After catching the early bird special at the Evergreen Cafe, my buddy Fil
and I drove across Cottonwood pass in the general direction of Crested Butte, home to the infamously famous Oh Be Joyful creek. As soon as we could we took a wrong turn, landing us at the not-so-exciting Spring Creek Reservoir. We found a dirty Colorado map in between the seats and found a road cutting back in the right direction. As we drove across marshes, beaver dams, and the occasional wildlife reservation for highly endangered RV populations, we noticed that there was water running downhill next to the road. Corner after corner we watched in hopes of discovering the new Grande
Canyon of the Stikine
(Don't pretend you don't know the feeling). When the not-so-grande
canyon of Spring Creek narrowed a little we spotted the most telltale sign of any that there must be a drop somewhere near: a huge flock of nature photographers. They lined every inch of the shore, and sure enough there was a mini-gorge with about seven little drops in it. The only problem, other than the arsenal of zoom lenses ready play duck hunt, was two pieces of wood at really crucial places. We tried moving one with a rope, but without any luck. Instead, we ran only the upper half of the mini-gorge; a series of two to two and a half foot ledges. The photographers were stoked.
A little farther down the road we found more little gorges, all choked with wood, and all asking to be run. One rapid dropped something like a hundred feet in a little less than a hundred feet. I recommend
this first descent to anyone willing to push the limits of hairball kayaking, get really rich and famous, and who has a working chainsaw--preferably attached somehow to the bow of their boat. Like so:
It was only 10:30 when we finished exploring all we could stomach
of Spring Creek. We were told by a man on a four-wheeler that in twenty years he has never seen a kayaker
even on that road. There were a lot of people on four-wheelers in that area. In fact, I saw more four-wheelers and American flags during that short drive than I had in my entire life leading up to it. It made me nervous.
Speaking of getting nervous, Oh Be Joyful was intimidatingly low, dislocated at least one shoulder that day and left me solo-boating a bunch
of laps. Whee!
And now I leave you with a completely random picture of "The God of Death" entering a pond-skim competition back in Oregon: