River: Upper Petawawa
Level: 3.18m on online Town Section gauge
Paddlers: Jeremy, Me
Hiking in with my homemade harness
The best part about running the river today with Jeremy and taking photos, was that this was the first time that I had ever looked at and chosen my own lines, and then run them solo. I would shoot photos of Jeremy, then he would take the camera from me and I’d jump into the boat and pick my line. Usually before this I would always just follow someone else down each rapid. Today I had to decide for myself where I needed to be and pick landmarks to determine the right line. It was time to step it up a notch!
Jeremy running the Flume
Me running the Flume
Another rapid we came across was a little canyon that came out of nowhere. There was a huge wave in the middle that Jeremy surfed, but also an enormous hole in front of it. This was my bad run for the day. It was hard to find the tongue through the top river-wide hole and once I did, it was too late. I punched through the hole, but got sucked back in after trying really hard to paddle out of the backwash. Once in, I did the only thing I knew to do, surf it toward the tongue and get out! The next part was a HUGE diagonal curler that went right into that nasty hole. The idea was to punch the curler. I punched it, endered and went right into the hole. I carped a few times, and finally got upright, but in the hole. I gasped a few breaths while being tooled in the hole. This time, I decided to get out of the hole a different way. There was no side surfing out of it this time as it was a frowny hole. I let the hole flip me over, laid on my back deck and let myself get washed out. I caught the eddy below and spent a minute belching from all that air I had gulped while in the hole!
Soon-to-be Jenny Beatdown
Photo: Jeremy Laucks
Jeremy sez: I want to surf that!
The last rapid just above the take-out was one I had looked at earlier in the day, but wasn’t sure if I was going to run it. It was a series of ledges, with holes. Basically the top ledge had one line that looked doable on the very river right side, the second ledge was doable anywhere from centre to right (which meant an immediate ferry over to the other side of the river), and then the third drop had a clear line also on the river right side. The middle section was oddly a corridor of whitewater between two walls of piled up rocks. Kind of random. I watched Jeremy run it, and still wasn’t sure if I could do it, as it mean precise lines and quick reactions. I finally agreed to do it with Jeremy, so there were no photos of this one!
It went fine and I don’t know what I was so aprehensive about. I made the first drop through, endered a bit, but got back on track and headed over to line up for the next two drops. What a great rapid, and a great run of the Upper Petawawa!
We ended the perfect paddling day with the discovery that my truck at the take-out had a flat tire that wasn’t there when I left it to run shuttle a few hours earlier.
The Hyundai comes fully equipped with a donut spare tire in the back! Awesome! Stupid Donut. Next on the to-do list. Buy an old wheel so I can have a full-sized spare. It drove well though.
I can’t wait to run this one again, it was definately a step up for me, at the high end of my abilities. I ran at least 3 rapids today that were bigger or more difficult than I had run before.