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JayB
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  Quote JayB Replybullet Posted: 10 Jun 2009 at 4:48pm
Originally posted by Monk

I'd rather be boating than bickering about what is harder vs easier.  They were both fun runs that I would recommend to any solid IV boater looking for a little taste of ledgy action.

Jay B, I second Doof's beta.  If you are the guy I paddled with on the MM a few wednesday's ago, I think that the NF would be fun for you.  Come on up to Bham and join us sometime.

Sorry trad guy.


I think I'm that guy - we were chatting about NZ (cool movies on your site, BTW) - looking forward to heading up there.
-Jay
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  Quote slickhorn Replybullet Posted: 12 Jun 2009 at 4:37pm
Originally posted by Monk

I'd rather be boating than bickering about what is harder vs easier.  They were both fun runs that I would recommend to any solid IV boater looking for a little taste of ledgy action.


While I agree with the sentiment, this has been one of the more polite and on-topic threads in a while.  Let's save terms like "bickering" to describe the obnoxious off-topic trolling prevalent in other threads, not a serious discussion that is respectful on all sides.
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  Quote JayB Replybullet Posted: 12 Jun 2009 at 7:52pm
Soooo....

After getting on a couple of runs near the lower end of the scale I think I'm getting a reasonable sense of where I'm at on the calibration scale, and I've concluded that the thing to do is get as much mileage as possible on stuff that's at or near FITW in terms of difficulty.

I think that Tom/Tradguy2's description of what to expect on a first trip down the run was right on. Scouting the drops in advance *was* intimidating (so much so that I opted to start off the first run with the Fearsome Onesome, and left the option open to start of the top of the FF on the second run if things went well), but it does paddle easier than it looks.

Turns out that things went well enough on the first run to warrant starting at the top of FF the second time around, but an awful lot of credit for that goes to Fish/Scott - who was pretty much the perfect chaperone for the run. Checked in before each drop, gave pinpoint beta in the pool, and then showed how it was done out in front - couldn't have asked for a better guide down that sucker.

More mileage, more stylage, then we'll see about some selective escalation.




-Jay
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  Quote NateW Replybullet Posted: 28 May 2013 at 7:33am
I'm a new to creekboating paddler that has managed to follow this progression list rather closely. I started out this season getting on peshastin/ingalls at a fairly low level ~450cfs and getting a number of laps on it all the way up to ~1000cfs. Ingalls definitely got to be quite exciting at the higher levels.

This weekend I managed to get out on lower icicle (1100cfs / medium?) on Saturday and then ran both Cooper (medium level) and FITW (low / very low) Monday. As per the discussion in this thread I think it's a bit of a coin flip as to how you would rank the difficulty of these runs against each other. I had the most trouble with FITW - I managed to run the same drop backwards twice and make a mess of fisherman's both times.

Lower icicle felt like it was really an extension of running peshastin/ingalls with tough rapid right off the bat - kinda like how ingalls goes. I enjoyed the cooper the most, the drops were really fun and more spaced out so I felt like I could compose myself a bit more than FITW.

So I guess my advice to beginner people that find this thread would be to try any of them that you can get on with a good paddler to lead you down. I didn't have to use my brain much at all - just go on the line I was told to follow which I think was helpful at my ability level.
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  Quote FLUID Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2013 at 1:42pm

I think to approach it like "Ok I just ran FITWah, now I'm going to run somethin harder" is hastey and eroneous. Until you STOP ENTERING Boulder Drop ON THE FAR RIGHT like every Tom, Dick and Harriet ALWAYS DOES, you can't say B.D. is old hat. Go run laps on B.D. There are class V moves at 3000 if you're looking for them. There's also about 100 class IV lines that I almost never see anyone run.
"JP"

Agreed !! this is the the number one thing I see people doing when trying to step it up. There trying to step up the creek level without stepping up there game.. It's more important to be a solid solid class III-IV paddler than to be a so-so class IV paddler and want to step it up. not that you cant overcome the trials and errors but your experience of each new creek you run will be safer and much more positive and rewarding.

strive to run every river the same like training with intenent, drive, rhythm and flow. there are creeky feeling creeks and river feeling creeks and im not going to get into it but take every river as you come to it and be honest with your self and your skill. I would say Ricochet at good flows feels like big water but I would call it a creek because you must make creek moves where as real rivers your not boofing as much as your using laterals to move you around. Both are done in creek boats perhaps but take different techniuqes.

