MISSION: Silly Slides
LOCATION: Crested Butte, CO
PADDLERS: Boyd Ruppelt, Samantha Brunner, Josh Oberleas
(Boyd Dropping in by Josh Oberleas)
So as belated report from our trip to Colorado, Me and Samantha Brunner had the pleasure of catching a section that is rarely run on the Upper North Fork of Daisy Creek in Crested Butte, CO. Affectionately known as "the Silly Slides" this section rests hidden away from the hustle and bustle and mass-hucking of the other Crested Butte area creeks, usually under snow until it is too low to run. With the seemingly long 4x4 road/walk up Daisy Pass beyond the normal Daisy Creek put-in, most paddlers look up at the beaver dams not realizing what's just up the road.
(beautiful scenery on a beautiful run. Photo of Boyd by Josh Oberleas)
(plenty of fresh drinking water... and if you get thirsty on the run, just take a big gulp)
Curious to see for myself what was in the pass, I took off on a fast hike with Samantha Brunner to find out our first day in Colorado. What we found was a fun looking series of slides and waterfalls just appearing out of the snow with plenty of runnable flow. The only problem was an unportageable (or hard-to-portage) snow plug blocking the exit of the run.
So after our waterfall adventure with Adam Goshorn and Matt Wallace, we met back up with our Gunny turned Chile friend, Josh Oberleas, for some more good times in Crested Butte. Without hesitation, we went right up to the Daisy Creek put-in for a quick check to see if the upper section was open. Sure enough we found good flows, although we all wanted more (never satisfied I know), and a good section was completely clear of snow:
(Samantha charging down below the 3rd drop... photo by Josh Oberleas)
The start was one of the most scenic and interesting put-ins in the area, with a seal launch right off a large snow plug into the river:
(Samantha about to slide in right above the first drop. photo by Boyd Ruppelt)
(Samantha on her way down by Josh Oberleas)
The creek is literally just emerging from the snow as some of the coldest, but cleanest, water I've ever felt!
(Boyd on drop #1 by Samantha Brunner)
(Samantha charging down the first one with the second one in the foreground by Boyd Ruppelt)
From there the creek goes around a bend and immediately off drop number 3, the sketchiest looking slide on the run. It looked a bit boat/back abusive when we were first scouting it, but we found out fast that the clear water made this whole run look lower than it was. This drop was no exception, going a lot smoother than we thought it would and with an awesome boof/90 degree turn combo on the last bit of the drop to avoid the wall.
(Samantha on drop 3 by Boyd)
(Boyd making the last boof/turn move by Samantha Brunner)
We couldn't get over the water quality, scenery, and fun nature of the run... since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's some more pictures:
(Josh Oberleas about to go off another by Boyd Ruppelt)
(Boyd in just his rashguard... ok, it was a bit cold... by Josh Oberleas)
(Samantha loving her Jackson Hero! by Josh Oberleas)
(the view downstream... by Josh Oberleas)
(Boyd carving off the last one... by Josh Oberleas)
(Josh Oberleas threading his way down the last one... by Boyd Ruppelt)
(Samantha threading the needle between flakes on the last one by Boyd Ruppelt)
From the "Silly Slides" we continued on a fast, fun runnout that felt like a cold convayer belt until we got to a weird, short, hedgy section of blind, mid-stream bush-wacking. It doesn't last long and is quicker than getting out. Suddenly we found ourselves in a channel dropping off beaver dam ledge after beaver dam ledge. The current kept picking up and we were amazed to find a beautiful and fun paddle all the way to the big portage at the normal Daisy put-in, never getting out of our boats until then. After the portage we continued our way down Daisy Creek until we finally all flew off Big Wood Falls:
(Samantha on Big Wood Falls by Josh Oberleas)
(Boyd enjoying the Hero's boofing capabilities off Big Wood Falls by Samantha Brunner)
(the view up the road from the normal Daisy put-in by Boyd Ruppelt)
It's amazing it doesn't get run more often. It was worth the effort and a beautiful day that is rarely experienced in an area considered by some to be "over-done"... hopefully this will open some eyes to what might be waiting just around that next corner...
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