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Idaho Ski Raft trip – Part III

The Marsh Creek start to floating the Middle Fork of the Salmon has never had much appeal for me; its reputation is that of a swift creek with lots of wood (ie trees that have fallen across the entire span of the river) and few eddies to suss out what’s downstream and escape the river to avoid said wood.  Rafts in particular have a tough go, since rafts aren’t as nimble as kayaks/pack rafts and…

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Idaho SkiRaft Adventure – Part II

While Jeff Creamer is a bit of a wunderkind packrafter (he’s never really paddled a hardshell boat before, yet has paddled some of the most difficult whitewater in the West) by his own admission his skiing is not necessarily up to the level of his paddling.  But his obsessive map researching and subsequent good route development capabilities are definitely class 5, and he’s a bloodhound on CalTopo, which I can only begin to decipher.  Jeff…

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Idaho Ski Raft Trip – Part I

Most of us like to play in the mountains, and most of us like to play in the rivers as well.  Intuitively, of course, we know that the are interconnected:  snow falls in the mountains, melts, and flows into creeks that join to become rivers, and even mountains that don’t retain enough snow to feed rivers with runoff generate cloud lift that in turn creates rain that feeds rivers.   But despite their connection, we as…

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Goosing Around with Tuolumne Bob

It was Memorial Day on the Tuolumne river near Yosemite National park, normally a very busy time.  But that year had a nice big snowpack in the Sierras, and “The T” was running at about 8000 cfs, which is pretty high for that river; certainly too high for the commercial raft companies that haunt that river, and thus it was pretty empty.  I had been on a trip with some other folks but we had…


Patagonia Fishing Boots Part III

Parts one and two of the Patagonia Fishing Boot tale described the quick initiation of the project and the research that we did to lay the groundwork for the design of the boots, which is always the funnest part of projects.  The hard part comes next: what do to with our newfound knowledge?  Can we actually create a product that fulfills the needs that we’ve identified, and if so, can the even more difficult task…


Patagonia Fishing Boots: Part II

Part 1 of this series was the series of events that led me to start work on creating a revolutionary new piece of footwear that might hopefully satisfy one of the most infamously picky fishing customers ever in terms of both riparian performance and financial viability (who are we kidding, Yvon Chouinard has not built a wildly successful company without a serious nod towards profitability, despite the nice idea of “letting his people go surfing”).  …

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A Lap Around St Helens

In the spring of 1980 the Pacific Northwest was all abuzz about Mount St Helens.  Our local snowcone of a mountain: was coming to life with small eruptions that left ash streaks that lay vivid against the late season snowpack.  It was fun and interesting and a good reminder that our volcanoes were only dormant, not dead, though having crawled up Mount Hood the prior year (it took our group something like 10 hours to…

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Packrafting in American Whitewater Magazine: Part III

This year the editor of the venerable American Whitewater Journal has been kind enough to indulge me (and the rest of the vast packraft world?) by letting me write a series of articles about packrafting. It’s been a really fun project so far. The first introductory/history article is here, and the second (using the River of Return trip as an example of what a packrafting trip can be) is here (starting on page 24). The…

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Marc Appling Remembrance

It’s been over 10 years since the SLC and Jackson communities lost Marc Appling to suicide. I paddled the Bear River last weekend and went past this waterfall and remembered Marc finding the rubber ducky there. Marc wasn’t necessarily a “name” in the kayak world, but I felt like he shoulda been given his history, so I wrote a remembrance in the Fall 2010 American Whitewater Journal.