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Robe Commands Respect.

Stillaguamish, S. Fork
Class: V      GMap
3 - Verlot to Granite Falls (Robe Canyon Run)
Trip Date: 4/19/2008
Written on: 4/20/2008
Written by:

So yesterday was my inaugural run on Robe Canyon. Can't help but wonder why I didn't run it sooner. Lately I'm really feeling like I need to pull my head out of my ass and devote more of my life to paddling like I used to. Few things in life match up to paddling. Robe is yet another reminder of this.

I gotta tell ya: just being honest, but damn it was impressed upon me as soon as things canyon-ed up in there that this was a kick'n run. It was low, as later the stick gauge read 5.05.
Now you Robe veterans might scoff, but I concluded that I didn't really want to be in there at much of a higher flow. Not on the first date, anyway. Quite a bit of squeeze happening through there. I could see pumping up the volume though once I knew where I was going.

I was glad to be with Rob, D-1, and Brad, paddlers I know and trust, without any driftwood bobbing downstream to get potentially tangled up with. Brock was there, too, 'cept I never saw him 'cause he was always way out front, an I was the hangdog on this trip.

Thanks to Rob for the above rapid breifings, descriptive and concise, and some great lines to follow (as well as the occassional option to take other routes and NOT follow the man) I was able to run the whole thing without getting out once to scout! Really my favorite way to see a new run, if I can do it comfortably. Even with my deplorable leaky skirt, I didn't have to get out of the boat until Landslide. It's nice when you can run something faster than your boat can fill up. Snow flurries during the portage-woo-hoo!

But damn, it's really a complex riverscape in there. Not only does it have lots of steep drops, and constricted spots, but lots of boulders too. Most of which are scattered in rather illogical combinations that defy my very experienced mental catalog of river anatomy. I really had to stay on my toes. I mean, it's a melange of all things that produce whitewater: Obstacles, gradient, and constriction all mixed up and tightly packed in quick succession. And even at that lower flow it felt VERY powerful, at least for a 90lb weakling like me. I actually had to paddle to hit lines, stay on lines, hit eddies, ect. Lots of muscular currents, very dynamic. After a bit I got used to the character and was able to loosen up and hang on for the ride.

Flipped once on some pillow on River left, at T-1. after that, pretty much kept my head dry. I still was humbled by the run for sure. I bonked a rock with my nose above "Broadway"- it was hidden in the silty water. Disadvantage of the Diablo, admittedly.Those guys didn't have any trouble, of course. The flumes that run out of many of the drops are impressive and fun to ride out. I followed D-1 off of some Boof line in the Center of the river: didn't know how high it was actually gonna be and when I launched off the lip: damn this is actually a lofty 'lil Boofer!! What a blast! And I could see that when a paddler gets familiar with the run, lots of alternate lines open up. So I want to go back. Soon. While it's running this season.

Anyway-awesome run! got off the river feeling charged up.

If I can get out there sometime soon when it's a little warmer, It'd be nice to put on early and scout a bit, just to accelerate some familiarity with the run. I guess the race is next weekend, huh? I'd like to go in early, find a nice boulder, and SPECTATE. Hopefully it won't be SNOWING next time. You won't catch me racing for time in there anytime soon :)

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