Friday, December 15, 2006

Blem Cupcakes!

Adam Craig surfing at the “secret spot”

Photo by Kim Russell

Last night it rained a lot. And the day before, it rained a lot. Pretty much, there was a lot of rain.

Since this was the case, my friend Adam Craig and I decided to take a trip to the Valley for some boating since all we had been doing for quite some time was local boating (Riverhouse, Dillon and Lava Island Falls). AND…. There was water :)

We were contemplating between heading into either the Opal Creek Drainage, the Santiam Drainage or the McKenzie Drainage. We weren’t sure which one to go to as there were so many options in each area, so we decided to wing it and decide on the way over the Santiam Pass (there is a point were the highway splits and the decision has to be made to either go North or South).

The morning started off early, leaving Bend, Oregon around 9:00 with both creek boats and playboats on the car.

“The Rickster”
Photo By: Kim Russell

We proceeded to make our way west towards the Cascades, making our habitual stop at the Bakery in Sisters, Oregon where we picked up some snacks for the day. And by snacks I mean sweets. Yes. It was good.

-2 pumpkin donuts
-1 pumpkin muffin
-1 carrot cake
-1 blueberry coffeecake
-1 knish (mashed potato and spinach filled pastry)
-1 HUGE apple fritter
-1 cinnamon roll
-1 cupcake
-1 turkey quiche
-1 turkey sandwich


After a quick fill up on gas and some quality quiche and cupcake (of which was declared a blem by the Bakery and therefore sold to us for a dollar), we began re-contemplating where we were going. By the way, did you know there are cupcake blems? How does that work? We couldn't figure it out. Maybe it’s a blem if the doughy stuff spills over the side of the paper cup thing and makes it not look as perfect as a perfect bakery cupcake should? Who knows? If you do, please let us know!!!!!!!!

Photo By: Kim Russell

Anywhoo, after mobbing over The Santiam Pass (Highway 20) in the sweet little Rickster (read: car), we made the decision to head toward the McKenzie River Drainage. Looking at levels in the morning, it looked at though the epic play spot on the Mckenzie River known as Clover would be in, as well as the Blue River, a fun class 4 creek run. Additionally, the South Santiam was high with its Class 4 big water ledge stuff fun and rather entertaining.

“The Monster” rapid on the South Santiam
Photo By: Kim Russell

Crawdad, the rapid right below the Monster, (-see previous photo-) on the South Santiam

One pumpkin donut later, we approached the next “Y” in the road where you either go left to the McKenzie River or straight towards the South Santiam. The car drove itself straight towards the South Santiam and we unexpectedly found ourselves turning up Quartzville Road at Green Peter Reservoir to check out what is known as Quartzville Creek.

According to Kayaking Oregon, (the ultimate kayaking guidebook for Oregon), there are two sections: the upper, which is class IV/V ledges and the lower, a solid class IV pool drop run. Normally run from 800-3000, today, the river was between 6,500 and 7,000. Like I said, it rained A LOT.

After reading about Quartzville in the trusty guidebook which we spent twenty minutes searching the house for in the morning, only to find it under the laptop we were using earlier, we decided to go ahead and give the lower section a try. The upper sounded a little big, or at least very interesting/not a good idea for just the two of us to run (not to mention over my head. Maybe next time I'll be shuttle bunny for that run). Thanks for putting up with me AC! Anywhoo…..Lower Quartzville Creek is about 8 miles long, with the put-in at Yellow Bottom Campground, and the take-out at Green Peter Reservoir. Instead of the normal character of pooldrop rapids, it was a big water Class IV-ish run. Big haystacks, big holes, big ledges, and big trees floating down...

