Wow- I never thought getting out of bed on New Years Day would be as difficult as it was this year. Although I wasn’t out that late, I awoke to classic NW winter weather with rain, and lots of wind. Having never been to the OWA New Years Day paddle, and as my closest friends backed out, I remembered what my life was all about. Charging rivers in ANY condition. And knowing that it was the first official Team River Runner event in Portland, I loaded my boat, and drove out. Little did I know that the Sandy River would surge from 5,000 cfs to nearly 13,000 cfs in the span of the day. Although it was our first shot at getting vets out on the water, I was astonished at the level of support that we got from the OWA- there were almost 20 rafts ready to launch by the time I got to the put in. After messing with equipment (for longer than we should have), we got on the water, and I took the only shots from the day.
Val Shaull, and Tim Brink were the fear less raft guides and Kevin Pannell was on yet another guide training trip. It all started out well, but quickly a safety kayaker that I brought was in need of rescue. He went for a swim just before pipeline rapid, and his boat freight trained down stream. Thankfully Sybille, and Ralph helped Kevin to shore, and Zach (a catarafter) ended up grabbing the boat, and attaching it to his raft for the rest of the trip. The water was murky, and quickly getting darker. The rain never ceased and by the end everyone was wet, cold and smiling.
Ralph, Sybille, and Dr. Greg ready to run the river.
I’d have to say a highlight of the day was the potluck afterwards. Despite being a little concerned for my kayaking comrads who I never saw again after the put in, the BBQ was delish! Huge props to everyone who brought food and lots of cookies, and to Don from the DAV who BBQ’d a ton of meat for everyone! Thanks to Jerry who coordinated the vets, and the OR Rafting team for providing leadership. And to everyone else who came out and hung out in the cold for New Years Day! I love the WW community in Portland.