Its all perspective when you get right down to it... Top Tye isn't a place to be figuring out the ol boof stroke...... 100 laps on the copper working on not flipping, nailing every boof, running multipule lines, and catching every eddy you can....


Edited by FLUID - 29 May 2013 at 1:43pm
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  Quote TastyWaves Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2013 at 3:07pm
While its certainly not a creek by any stretch of the imagination, Tumwater Canyon deserves a place on this thread.
 
Tumwater should definitely be considered in the logical progression for any paddler in this area, and I would definitely want to be comfortable running Tumwater at lower levels (under 2500 cfs) before getting on Robe or Middle Icicle.
 
All the big rapids on Tumwater can be portaged easily if desired, but the skills you'll build paddling that river will get you prepared for just about anything with the exception of big vertical drops.  If you portage the bigger rapids (The Wall, Chaos, POW, and Exit) most people would say well why even bother, but the in between stuff is great III-IV paddling and you can work on lots of skills. If all of that is comfortable and you are styling it, you could think about running The Wall, and there's a rapid that could be run a 1,000 different ways with pretty minimal consequences.
 
Like yourself I took several years (6 or 7) out of the sport and when I came back I had completely lost confidence in my combat roll. Took me about 6 months to get back in the swing of things, and Tumwater Canyon was definitely the turning point for me.
 


Edited by TastyWaves - 29 May 2013 at 3:13pm
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  Quote JayB Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2013 at 8:15pm
Originally posted by TastyWaves

While its certainly not a creek by any stretch of the imagination, Tumwater Canyon deserves a place on this thread.
 
Tumwater should definitely be considered in the logical progression for any paddler in this area, and I would definitely want to be comfortable running Tumwater at lower levels (under 2500 cfs) before getting on Robe or Middle Icicle.
 
All the big rapids on Tumwater can be portaged easily if desired, but the skills you'll build paddling that river will get you prepared for just about anything with the exception of big vertical drops.  If you portage the bigger rapids (The Wall, Chaos, POW, and Exit) most people would say well why even bother, but the in between stuff is great III-IV paddling and you can work on lots of skills. If all of that is comfortable and you are styling it, you could think about running The Wall, and there's a rapid that could be run a 1,000 different ways with pretty minimal consequences.
 
Like yourself I took several years (6 or 7) out of the sport and when I came back I had completely lost confidence in my combat roll. Took me about 6 months to get back in the swing of things, and Tumwater Canyon was definitely the turning point for me.
 


Just out of curiosity - where would folks plug in Tumwater (taking out above Exit) at ~1000cfs, 2000cfs, etc?
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  Quote TastyWaves Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2013 at 8:24pm
I'm not sure I understand the question. You are trying to find holes to Plug? I know of one specific spot in Chaos... but the llama pit ain't recomendable my friend!!
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  Quote JayB Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2013 at 9:28pm
Originally posted by TastyWaves

I'm not sure I understand the question. You are trying to find holes to Plug? I know of one specific spot in Chaos... but the llama pit ain't recomendable my friend!!


Poor choice of words on my part. I meant - where would you rank Tumwater in terms of difficulty, running all of the rapids, relative to other runs that people have been using as benchmarks.

