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My trip to British Columbia, Canada started back in Colorado talking to my firend Cruise who told me Matt Wilson and him are going up there. Sounded like the best crew I could imagine for that kind of a trip but I was going to Europe to organize Hiko Devils Extreme Race.  So I packed my kayak with gear and paddles and gave it to Tony and Cruise from Durango. Hoping to see my gear again at some point, ideally in Vancouver or close to borders to Canada. Then I called Matt to make sure I can join this trip. He was cool with it so I had to change my flight ticket because I was coming to US little too late. So I changed my return ticket to Vancouver  three days earlier than I thought.

Matt Wilson on Cheekamus river

Flight to North America was long and full of expectations. I just barely talked to guys before I took off so iwas hoping to see them at the airport. They were there even with another member Mike McKee I was there but my luggage bag didn’t show up. Some of my gear like sleeping bag, pfd, shoes etc were in there so we had a beer and waited for next airplane that brought my bag and we hit the road up north towards Squamish and Whistler. This area was our home for next five days to a week. We got on lower Cheekamus, Fear Canyon on Eelaho river, Ashlu Box (That run is prob my favorite creek secion in Canada) , mine section on Ashlu. Weather was still really warm and nice by then but in Stikine area was rainy, snowy, and really cold by then. We figured will start huge drive north and see. River started to spike up really fast though. We were expecting snow up high so it was weird it spiked so hard. We continued to Terace beautiful place in northern BC. Luckily we met some of the locals so we paddled great two rivers Williams and Hersch. I got a message from people that the gauge on Stikine has been misleading some trips before us. There is a lot of tributaries coming to river below actual Grand Canyon so we still had a chance to get on Stikine. Matt had to be back in Idaho on weekend for friends wedding. It was Monday and we still didn’t know if we were going. Water was on high side of good, our crew wasn’t motivated. Luckily we crossed our paths with French guy Jules Dominue who has done the river three times just before we got there. He said the level is perfect and is in to go down with us. For me it was sure thing then rest of a team had to think it through and put on the next day. 🙂

jakub in ashlu box

Put in for Stikine. Stoke is high

Stikine - Wall 2

From first moments on this river or just around it I felt something more than special and more than respect inside of me. Also because week before our trip, Jeff West died on this river. First day starts off with paddle in, bunch of small class 3 rapids and then it starts to get steeper. Entrance is the first big rapid that definitely puts you back on your game. About two more rapids and we were at the crux of this run. Rapids pass or fail and then Watsons. Really big and technical rapids in the middle of nowhere. Once below Watsons, rapids get little easier and u can enjoy some bigwater Stikine class 4. First camp by Site Zed rapid is very amazing place, where people started to build a dam about 60 years ago without telling anybody and natives from Telegraph Creek (take out) came here and burnt everything down. Thank god. Second day on Stikine trip is a real treat. Portage and running huge bigwater drop on the bottom of Site Zed. Big water rapids continue on, canyon stays deep and beautiful. There is probably the biggest eddy lines I have ever seen on day 2. Sometimes it felt like we were paddling uphill. Highlights on day 2 are for sure rapids Wall1 and Garden of Gods. Amazing kayaking. Camp just about mile downstream from Garden of Gods with a big beach and camp under a cave is a great way to spend last night in this amazing place. Day three started normal with cold morning, coffee, hakysack session, breakfast and then we took off. Amazing and big rapids on day three for sure. My favorite was without doubt V-drive. After steep section we entered never ending beautiful faltwater canyon and after two plus hours  we got to the take out. Tired, stoked, hungry we were hoping to have a shuttle vehicle here… Nothing. One of us went to hitchhike to put in. The others got picked up about three hours later and all of us met at the put in again. Loop was completed, nobody got hurt, we just had big smiles on our faces even though we had to start driving back to U.S. for Matts friends wedding.Next day I ve read one of trip reports on Stikine and in end it said: “Nothing has changed but everything is different.”  That’s about all I have to say to explain my feelings after getting out of this river. It’s a great team work in there, challenging portages, cold valley but the whitewater and river trip quality is the best. I am coming back for sure. 🙂

Pics by Cruise Quenele more coming soon!

Have a great winter and safe lines