Saturday, April 4, 2009

Opel, and Canyon Creek

Opel, and Canyon Creek

Wow, a month in Hood River went fast.
Opel Creek, Canyon Creek and a Horrible swim.

After a couple weeks in Hood it was time to go explore, Opel creek was first on our list.

A stunning hike in threw an old growth forest.

Our first major drop on Opel creek, a funky boof into an ugly hole.

Scott Baker styling the line.

Same drop shot from below,

The last drop on the Opel, a fun two tired item.
There was also another drop spotted on the drive out that we had to stop and look at. 20ish foot water fall that had definitely had some man made help at one point, lots of concrete along the river left side but it did look.... ok

Then we were off to Canyon Creek OR

This run started off awesome, tight little boulder gardens, wood galore, nasty holes, under cut walls, sieves, all the things to make it a manky class5
Scott trying hard to not go under the wall.

Smiling away coming threw another steep wood infested boulder garden.

So this is where I reiterate, NASTY HOLES, check out the one at the top of the picture, walled in, sieved out, boil all the way to the bank... nasty.

So here I am doing a very ugly stern squirt in the fore mentioned hole.

This is where the story goes bad.
Mom don't read this.

I stern squirt, get the boat back down, and start paddling like hell. Got flipped, rolled back up facing the hole, and immediately ask for a rope. Then the rodeo session began threw some ends and quickly lost all control. At this point I realized I was not getting out of the hole in my boat.

So now I am getting cartwheeled and flipped around in the hole with my paddle, boat, and camera. I manage to catch a decent gasp of air and see the guys on shore throwing ropes, my hands go up my head goes under and I couldn't find a rope to save my life... literally. I continue to get beat for a while occasionally coming close to the surface and flailing my arms feeling around desperately for the ropes. I tried clawing and kicking off the undercut walls, but nothing was working. A few moments latter I have a decision to make, stay just under the surface and continue to feel around for the rope or to ball up hoping that the water grabs me as a hole and pushes me deep in to the low lying current. Or in this case possible deep under one of the surrounding rocks, a scary decision to make but when faced with no oxygen, and the real thought that this might be it... ball up what is it going to hurt.

I barely went any further down then I had when I was just flailing around, time for other options. The buoyancy of my body and gear was keeping me recirculating in the hole, so it was time to ditch some flotation. I reached a hand up and pulled the latex gasket away from my neck, this would allow any extra air that was trapped in my dry suit to escape. All I felt was 40 degree water coming down my chest. At this point I was on the worst carnival ride ever upside down right side up cartwheeling, the guys on the surface said they could see my hole back on the surface occasionally but I was getting so tumbled I had no idea which way was up.

I was starting to get really tired, the hole event had been going on for close to two minutes now and I had only occasionally had gotten even a mini gasp of air. I thought about trying to take off my life jacket the one last piece of buoyancy, but what would this mean for me further down stream, and... I was too tired. I felt my arm fling limply threw the air above the hole and that really scared me. I was dyeing. A few more tumbles and I felt what I had been looking for the hole time that damn rope. My hands clenched on with every thing left and the guys pulled my blue body out of the water and on shore. They held me there for a while, my legs wouldn't support me. After a minute or so of coughing hacking and my throat burning from the taste of oxygen. I raised my head and said guys we need to go get my paddle and camera.

The guys were all relieved, and I thank them for truly saving my life.

The rest of the run was ok, collected all of my gear minus one elbow pad, and I was happy that there were only a couple more nasty little holes.

Back at the Wreck Center after a scary day.
Thank you Scott Baker for some of the pictures and thanks to Scott Baker, Dan Ingerson, and sketchy Dan, for pulling me out of the damn hole.

Thanks for reading another installment of Where Is Baer, stay tuned in for some Minnesota action up next.
Chris Baer

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