I ran everything but POW ~3 years ago at a ~900cfs and based on what I saw then I'd say the rapids are significantly more difficult than the Little Wenatchee, but the hazards are more obvious and the run is way less committing - so in the unlikely event that anyone asked my opinion, I'd say the prudent thing to do would be to hit Tumwater at low flows a bunch of times before putting on the Little Wenatchee so you'll be solid enough to deal with any nasty surprises that you might encounter in the LW...so I'd plug in Tumwater in the number 5 spot after the Cooper on the list below.


1. Peshastin Creek
2. Lower Icicle Creek in the lower range
3. Fall In The Wall in the lower range
4. Cooper in the lower range
5. Little Wenatchee / China Gorge
6. Canyon Creek Stilly or Lewis in the lower range
7. Top Tye in the lower range
8. Upper Icicle Creek in the lower range
9. Skokomish
10. Robe Canyon in the lower range 4.8 - 5.4


Edited by JayB - 29 May 2013 at 9:29pm
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  Quote FLUID Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2013 at 11:04pm
 

 

Your almost there... but still I think JP is all telling in this theme. your basing a list for your progression based on other peoples advise and learning curve however its a great list of rivers.  Tastey waves is right Tummy is SO great for progress late summer when its low because it's pool drop, warm and you can chew off what you want or portage your way down. if you do take this approach the "Lil Chee" (sorry LW is reserved)  will be long gone and dried up for the year and you'll have to catch it next season.

 Again as JP noted which I'm kind of jumping on board with and his essay style writing..haha is you can't make a list of rivers to progress because it's an edless journey and even those blind corners on those class III+ OP personal first D's when your new can be skill building all on its own. Sure you could make a list like your doing and say " I would like to run these rivers in the next year or two which are within my limits. the problem with your logic is you can't make a list like your doing and say well If I do FITW I'll be ready for the cooper. If I do the Cooper I'll be ready for tummy, when I'm done with tummy ill be ready for the Lil chee. Any one of these water systems has the porential to humble you regardless of order. I think if you run the cooper over and over you'll be ready for the lil chee if you are on your game and nailing every boof, catching every eddy and the most important in my book having NO FLIP RUNS. Which were all subject to But.... Being ready as you say for any nasty surprise is not about doing one certain run it's about seat time and move repetition. my favorite saying from a kayak coach I admire is repetition is the mother of all learning.  try to style acring boofs vs strait on boofs on every run you do over and over, mastering lift and pop off of pillows,  drop into holes on purpose on easy runs and try to deal in a controlled place, surfing pillows and headwalls in uncomfortable places on class II-III playboating is great for reaction time and quick rolling but practicing strokes and form the same way over and over is where its at.  I'm still perfecting the boof and smooth stroke combinations trying to see how on edge I can get my boat without flipping while cracking a boof or working on bow stearing and the illusive C-stroke all new creekers need to know which will help with bow stearing and controlling your kayak.  Repetition will give you muscle memory and muscle memory is what you want when your dealing with "nasty surprises" not another river notch in your river log. 

 

 I would put the first 5 rivers on your list including tummy at low flow on a list called good to go must lap as much as possible.  Leave robe and tye alone for a while and master  every boof and eddy on your must lap as much as possible list. Maybe the only thing making lil chee harder is the wood potential and yes remoteness but get beta and use good creeking judgment wether to put in or not which is another skill all in it's own.

 

 I dont mean to sound like an asshole but Sometimes I dont feel like running robe and will go do the Cooper or middle middle for sh*t sakes because your not always feeling it, !but when I paddle those runs even though there easy to me it''s still a river with possible danger or "hazards" lurking and  im paddling my ass off looking for training potential and working on my game and stroke proficiency.  Or at least thinking about it from time to time.

 

 You have a fine list going 1 through 6 and I'm not trying to say theres not a method here but there all pretty much the same.. I think at this point in the game the danger in tum is relative to the danger in the lil chee.

 

 I would say instead of a list of rivers make a list of skills you dont have and want to master and make that your goal for progressing on any river you run !! get with someone you like to watch kayak or admire and go with them if you can and always try to paddle with people who are better than you on easy runs. I know it's hard to do and the groups are elite here but folks like brett JP and I are always switching it up and am out on easy creeking runs all the time, woking on game and the pure love of the river !!


