Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ucona River, Vancouver Island.

Jakub at the put in for the Ucona. Off to the first drop.

The morning of Sunday, was an even later start. All good however as the river was only 15mins away. Had a great sleep under a picnic table testing out my bivy in the west coast rain. It worked well both nights keeping me totally dry and warm.
After some breakfast, procrastination, some coffee, feeding the dog, packing up the tents, some more procrastination, we made it to the put in bridge for the Ucona river by 11ish am.
Shayne was the only one who had been down the river, but because of the prior commitments he was unable to come with us, so with some quick instruction and remarks where some of the high points and take out where on this 3.5km run we where off. The last comment I remember was it should just take us an hour!
Well it certainly was a fun hour......we actually got an extra 1.5hrs. Always remember to add time for each group member. What a river. A grade five, a couple of grade fours and some nice grade three set in a beautiful west coast gorge.
My favorite the double 5m drops at the end of the run. The first one is a super clean boof, then a short passage of moving water to avoid a tree on river left. Then plugging your boat off the river right, both myself and Peppi subbing out for around 5secs in our SCUDS.
Looking at my altimeter at the end of the trip it was cool to see how much gradient we had lost, 250ft in 3.5kms. Lovely bit of river to go kayaking on.
The river involved the typical BC bushwhack to get to the cars parked up on logging road in the midst of a cut block.
So far this river has missed being put on the list for micro hydro or IPP and hopefully it does for a while. With the amount of good rivers in close location to the town of Gold River it reminds me of Whistler.
Enjoy the Photos.

Jakub having the morning coffee before really waking up.
Jakub really waking up with some airtime on the Ucona river. Photo by Nicolaus Jrummer.
Nicolaus in the middle of one of the rock gardens.
Antje checking out the chute among the usual BC timber.
Nicolaus entering one of the chutes.
Antje flying off a sweet boof. Jakub looking on.
High flying Jakub on one of the last drops on this section of the Ucona. Photo by Nicolaus Jrummer.
View from above as Dave launches. Photo by Antje.
Side view of the same drop. The SCUD rocks. Photo by Nicolaus Jrummer.
From the drop in the last picture you head down stream avoiding the log on river left. Get high on the outside, turn toward the right and plug the last drop. So much fun. Photo by Antje Boehm.

Here is Peppi dropping that last drop in these three shots. Just do that and prepare for a bit of down time. Jakub on the other hand in his Jefe briefly disappeared. Photos by Nicolaus Jrummer.

At the end of the trip we hiked in the typical BC fashion..... through the trees. Photo by Peppi.

BC bushwhack into a clear cut, then over to the cars and from there to the Ridge Pub. Yea, Cold Beer.
Photos By David Prothero

Heber River, Vancouver Island.

Looking across Star lake, Gold River.

Arriving back on Vancouver Island after a bit of time in England visiting family and friends. I got in touch with Shayne Vollmers to see what was up on the paddling scene. I was in luck as Shayne, Carrie, Jakub, and members of the AKC, Peppi, Klaus, Antje, and Thorsten where heading up to Gold River on the west central part of Vancouver Island.

So after seeing my parents for just over a day I was off. Jumping in Shayne's Delica we headed up to Gold river at 10pm on Friday night. Found a nice cozy(not) logging road to sleep on beside the Heber river.

With a bit of a late, around 10am, start the next day we decided to do the Lower Heber run. This is a great section of whitewater with three short canyons and some small boulder gardens in between. The first canyon has a couple of grade 3 drops, the second canyon has one grade five drop and some nice class four drops, and the third canyon just sort meanders along. A nice morning warm up. Afterwards it was off to the Ridge Pub for a light lunch and a pint of beer. We decided at this point to try in get in two more runs that afternoon.

Located in the Gold River area are some great rivers, not only are there five sections on the Gold river, there is also the Upana, Ucona, Heber and some others that are currently being explored out toward Tahsis.

Myself, Peppi, and Jakub headed off after lunch to the Upper Heber run which is just around 1km long. Has a nice 4m drop on it. Meanwhile, Shayne had gone to do a run on the middle Gold with Carrie. Later we plan to meet and do a run down the Upana river.

The run down the Upana is great. It was 3yrs since I was last here and it was still as much fun as I remember it. A 9m, almost blind drop that you scout from this big pile of rock in the middle of the river. Later another 4m drop and lots of little drops and boulder gardens in between. The run took us just under and hour down 2.5kms.

Not a bad way to spend my first Saturday back on Vancouver Island.

The sign that has been slightly modified at the power generating station on the Heber river.

Camp set up at Star Lake. Photo by Peppi.

Boats loaded and getting ready for the Heber river.

Thorsten on line in the first canyon of the Heber river.

Jakub Drenc ripping in usual form.

