Monday, January 15, 2007

What every weekend should be...

During late summer when Alabama is a dry dustbowl and all my time and money is spent driving long distances to paddle I often question this area I now call home. However, when the rains come, the northeast Alabama region is alive with wonderful whitewater and a thriving whitewater community. The weekend of January 6-8, 2007 was just such a time.

Saturay Little River Canyon was running +4". Dustin, Spence, John, and I decided to make a full length run from just below the falls to Canyon Mouth Park about 11 miles downstream. The weater was warm, the water was a fun medium level and our spirits were high.

Sunday morning brought rain and when John and I arrived at the canyon we decided to drive to Johnnies creek on the off chance it had enough water. Arriving we found the level -5" and obviously rising. We drove up to Chairlift looking for JC and other boaters, but finding none we set our shuttle and returned to put on at -4.5". The water continued to rise on our second lap and during our third lap we were paddling through extremely heavy rain. Returning for our forth lap we found the water just under 0" on the gauge, a nice medium level. It was getting close to dark and we were flying down the creek with no problems until we reached "The Ditch". John ran first and I gave him a few seconds and followed. When I reached the bottom John was climbing out on the rocks, he had blown his shoulder. With about 5 minutes of usable light left he decided to try to paddle out in hopes of getting to the river before it got completly dark. In an ironman preformance and in quite a lot of pain John ran the remaing rapids to the river without issue. We arrived at Canyon Mouth Park in complete darkness and parted ways heading for home.

With the great rain sunday, Joey and I made plans to take off work Monday to head back to Johnnies. It was a little over 0" when we arrived and held well all day (only -1" by dark) while we did 4 laps.

For the last 2 laps we hooked up with Sam, Gavin, and Charlie and on our final lap it was decided that the perfect ending to the day would be some park and huck action at LRC falls. LRC was running at about 14" and Gavin, Charlie, myself, Sam, then Roy all flew off the left line and into the pool below. While my camera refused to work all weekend because of condensation, it some how worked for the few seconds during my run of the falls. When I returned home I had to let it dry out for 24 hours before I could even turn it on to retreive these images.

When I last ran the falls I had boofed super flat onto the shelf and taken a pretty good hit, so this time around I decided to try for closer to a 45 degree angle. It went well and both the shelf and the bottom were softer than expected.

LRC is a special place, I don't think I could ever grow tired of its amazing secenery and whitewater. Ever water level brings out a different character of the rapids and ever season shows a different bueaty of the canyon. So when you see the rains gathering over AL, come on down!

Until next time...


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