Oh and most of all .. as long as you have fun!!!

Edited by FLUID - 30 May 2013 at 1:19am
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  Quote Travisimo Replybullet Posted: 30 May 2013 at 2:27am
Run the Ohane when it gets low... prettier than most any of those runs... toward the top in difficulty until it gets low.

PM me when it gets low in the Summer... I'll be there as often as I can.
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  Quote JayB Replybullet Posted: 30 May 2013 at 9:54am
-Definitely good points. FWIW I just cut and pasted that list from Jame's original post (at the start of the thread) from 2009. What you describe is basically the plan I've been on since 2009 or so, but since you mentioned Tumwater as an overlooked run for folks looking to build skills I thought I'd try to get a handle on where you ranked it (at low flows) relative to other runs since the main point of the thread was to give folks who were trying to calibrate their progression some benchmarks.

Obviously the nature of boating makes it impossible to do that perfectly, and most of the best content in the thread (including your comments) came from people pointing out the flaws and limitations inherent in trying to rank rivers in terms of difficulty...but I still think it's useful, and I've run into a number of people who have found the lists and all of the comments on this thread to be a great resource.


Edited by JayB - 30 May 2013 at 9:56am
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  Quote Jed Hawkes Replybullet Posted: 30 May 2013 at 11:37am
Originally posted by FLUID

 I would say instead of a list of rivers make a list of skills you dont have and want to master and make that your goal for progressing on any river you run


This is the key, when it comes to creeking, mastering the boof stroke will be the chockstone that brings all the creeking skills together. being able to identify the intricacies of the boof and how you want to drive towards it will change how you creek. Being able to look downstream and say "i'm going to delay boof this" it the hardest part about learning to creek, not all boofs are straight-forward-approach-at-90-degrees-and-crank-at-the-lip-and-get-a-rock-assisted-boof. Sometimes they're faders, delayed, into the eddy, down the eddyline, sweep boofs, rock boofs, dufek-to-boof, and so much more.

Being able to quickly identify those from upstream in the moments before you actually have to make the boof will change everything and you won't really dial in until you've been creeking for a little while.

A good place for this practice is the MM at 3000 and Sky at 2000-6000, if your creative and are looking for those little 1.5 foot boofs into the eddy you'll really progress.

Good luck, and practice those skills every-time you paddle.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 30 May 2013 at 11:56am
Well, n8r78, I think It's cool that you revived this thread. I stayed away because sometimes, when no one else participates in these discussions, I feel as though I am monopolizing the thread, or chasing PPeeps away w/ my heavy handed opining. Awesome to hear you got on Icicle, sorry I was busy trying to raft guide somewhere else.

Fluid, did you go to a PSYCHIC MEDIUM or someone? Because you sound like you are channeling the Undead jP pretty well . Saying some things better than I could, in fact. I agree it has more to do w/ seat time, and repitition of moves. On that note, Nate, if Lower Icicle wasn't on the fringe of your ability, I'd say you may have gained another "step" on this "ladder". It is closer to where you live than the Cooper, if I'm correct, so I would try to get out on it a bunch more this summer while it is in. Maybe Upper Ici at lower flows (you can always portage a drop or two).

Now let's take a humorous look at this whole "step ladder" metaphor, because it does over simplify things as fluid pointed out. One time I was paddling some flatwater w/ Bret The Waterwacko, and we were talking about this concept. Suddenly we started to free associate. Maybe he started it but it went something like this...
"Step it up. Step down"
"Step off!"
"Step Back!"
"Step aside"
"Step around"
"Step over"
"Step forward"

Ok now I'm adding a few, but I think if you ask anyone in the game they can tell you the journey is a mix of all of those at varying points.

