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Lower Paul Stream - Episiode III

Saturday Nov 6, 2010
Kayak: Ryan McCall, Gerard Q Ganey, Jamie Sorojcak(?), AJ Seibel
Raft: Mark Lieneau, Cynthia
Organizer: AJ Seibel
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: AJ Seibel

So this day was lined up to be eventful before the clock even struck midnight. I got a call from mark telling me that the East Branch of the Nulhegan was ripping. That's all I needed to hear... I quickly got on the horn and rounded up some kayakers to be raft-bait and we all met the next morning at 10am boater time, so 11am for the rest of the world. To our dismay the EB Nully had dropped over 2 feet overnight. We'll keep that in mind in the future, she's a flashy giant. So, the runs are now up for debate: a quickie on the true Nully, or over to Paul Stream. Well, Mark was stuck with a bunch of creek-boaters, and we wanted to get on Paul's at a respectable flow. Mark was down, and off we went.

We were pleased to find the run had about another 8" of water at the takeout than our previous spring descents, and pleasantly surprised to find the flow in the rapids to be sublime. We all walked Seam's Easy, the first drop at the put-in bridge. That Seam didn't seem so easy today... Triple drop, or Puma Pounder, or Mamba Muncher - whichever name it ends up being - housed a large flat recycle on the last drop today, and the photos of Mark's side surf show just how fun it was. There aren't any photos of Jamie's insta-backender and subsequent trashing. I guess Ryan grabbed the rope instead of documenting the carnage. Either way, a quick throw bag got the swimmer out. The sneak line was in on far river right today and provided a class II-III sneak to the hole.

So, gear in hand we're back on the river. Headed downstream and enjoying the flow, we come to the next drop, which was a large curler/hole. No problem, but those pesky rocks in the outflow provided the second swim of the day - nice form Ryan! Boat rescued, javelined paddle recovered, we're off once again through the mellower section before the river tilts downhill and picks up steam. We all did a quick scout of the first section to check for wood, and didn't find any. So from there we were off - picking through the boulder gardens and numerous micro eddies. Ryan and I led around the corner and waited. And waited. And waited. Ryan was already downstream checking the lines on the meat of the rapid, a little doozy called Log Jam. I headed upstream just in time to see a rope go out and a swimmer come down. Mark had pinned his raft on the shallow rocks and tossed Cynthia overboard to free up some draft. No, just kidding - I don't know how she ended up in the river, but Gerard was the hero with the throw-bag to get her to shore. Mark swam it in with official "VPC Safety Coordinator" style, and got ready to hightail it back to the truck to warm up Cynthia and avoid any complications.

So now we're there - 4 kayaks and an empty raft. What to do with the raft?

A) Ghost float it and hope it doesn't pin.

B) Line it and hope we're all still friends at the bottom of the rapid

C) Leave the damn thing there and get it when the water drops

D) Hop in and hold on

Well, being the smart kids we are, Jamie and I chose D and hopped in the raft after Gerard and Ryan had some ropes ready to go near some rather large holes. We get in, asking "who wants oars, who wants the paddle?" and "Have you ever been in a raft before?" Well, I grabbed oars, Jamie grabbed the paddle, and neither of us had ever paddled a raft, let alone in a creek. Turns out that beast will go where it wants and keep going. We were completely off line, almost falling out at the top of the rapid, then off line for the second part, hitting the big hole we didn't want to hit (which in hindsight wasn't so bad, the raft slipped right through). And to finish it off we were sort of on-line at the end (see Ryan's Photos) but lost an oar that got sucked right out of the oar-lock. We got the oar back after eddying up a few hundred feet downstream. So much for the first time in a raft!

After that ordeal, Ryan and Gerard decided to take the Class VI sneak line on a 50 degree bank, and Jamie and I, once again being smart, decided to run the rapid rather than carry. It looked fun, and the portage actually looked harder than paddling. Off we went. The entrance was smooth - a sweet boof over a medium sized hole. Then down the slide, missing the big hole halfway down, and around the pillow at the bottom. Eddying up to high fives, huzzahs and general class IV excitement. An excellent rapid, approached in multiple craft, on an excellent creek.

The remainder of the run has one more nice drop, then some mellow action to the take-out, where Mark met us just in time to lug his raft out of the river.

All was well, and this is surely one of my favorite local runs.

Pics: Stream&showEvent=11_6_2010&eventLabel=11%2F6%2F2010&datestamp=2010-11-06 00:00:00&index=0&date_test=%3C%3D%272010-12-31%27#slideshow




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