Nicolaus Jrummer lining up for the nice drop on the first canyon of the Heber.

Nicolaus boofing off a fun drop. Photo by Peppi.

Nicolaus styling in the Burn.

Peppi seal launching around the more serious drop in the middle canyon.

Peppi boofing his SCUD on the double drop in the second canyon.

Antje Boehm launching off the first drop. Photo by Peppi.

Shayne Vollmers coming down the last of the big drops on the Heber river.

Photos by David Prothero

Paddling in Turkey

Author and SCUD in the midist of Perfect Portage.
In between the two trips, we had a few days off. This was nice as we where able to get in a bit of paddling. We hit up the Barhal, Perfect Portage rapid and Yusufeli gorge on the Coruh. It was a great few days of boating.
I was certainly missing it as I had been mostly rafting for the past three months. We scouted out a couple of other sections one being the Upper run on the Barhal but unfortunately it was all running very high.

David charging down the left line at Perfect Portage.

Marc Gacond and David heading through the Guts.

Marc looking small amongst the waves of Perfect Portage.

Marc and Dave heading to the Put in on the Barhal through the town of Sorigol.

The Barhal. Lots of fun wave trains and fast flowing currents with a few grade 3-4 rapids.

Dave in the midst of one of the funner rapids.
The SCUD doing well.
Marc making his way through the left of the hole.
On a scouting trip to the Upper Barhal. At this flow a no go. Photo by David.
Photos by Sophy D.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rafting the Barhal river, Turkey

Shortly after putting on, heading downstream, checking out for wires here and there and seeing how to stop!

With an easy drive to the put-in and the takeout located in bustling down town(used loosely) Yusufeli, the Barhal is a fun run with different dynamics from the Coruh. Myself, Sophy(NZ), Marc(Swiss), Fletch, Hamish and crews had high water, as it was in the trees when we went down it.
The main hazard, when we where rafting was the wires and irrigation tubes that hang down close to the water forcing us to duck a few times. Especially when we where trucking along at a rapid pace. The take-out was exciting as well as we had no eddies to speak of. So we had a rope to clipped on to a nearby bridge, providing some fairly abrupt brakes. 20mph to nothing.
Afterwards it was up into Yusufeli for some liquid refreshment, Ekmek kebab, and for the guys a very close shave with an old school razor blade at the local barbers.

Enjoy the photos.
David and Sophy running truck and trailer.
Sophy charging down through a nice canyon section on the Barhal.
Just finished making it through town where there is some great rapids. Like the one coming off the bridge pillar in the middle of the river.
Preparing to stop.
The abrupt stop at the take-out on the Barhal. Now off to the restaurant and pub. Food and drink to essentials.
Photos by Julie Paterson.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Rafting the Coruh river, Eastern Turkey

Just crossing the Coruh river at one of the highest levels in ten years.

Enjoying a turkish sunset over the hills.

Arriving in Turkey was great. The food is great in this country. I loved the Ascanda kebab which was a dish we ate a lot in Erzurum. Also the amount of rivers to do here with good access and quality whitewater was awesome.

Part of the Ottoman hospitality at chai shops, Haman's, shops, and barbers. The chai would come to you. Loveth thy Chai!

Lots of work going on getting organized for the first trip on the Coruh. As with any trip this season there where a few missions to be had. Van repairs, tires to fix, booze to buy, food to get, pack all the gear in the van and trailer. Once loaded off to the airport past the Otel Oral to pick up the clents. Then a three hour drive or so depending on the missions to the first night camped on the banks of the mighty Coruh. Driving over the pass to see how high the river was this year was interesting, making a few new plans.
Once on the water things went quickly, and I mean quickly as on both the Coruh and the Barhal we clocked the rafts at over 20 miles an hour. Marc, who was video kayaking, punched it in at a bit over 25 to stay ahead of the rafts.
Enjoy the photos of this area as it is beautiful check out Water By Nature to see a short video clip of the first trip.

Beautiful hillsides surrounding the Coruh valley.

Hard at work in the kitchen, notice beverages supplyed bottom left.

Hanging out on the banks of the Coruh.

Some pretty poppy's near the Coruh

Enjoying lunch in the sun on day 1!
Video boater Marc Gacond shooting some footage of high water Yusufeli gorge.

Through the looking glass. Photo by Kiwi Marc.

Rafts on the Coruh. Photo by Stu.

First rapid on entrace to Yusufeli Gorge. There is usually a rock showing here.

A place locked in the whitewater history of the Coruh. Where we stay for a couple of nights on the multi day trips.

Hamish at the oars doing safety on the Coruh river, Turkey. Photo by Stu.

First trip of the season. Neville playing in the snow.

Driving from Ezurum to Ispir, past some beautiful places.

Enjoying the campinf lifestyle inside the fairydown tents. NZ made of course.
Photos by David Prothero