The saying "step it up" has always bothered me because I feel one should already occupy the step that the new run in question is on. And, if the foundation upon which you set up your step ladder isn't solid, you may fall and bust your ass when you go to change that lightbulb. Fluid's perscription is a good recipe for having a solid foundation. I'd say though that once you are a few steps up on this ladder you want to hang out and get comfortable before moving too far up too soon.

New runs challenge a boater and therefore you can progress, but as Fluid said repitition is great because you can hit the same boof on the same run over and over and judge your consistency at hitting these moves time and time again. So having the local favorite that challenges you is key. You want the consistency to hit those moves consistently. Then when you scout a new rapid you are about to run that has you on edge you can say "that manuever is very similar to the one on ________ Creek, and I nail that move every time. I got this..."

I have exiled myself to only Icicle all season. It has consistently been running quite high. A few times it schooled me pretty good, but within my capacity to cope and deal (because I was smart to not push too hard against some of the rapids and drops- I portage what I need to when I feel the need.) Then I went to Robe after being away since October, and slayed every line. Just crushed the last sunshine boof- it felt SO GOOD! I think it was the repitition.

But then again, went to Top Tye the next day (a run I consider significantly easier than Robe) and finnally got "initiated". Tooled. Chundered. It SUCKED. No, I didn't swim, and didn't hit rocks too hard while upside down, but a buddy dropped in behind me and got hurt. All because I got a foot off my line above the lip. And it was a straight up medium flow. Maybe he was a little close, but I junked up my lines above there, too, so he caught up to me quick. And, he probably wanted to see where to go, being less familiar w/ the run. One moral here might be don't follow too close, another topic we need to discuss, but also don't get too comfortable that you get complacent. (Would some better verbal beta above the drop prevented this?) It sucks wondering "what if" once The River has dealt its hand. It is a sport full of risks we take for granted. It sucks to see a friend get hurt by your boat, even if "blame" is difficult or impossible to assign to either of you.

Overall we have to try to always boat w/ our human brain and human heart, and not give the reigns over to the monkey brain.
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  Quote NateW Replybullet Posted: 31 May 2013 at 11:59am
Ahh the confidence I'd built over the last few days smacked down by the Icicle. Went upsidedown - missed a roll smacked and my shoulder. A wee bit sore to say the least today and it definitely doesn't feel 'right'. I don't think it will knock me out for too long but I'll definitely be a little less confident on my next lap.
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  Quote SOPBOATER Replybullet Posted: 31 May 2013 at 2:00pm
shake that sh*t off.   don't forget it, but process it (off the river over a beer). then boat with the same or more confidence (u survived, and are now smarter). hesitation in the car or at the Putin is good sometimes, however its never good in the seat of your craft. the trick is being able to Jedi mind trick yourself when u need to and just not putting in when prudent for you to do so. sometimes on the learning ladder of life and boating its hard to know.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 02 Jun 2013 at 2:00am
Yeah, and while Lower Icicle is the gateway to all things Icicle (typically) it is not a good place to flip. As Fluid pointed out, not flipping is generally pretty virtuous for the prudent boater. Sure, its gonna happen, but thats why more water is better, not less. I'm not hitting rocks when I flip on Icicle because they are liberally covered w/ water. Then when the water is lower it is comparitively less powerful, and I'm less likely to flip. But since flipping in higher water is more likely (powerfull scaled up features), obviously a solid combat roll is key.

I agree w/ SOPwithCamelBOATER:
It sucks that happened, but shake it off. Do what's necessary to heal that thing, then try to get back on that horse. Nate, I'd say get a hold of me when you are ready. I know Icicle very well and would be glad to put down some good lines for ya to follow any time I can.



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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 02 Jun 2013 at 2:01am
Words of wisdom about listening to that spidey sense (SOPwithCamelBOATER)
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 02 Jun 2013 at 2:44am
Sorry to continue, but the "step it up" discussion must not only include our wish lists (which as Fluid pointed out can be a misleading way to conceptualize things), but we must also consider flow ranges, as just was discussed in the Coopdate thread.

