THE FIRST DESCENT OF QUEEN CREEK, AZ
(Images are stills from Kayak Session presents: The Risen Sun, a huckinhuge film)
So this creek has always haunted my dreams. I have been driving along side of it for 12 years of boating and never have I had the opportunity to boat it. Located just 50 minutes outside of metro Phoenix, AZ...this roadside run has always attracted motorists and rock climbers. Dubbed "Devil's Canyon of Queen Creek" by most, not to be confused with the true Devil's Canyon just upstream of this slot in the earth.
So I was called by Tyler Williams to meet him at Sycamore Creek (the next weeks 1st D). Upon arrival, we found Sycamore to be running at a massive 4-6,000 cfs. So plans changed immediately, to what I thought would be our best bet. Boy was I wrong! I drug him out to Queen Creek to find it was absurdly high as well.
Queen Creek, the 20 footer "Moko Jumbie" @ Flood
So obviously, we didn't do anything that day but run up and down the canyon, shouting and jumping like idiots in the rain....damn boaters!
But fear not, I was going to get in there alright! That night I called everyone, trying to rally a crew for the weekday descent. This was a tough task, but pards, Hut Wade, Ryan Fair and by bro Bret Howard came through. We met at 5am and drove out to the creek....finding it at perfect flow (100 cfs). So I convinced them not to waste any time and to "just put on" under my careful instructions. Well, the thing is with this creek (550 fpm), there really is 0 warm-up. Breaking out the cameras (for film for THE RISEN SUN
) I set up high on the bank and shot a killer downstream shot of the put-in drop, "Balls to the Wall"....I know, cheesy, but aptly named.
Ryan Fair, contemplating why he is doing this at 6am..and about to have a major wake up call!
So after seeing some awesome lines on this 80 foot long slide, we continued on downstream. The next drop would be our only portage, Moko Jumbie. A pile of rocks from the road's construction. Next up was "Vegas"...a 20-25 foot tiered drop. That was the "choice drop" of the run. I'll leave you in suspense about this drop...footage will be in the film. But for now, here is a little slideshow for you (if you are still reading).
1st D Slide Show
So after Vegas, we paddled out of the only true "pool" on the run, and came up to "Pencil Pusher"....a 14 footer landing on rocks. And tard, eummm...Hut, decided to run this. Props, because there is no true line at this flow, and he didn't break any bones.
Hut, trying not to break all of his bones in his legs.
After Hut came away un-scathed, immediately the creek dropped into an impressive narrows of 5 back-to-back drops, ranging in height of 5-15 ft, all with some sort of nasty sharp rocks (oh did I mention this...ya, every rock either has re-bar wrapped around it, or is a product of dynamite). This alley of five drops would woop all of our a$$es. The top 4 drops were sweet, but the last drop made us pay. Dubbed, "Five Finger Death Punch"...check the band out too.
Droppin' into Five Finger Death Punch (notice Pencil Pusher in the BG)
Well, we were almost done, and we had taken all morning just to boat and film .7 miles. The last coupla drops would be the icing on the cake. We had a sheer 300 foot vertical walled gorge ending in a 12 footer and then another tight slot called the Tunnel of Love. So to wrap up this epic, roadside first descent, we dropped some 500 feet in just over a mile and had the bloody knuckles, catus, bruises and SMILES to prove it.....along with some killer footage. Check it! Huckin Huge.com