Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Stikine Day 2-Long and Walled-in

To watch video from day two=>
Click Here

To watch video from day two=>
Click Here

We awoke on the morning of the 12th, with a passing hope that a repeat of 3 years ago did not occur again anywhere in the world. We celebrated freedom on September 11th by dropping into a canyon so inhospitable to be free of errant terrorists, but we new nothing of what else occurred that day. The place we chose to sleep, Site Zed, is the remains of a Dam project that intended to stop the flow of the Grand Canyon of the Stikine in order to generate Hydropower for foreign interests (read US).

This act of terrorism against the environment, least of all upon one of the most special and pure places in all of North America, was averted when it was discovered to be unprofitable to build the extensively long transmission lines to carry the power south. The Grand Canyon was spared thanks to a few intelligent capitalists who, working off of legitimate Break-Even Analysis, made the call to not damn the canyon in the name of protecting future profits.

Cooking breakfast @ Site Zed

photo by Nikki Kelly

The morning sun rising on the cliffs @ Site Zed. Fall seemed to come upon the area in the short few days we were there.

photo by Nikki Kelly

Onn the after noon of the 11th, Polk, myself, Nikki and Toby, portaged our empty kayaks the 90 minutes around Site Zed Rapid. Site Zed is the last unrun cataract in the Grand Canyon. Tommy, John, Fred and Justin chose to scout the rapid and portage full boats in the morning.

The weather on the 11th was, after it stopped snowing, mostly a constant drizzle. The skies cleared of rain as we made camp, and remained in a near constant state of ‘mostly cloudy’ for the remainder of the trip.

Site Zed

photo by Nikki Kelly

Tommy, wishing he were down there and not up here.

photo by Nikki Kelly

John Grace mid hour and a half portage with 90-pound kayak.

photo by Nikki Kelly

Looking into the gut of it.

photo by Nikki Kelly

John Grace, high noon ferrying below Zed. We finally got on the water at noon and had a challenging ferry right off the bat. Once again the power of the river was overwhelming.

photo by Nikki Kelly

The big ferry kicked everything off and the Canyon only grew tighter as we moved downstream. The big rapid of the day, The Wall, was on everyone’s mind. We new it was tricky and had caused problems for trips in the past.

Before we made it there we ran into a rapid we weren’t exactly expecting. What we now know as ‘always a fucking problem’ or AFP, presented itself as a rather un-open rapid. There were four or five big holes, littered across the rapid and seams joining them all together. I ran first, down the meat and caught a huge seam and went sub-surface for a tentative few moments and returned thankfully angled in the right direction.

“Watch out for the seams” says Charlie Munsey

From the bottom I watched Freddy frantically back ferrying above the drop, lost in the immensity of it. Polk backendered at the top and was unmercifully swept upside down over the edge of the monster center hole, but was swept downstream in a huge flush.
John Grace ran from right to left and found himself headed for the gut of the bad hole. He boofed the right edge with pure abandon, and flushed out all in a matter of seconds.

Lunch found us still walled in and running bigger and bigger rapids, still no ‘wall’ to be found.

Looking upstream of Day 2 lunch.

“What’s in your sac?”

Daniel doing his impersonation of a ‘floater’, lunch rapid day 2.

Polk Deters deep in lunch day 2.

John Grace somewhere on day 2

Finally we got to ‘the wall”. Possibly one of the finest big water rapids out there, all of the elements were in play, big holes, lateral waves, gnarly undercut rocks in the riverbed, all that shit. Tommy and myself set out first and it was awesome. Big ass shit. Just a taste of what was to come on day 3.

Nikki Kelly in the Garden of the Gods, the last drop of Day 2.


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