BrianP's Submission - Entered on 4/9/2016 10:14:00 PM
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Minimum Recomended Level: 0 Maximum Recomended Level: 0
Put in at turnout 1.5 miles from Lester Park. You'll see a slide visible right from the road.
Take out in Lester Park
Usually one of the first creeks to run on the North Shore of Lake Superior.
The Lester is a favorite of local creekers as it provides class IV-V action right in the city of Duluth. The Lester River Race is held each year as a kind of opening to the boating season.
Before you hike up to put in just above the put in slide, walk back down the road to the next turnout to have a look at Limbo. It's probably the smallest rapid on the run but also the most technical. Usual line is to boof into the pillow river right and hold on as the river makes a 90 degree turn over the next pitch.
From here, there are 2 smaller class III rapids which some call "2 mini-limbo's." The next rapid of consequence is Naked Man. This rapid has a fast lead in of about 30 yards and terminates at a 15 foot ledge. You'll want to scout ahead of time as the line is quite different depending on the level. At high water the hole tends to treat people to group swims if you don't hit it straight. Taken together this one gets a class V rating.
Next up is Mini-Octopus which is a pretty straight forward class IV rapid. Usual line is hugging the right shoreline over a couple of nice boofs.
Once you get closer to Lester Park you've got 3 rapids in close proximity. The first is Oh God. This is the 2nd biggest slide, and fast. All I can say is take a look or follow someone.
Just beyond this rapid comes Holy Shit. This is the longest, biggest slide on the run. Again, have a look or follow someone but most importantly, grab the first eddy you can on river right. There are very few eddies and Almost Always is just downstream.
Almost Always is an off angle waterfall/slide of about 35 feet with a cool airplane move on entry. However, since the flood of 2012 it's changed and dishes out some viscious beatings. The first few runs after the flood resulted in broken noses, paddles, shoulders, and stitches. At very high flows the hole washes out and it's run more often. (The name comes from it's earliest descents in the 80's when it was almost always portaged.)
Portage river right and put in just below. From here on out it's just a nice paddle through a small rhyolite canyon until you reach the park.
Like many/most north shore runs, the rocks are sharp and the water is shallow so staying upright is a worthwhile endeavor, as are elbow pads.