After reading the warnings in the book about massive holes that could catch and hold anything that floated down into it at flows above 5,000, we decided to do some thorough scouting on the drive up to the put-in. Upon our driving adventures on the way to the put-in, involving the turkey sandwich and pizza slice (not bought at the Bakery), we more or less considered each rapid to have a clean line on the right. Seriously. Every rapid. When in doubt, Go Right! Have you ever been on a stretch of river where there is pretty much the same line throughout the entire run? It was WEIRD! Eight miles... go right. Maybe not every time, there was maybe two or three times we went left, but still. That's a lot of rights. Enough of my obsession with lines....

Photo by: Kim Russell

As we continued up to road, we approached a huge, downed tree blocking the entire road. We got lucky and the tree had fallen just past the pullout for Yellow Bottom Campground. SWEET!

We put on the river around 12:45 pm, and made our way downstream.

One of the rapids in the gorge on the lower 2 miles of the run
(Watch out for HUGE haystacks around the corner~~~~ Emphasis on HUGE)

For about 6 miles, with Adam contact-less!!!!!!!, we stayed Right. A bunch of stuff looked super fun to play on, but at the same time looked as though there would be some huge hole or something backing it up. Most of the time (99%) that wasn’t the case, but I definitely was too nervous to play on one of them and get washed into a bus-eater sized hole. After getting through the rapids and holes we were warned about with no troubles, we approached the Gorge (the last two miles of the run).

Let me just say, staying right in the gorge here is the way to go, but it is BIG and be ready for a gnarly beating or what may consist of some unintentional form of donkey-backflip over the person paddling behind you if you don’t paddle hard. Read: HARD.... Let me just say too that paddling through trees is hard. Yeah. It was fun though. You know it’s a good time when you look back and can’t see the other person you are paddling with because the waves and such are so big. HE HE HE.

We arrived at the take-out at 1:45 pm, one hour later, with big smiles on our faces from the run and saw this beauty:

The dream take-out

Photo by: Kim Russell

Adam Craig surfing his Liquidlogic Airhead
Photo by: Kim Russell

Kim Russell surfing the Vision 44
Photo by: Adam Craig

Adam Craig
Photo by: Kim Russell

Kim Russell
Photo by: Adam Craig

It was an epic play session the perfectly shaped wave-hole, which we determined was probably shaped by logs, after witnessing a few big sticks float through the wave while we were on it as well as spectating. Scary stuff. It probably wasn’t shaped by logs, but hey, there were a lot of them floating through!

After about an hour of tiring play, we decided it was best to get out and start our shuttle (we only brought one car) so we could make sure to have a car there by dark. Adam, being the nice, sicky, awesome biker he is, got on his bike and started the eight mile long ride back to the car while I hung around at the take-out hoping for some nice person to come by and give me a ride . Needless to say, only one car went by. And, yup, they didn’t give me a ride. Oh well. Adam kicked ass and made it to the car and back in 45 minutes..... whoa.

Photo by: Kim Russell

A lot goes through your mind when you are alone at a fairly remote take-out too. My mind was blank, then it went through the whole, are the boats still down there? What if a breeze comes up? Crap. Wait, it’s not going to get windy stupid. But, are you sure they are still there? Then it went to, There has got to be a car at some point. and OH there’s one now. Please give me a ride... Okay, maybe not. Eventually it was something like, “Hey lets walk these 50 feet between two big trees and then slowly incorporate each little one (5 of them) between the two big trees into my loop. Yup. My nature hike going in circles around trees kept me warm hike I resorted to talking to myself in Spanish (don’t ask). It was one lonely shuttle. Next time, we are bringing two bikes.

Adam made it in exactly 48 minutes back to the take-out to an exceptional handbrake turn into the pull-out. Good times!

The drive home consisted of some random gravel road rallying and creek scouting as well as sugar eating… We polished off the Knish, Blueberry coffeecake, carrot cake (the first to go), and second pumpkin donut. We made it back to Bend around 7pm, and are planning to finish off the apple fritter and cinnamon roll on the chair lift tomorrow. Cross your fingers for powder!!!!!!!!!!

Hope you guys have been gettin’ out!!!!

Kim Russell

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