PPeeps who want to "step it up" should take a familiar run and keep adding water. While you can control which put in you decide to drive to, controlling the flow you find when you get there...

Well, that's all up to mother nature now ain't it?
Sometimes its cut and dried but often flows are a vague thing to guage. Especially if its some obscure run out of the Bennette Book no one hardly ever goes to boat.

Maybe you show up to Jefferson and its f**king raspy 50 grit low. But hell you been driving all morning and now here you are. Sure, you can eat $4.00/gallon, but most boaters are gonna put on because they are there. Nevermind a little peer pressure. So in this example I guess its good to have some ELF boating experience and skill so you can save the plastic on your poor abused boat and at least not crack it. Maybe spare the skin on your knuckles while your at it.

Or the converse- say you show up to the Grays and never ran it before. Its chocolate grey milk and looks kinda pumping. Its good to know that despite maybe being on the higher end of recommended flows, you can handle the extra push. Maybe you and your group are now upgrading your itinerary to a more adventurous day than planned. Again, never mind a little peer pressure, even un expressed, subtle and below the surface peer pressure.

...and sometimes its raining and the guages don't update and sh*t spikes surprisingly hard and fast after you've already put on. You just booked your tickets, the train has left the station. Hopefully this proverbial 'you' (we) can leverage our skill and experience and complete the river trip in a sensible manner. Most of the time, unless there is catastrophic gear failure or injury, hiking off a run is lame It usually happens to people who aren't experienced, didn't research the run, or simply didn't have the sense to realize they didn't belong there.

All this is to say that cultivating a wide range of experience at different water levels is very important. Permanent low water boaters seldom progress to a level of proficiency required to truly explore new runs comfortably. (Not talking about IK's- they are a different animal altogether, and boat ELF flows better. But they are also limited to those lower flows, generally).

So rather than using the cliche "stepping it up" let's say progression instead. Boaters who want to progress will run their familiar runs at higher flows. I went off a year and a half ago about running the Green at higher flows.

Bam. Perfect place to start. If you already know the Green at 2400 or so, go run it with someone who is better than you at 3200. Then try it out at 3700. Sure, as you up the ante you'll need an appropriate level of fitness and a more earnest comitment to rolling on the first, second or third attempt. Highwater swimming should be avoided, or you should scout and consider portaging more. Don't avoid the Green at 3200 because you are afraid of the Nozzle. Hell, portage that sh*t if you got to. If you can't creep up to the the rapid at higher flows so you can portage it, you shouldn't have put on to begin w/.

I'd say running the Green at higher flows is a great doorway to paddling bigger water in general, and a perfect prerequisite for runs like Icicle and Robe.
And howbout that wonderful Sky? Why is it that so many PPeeps are out running it under 5,000 and then from 6,000 up attendence falls off? And so close to Seattle. The Sky should just be swarming w/ kayakers every weekend, yet remains largely a solitary experience. Sure, Boulder Drop at 7-9,000 might scare ya or even swim ya. But that's a great place to "step it up" because everyone knows BAD ASS B.D. You know what you are gonna get. Easy to scout, easy to test yourself in a controlled setting, ect. Man that rapid still challenges me and keeps me honest about where I'm really at.


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  Quote NateW Replybullet Posted: 14 Jun 2013 at 11:31am
Got out on the Entiat and ran this section:
http://www.professorpaddle.com/rivers/riverdetails.asp?riverid=433

Probably 950 or so yesterday and was dropping out. Overall the run went well, but this is definitely a step up from Lower Icicle in the continuous nature of the run even though I think the run is a bit cleaner and friendlier overall. Didn't stay upright which is frustrating but no major drama.

I guess this run is a bit out of the way for the westsiders but I thought it was quite fun. The section from fox creek campground to the last rapid would actually be a good 'beginner' creek boating run. It's easier than Peshastin and you could work up the courage to run the last drop.
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