Rained out of B.C.!

Jay Gifford and I had planned a trip to B.C. the first week of October. Sources were saying that everything was too low to go, but we had a week off and that was the only logical direction to start driving. The day we left it started raining and well, it never really stopped.

We made it to B.C. late Friday and the next day we set off to run Fear Canyon of the Elaho with local boys Steve Rogers and Corry Boux. Huge thanks to both of them for all the local info on flows and logistics! I'm not sure what the level was this day on the Elaho, but it was good and on the rise.

Steve and Jay at the first scout/portage

Steve and Jay at the last rapid on Fear Canyon, Elaho River, B.C.
Jay and I planned on running the Box on the Ashlu the next day. We arived at camp in the rain and hoped to have a good flow the next day. It was running on the low end of good and so far the water seemed to be helping us out since everything had been way too low just before we arrived, however once I awoke at camp beside 50/50 it was clear that the roar I heard the night before was rocking The Box twice as hard. I bailed out of my tent fast to get a look at 50/50 and sure enough The Box was too high! We drove around the Ashlu drainage that day checking out the new construction and trying to get a feel for where Tatlow was. Toward the end of the day we decided to head to the Cheakamus River to camp that night.

50/50 and the entrance to the Box, Ashlu River, B.C.

Painful to watch...construction below the Mine run, Ashlu River
The next morning we put on the Cheakamus half way up the upper run. It turned out to be a good class 4 warm up and after we hiked the shuttle with boats and all of our gear we set off to run Callaghan, but not before dealing with a dead battery and getting one of the locals to help jump the truck...then we were off to Callaghan Creek.

Camp on the Cheakamus River, B.C.
Stuck on the Cheakamus.
I didn't get any photos from Callaghan this day, but look for video soon. We kept up a good pace on Callaghan with a med/high flow and finished a couple hours before dark and once again we hiked our shuttle back to the top. The next morning we planned on running a couple more laps on Callaghan, but it never stopped raining so over night Callaghan jumped to a scarry high level. We decided to head into Vancouver and see what our options were for the next few days. We thought about going to Skook, but being in B.C. with this much water that seemed like we would be missing some epic creekboating. We decided to head a little further south back into Washington and hit a creek that was just recently added to my hit list in the North Cascades. We camped at Diablo Lake and took a full day to scout around the next day. We hiked up Thunder ridge on the opposite side of the lake, then went up into Thunder Creek to gage the flow. The forest was full of huge old groth cedar trees.

Jay hiking up to Thunder Creek

The next morning we decide to hike in and put on. We hiked forever and our only info for the creek was to hike up 4 miles to the second bridge and work our way down from there.

Ready for a long, tough hike
We arrived at the second bridge that crossed a tributary on creek right. As soon as i dropped my boat off my shoulders there was a huge, violent crash less than a 1/4 mile ahead of me. I watched in disbelief as a monster old growth cedar came crashing down through the forest. Unsure if this was our put in, but beat down and ready to put on, we made our way down to the creek. We ended up running a few scarry, sieved out rapids, nothing worth hiking that far for and soon we arrived at the lower bridge. After the bridge we ended up in the middle of one of the biggest log jams I've seen. A long and painful portage later we were on the lake and paddled back to camp. There may be some great rapids upstream, but the character of what I saw in the lower stretch makes it hard to believe it's worth that much effort to run this creek, but I may be wrong.

Looking downstream at the end of Thunder and into Diablo Lake, WA
Beat down, humbled, and excited to have a few more runs checked off our personal lists Jay and I left the North Cascades after 6 nights of camping in the pouring rain.

*Check back for a preview video of B.C. soon...

No comments: