It is a cool, overcast morning (12 degrees C) and paddlers are slowly making their way to the edge of the Yukon River with boats in tow. By 11:30 a.m. yesterday, June 29, the banks are packed—support crews, boats, fans and officials—for the start of the 13th annual Yukon River Quest, a 460 mile (740km) paddle down the Yukon River.
The 2011 International Canoe Federation Freestyle Kayak World Championships could be called Dane’s party, as U.S. 17-year-old paddler Dane Jackson was not only the first and only person to ever compete in all four freestyle disciplines, but also took top honors in three of the four. The Tennessee teen also won bronze in the other.
The 63rd annual edition of the FIBArk Whitewater Festival went down over the weekend in Salida, Colo., with a multitude of events on and off the water. By Sunday afternoon, we learned from the New Belgium beer vendors that festival goers had ghosted some 100 kegs of beer and another vendor nearby at the downtown park, the festival’s HQ, had sold some 700 to 800 roasted turkey legs.
ear-mutiny comes on Day Three of an early-season canoe trip in the wilds of northeastern Ontario. We came to Temagami, a 6,000 square-mile canoe-tripping paradise, to visit a lake that was named after my great-grandfather over a century ago. Marooned on icebound Smoothwater Lake, it’s painfully clear we’re not going to make it to Mihell Lake.
There will be grass skirts, leis and luaus, Hawaiian beer—Primo, is the official beer sponsor—and of course a whole lot of surfing on some of the heaviest water ever seen in western Colorado. Flows at the Glenwood Springs, Colo., play park wave hit unprecedented levels this week—geese, apparently, can surf 25,000-plus cfs, no worries—but then again the park has only been around since March 2008.
TOM BYERS’ DARK, DUSTY CANOE WORKSHOP IS CLUTTERED WITH EVERYTHING EXCEPT POWER TOOLS. The accomplished backwoods builder shapes immaculate birchbark craft by axe, knife, awl, and bit brace. Hundreds of feet of peeled jack pine roots join the pieces, all products of the northern forest-birchbark skin, white cedar ribs and sheathing, spruce gum-steeped in the indigenous heritage of this centuries-old alchemy.
The traveling carnival that is freestyle kayaking pulled into Vail, Colo., over the weekend for the 10th annual Teva Mountain Games. Emily Jackson—no surprise here—captured her seventh-straight TMG kayak freestyle title, while the other Jacksons—Emily’s dad, Eric, and brother, Dane—settled for second and third place in the men’s finals on Saturday behind Colorado paddler Dustin Urban…
We have been traveling really well so far. We have skied about 380 miles in 23 days—we could not have asked for better ice conditions thus far. Lots of adverse and dramatic weather: Really hot, then really cold, etc. We really have to be ready to throw on different layers all day long depending on what the polar environment gives us.
—A little context from C&K‘s 2011 issue of Whitewater, now available on newsstands: “Lowdown: Cody Howard and company return for unfinished business from 2009’s The Risen Sun, hoping to knock off some firsts near Minikami, north-central Japan’s creekboating hub, as well as help the local paddling community’s rebuilding efforts following the devastating March earthquake and […]
From his unmistakeable RV on the banks of Utah’s Green River, getting ready for yet another freestyle competition, Eric Jackson just received word that his son Dane had just won the progressive six-stage Whitewater Grand Prix event in Quebec. “Pretty cool that in a competition that’s set up in a way to separate the men from the boys, that a 17-year-old won it,” E.J. said.
Photos by Adam Elliott With the right to claim the “U.S. team” title up for grabs, both of the men’s and the women’s reigning national raft teams defended their long-standing positions as the country’s top R-6 race squads at this weekend’s Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival outside Portland, Oregon. The festival, celebrating its 28th year, had […]
The run started calmly enough with some Class III and Class IV rapids. Then it transitioned to Class V with some runnable whitewater, but lots of portages. We encountered some great rapids, amazing scenery and a gorgeous un-runnable falls. We only had a half-day of paddling, due to the morning’s preparations, but found a great spot for camping at 6 p.m. and we were all in good spirits for the beginning of our adventure.
Name a steep creek competition after the “Northwest,” a region known for capricious weather and copious precipitation, and it should be no surprise when river levels skyrocket overnight. Still, waking up to three times as much water flowing through the narrow gorges on the East Fork of the Lewis River elicited surprise—and trepidation—from most competitors.
4.17.11, ~2:30 p.m. Toketee Falls, on the North Umpqua River in southern Oregon, has only had more than ~75 cfs five times in the last year, because of an antiquated hydro-power diversion. I was planning on paddling somewhere else when I woke up in the morning, but looked at flows after a night of rain and saw the gauge above Toketee at ~250 and going up slowly.
Oh spring, glorious spring! On April 1 the California Department of Water Resources reported that the Shasta River Basin was showing 199 percent of its average snowpack. At the end of March, Northstar-at-Tahoe reported 42 feet of snow—the ski resort’s snowiest winter in 25 years. Most whitewater paddlers are frothing over the length and potential of this fresh season with the amount of precipitation feeling borderline biblical.