Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Flow Study v. 2: Canyon Creek

One day a week, I've been hard at it with these flow-studies, doing my part as an amateur hydrologist. So far, the time I've put in has been pro bono, but I've got a feeling that a fellowship or grant-money of some kind is not far off. In the meanwhile, I will continue with my independent research as best I can despite the lack of institutional support.

"I can't run the sh$t every day, but I can always dream." Alex Wolfgram on the dreamflows.com rapid.

(file photo courtesy Sparkle Motion)

I agree with Chris Tulley (pictured above) and his assessment of Canyon Creek that he posted on the on-line forum boof.com, ("boof" can refer to a vertical drop along a river, the forceful stroke one takes at the lip of such a drop, the brief free-fall one experiences after paddling over it, or the sound the boat makes upon landing). I have paraphrased Chris' comments.

1) Thanks AW and Bob Center for making this possible. It is fantastic to have the opportunity to get on new adventures like Canyon Creek. It is very scenic, great camping and warm lakes to swim in.
2) The run is not quality. Lots of sharp, shallow rocks = lots of gouges in your boat. Yes, folks this is mank... Majority of rapids have lines but they are marginal.
3) More flow would help this run but not make it great. Putting enough flow to cover up some/most of the rocks (~150-200 cfs) would remove some of the boat abuse but would likely make the run very continuous and intimidating, requiring long scouts and big hairy ballz.
4) If you go, bring a beater boat and a fire it up attitude. I'd suggest that you be V+ type and not afraid to take hits, definitely don't forget your elbow pads. Generally you should be the type of person who would rather take an experimental line thru a V-V+ rapid than portage.

To this I can add that Dave Steindorf of American Whitewater reports that not much more than the 120 cfs we had this past week can even be let out of the small penstock of the dam that forms French "lake." Every bit would help, so I say crank that thing counter-clockwise until it won't go anymore (and will say as much when I officially submit the findings of my exhaustive research to the flow study).

That's what I love about twenty-footers... I get older, and they stay the same height. Photo: Alex Wolfgram.

"Step out the front door like a ghost into the fog where no one notices the contrast of white on white..." Were the Counting Crows inspired by Peter Malkin and his Pearl Jefe? Fresh from a week at Burning Man, the Russian somehow manages to run the creek without paranoia or hallucinations getting the better of him.

Corey Tucker gets in the spirit of the party.
Canyon Creek is what professional kayaker Zak Shaw would call a "young catchment." That is a polite way of saying that the stream-bed is as sharp as a chess phenom on ginseng supplements. It is so high up in the watershed that it hasn't seen the flows over time that would smooth out the rough edges. A couple more ice-ages and it should be a classic!

Paddler: Taylor Cavin, Photo: Peter Malkin.
Human history hasn't done the creek much better than the geologic timescale. The Nevada County Irrigation District has the thing locked down like cell block "D" after a food riot. You will have not one but four reservoir paddles to reflect on this if you paddle the whole stretch from French "lake" to Bowman "lake." My favorite rapids were right above and below Faucherie "lake," so there must be some sick scuba-diving to be done in that one.

A gutter of the earth.


Anonymous said...

yea great to paddle with ya Taylor. Not the smooth granite of a classic, but I was stoked to be Huckin waterfalls Post Labor day in Cali. I mean, what other waterfalls are there to huck now? Splash Mountain won't let me bring in my kayak.
-greg d

E.G. said...

sick doggy way to keep on paddling man i love to see old friends that share the love with all the rivers, even the manky ones need lovin' too. hope to see you out on the water again some time soon man. later e.g.