piece of bedrock.
After the above rapid we see a sudden
shift in the river. The canyon walls peel away, and the gradient feels
trivial. Two miles of class II fly by with one last easy portage and we reach the confluence with
the Middle Fork Feather about 3:30pm. We're elated to have gotten away
without a massive portage or second night in the canyon. In fact
we're not sure if there are any other campsites in that whole section.
While beautiful and intimate, it sure is a pleasure to be floating on a
glorious 3,200cfs of deep brown water, taking big paddles strokes
without even a thought of hitting rocks.
Seth Dow in Franklin Falls on the Middle Feather.
Seth and Connor know the Middle Feather
like a kayaker knows changing apparel.We paddle to one of the nicest
campsites on the river and pull in to thirty minutes
of glorious sunlight.
A few minutes of warmth are enjoyed at 5:00pm.
We don't take too much about the creek, instead just enjoying where we are lucky to be.
Shelters up as rain clouds come over the horizon.
The following day is just what one would
expect, full of laughs, smiles and the occasional hole ride in the full
volume glory of the Middle Feather. In retrospect was it worth
it? Certainly. Would I do it again? Probably not. More of an adventure
than quality kayaking, it was a great place to see and made exceptional
not by the rapids it contained, but by the teamwork and friendship we
shared on our journey down.