Colorado is hot and dry and the wildfires are raging. For the past month I've been escaping to the Pacific Northwest, where the ski areas are still open and the rivers are full. Spring is my favorite season and there is no better place to be during the spring than the Pacific Northwest. The rivers rise and fall with rain showers and the volcanos turn into ski mountaineering havens. The river corridors, bleak and dark during the winter, turn vibrant shades of green, creating a fantasy like world of clear mountain water, ferns, and moss.
It is a world where you can complete a ski descent of this....
And the next day be doing this .....
Andrew McEwan. North Fork of the Snoqualmie.
More on that later. For now, here are some shots from the river that was built for class V kayaking, the Little White Salmon. The Little White Salmon flows into the Columbia River just an hours drive from Portland, Oregon. It's sapphire blue water and near continuous varied whitewater arguably makes it the best after-work run in the world.
The Finale of Getting Busy, Boulder Sluice. Will Rawstron.
Illustrious Northwest Legend coming out of Semi Retirement, the One and Only Paul Tays Heffernan
Will Rawstron. S-Turn.
Rolf Kelly. S-Turn.
Wishbone is a 20 footer that is the entrance into the Gorge, the crux of the Little White. Here are some shots of Will and Jason resurfacing.
Towards the end of the run is the largest rapid on the river, Spirit Falls. This 30 foot waterfall is no lay up, and a tricky move around a deadly hole is mandatory after running the falls. The morning of our second day on the LWS, Rolf Kelly stepped up to the plate.
The Finish Line. White Salmon Habitant Marty in Master Blaster.
Will Rawstron. Buried.
Towards the end of the week, after a productive trip north, the Colorado boys headed home and I stayed, waiting for my sister to have her baby. My old friend and photography inspiration Jed Weingarten showed up and his appearance brought some of the Northwests most colorful characters to the LWS.
The Northwest has long been a catchment for outrageous characters and gifted paddlers. It doesn't get much more classic than this.
Colby Mackley. S-Turn.
Paul Heffernan. Stove Pipe.
One Handed Stovepipe. Colby
Paddling with such a unique group of old paddling friends felt like quite the occasion. I was inspired.