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Pacific Northwest photo spectacular

After spending most of the spring and early summer training for and competing in the the freestyle world championships, I had a few options for places to go paddling in July.  I decided it was time for some paddling ‘just for fun’ and the best option would be to fly out to the Northwest and meet up with Demshitz for a couple weeks.  Dave and Nicole picked me up at the airport in Portland and had boats waiting for me- the full rockstar treatment.  Our first stop the next day would be the Little White Salmon.  Having never paddled in Washington, getting on such a classic run right off the bat was a great start to the trip, and of course, in true Demshitz fashion, we rolled down the creek with a stout crew- something like 16 people at the put-in.

Dropping Spirit falls

Dropping Spirit Falls.

Our next destination was the famous Skookumchuck Narrows, but first we had to pick up Craig and Mike, who had been competing in the US National Championship finals.  We drove 3 hours south, picked them up around midnight, and turned and headed back north.  Driving all night, we got to British Columbia slightly too late to make the ferry that would have gotten us to Skook in time to surf that day, so we went looking for a creek that wasn’t too high.  After looking at the Ashlu and the Callahan and 20 hours in the van, Dave and I put on the Cheakamus for a quick but fun class IV rowdy big water run.

Cheakamas putin

Boofing into the Cheakamus

The next three rainy days were spent at Skook.  Paddling at Skook is a fairy tale experience, complete with a ‘river’ that changes direction part way through the day and builds into a massive wave, a hike through an enchanted forest, and bizarre looking creature.  On the first day, we paddled in on slack tide, and as the flood tide filled Sechelt inlet, the wave formed and changed, building, breaking, greening out, and giving up lots of big tricks.  As the flood tide reached the end of it’s cycle, the wave flattened out, and we stashed boats on the rack in the woods and walked out through the amazing BC forest.  The next two days were similar, a two mile walk into the wave, surf until it was gone and we were exhausted, and head back to camp.  Unfortunately, it rained most of the time, so camp wasn’t that much fun, but we made the most of it.

Dave Skook blung

Dave blunting


Craig Cleaning


Nicole taking the tour.


Yours truly blunting


Demshitz loves throwing clean blunts


Nicole levetating


Camping in the rain.  Not sure how we got a fire started.


More stout tricks


Craig has ninja airscrew skills


Nicole walking in for day 3


Dave with a beautiful airscrew


A pile of purple starfish

Friday was essentially a rest and travel day.  We stopped to scout a beautiful set of waterfalls on our way back south, but decided it was just a little too high to run.  Saturday we had a demo on the Skykomish with Aquasports, splitting into two groups, one group doing the North Fork Sky and the other doing the Main Sky.  We even got to see the sun briefly that afternoon.

The next day, on the advice of some locals we met in the grocery store parking lot, we ran the East Fork of the Miller.  The East fork features some stout drops, but also a lot of mank, wood, and wood-choked mank, so it’ll never be a classic.  Dave managed to fire up most, if not all the big drops.


First drop on the E. Fork Miller


Dave boofing a shallow 15 footer


Dave running another rowdy stout.


Craig falling off the funky double drop on the Miller


Mike found out the double drop had a stout hole at the bottom.


Sweet boof.


Dave running the big slide at the takeout.

Getting tired of camping in the rain for the past week, we headed east over the Cascades in search of sunshine.  We found it near Icicle creek, where we dried out, ran the upper section one day, and the Ricochet section the next.  High water made for some rowdy action, as we ended up scouting our way down the Ricochet section, seemingly scouting the last mile 100 yards at a time- running to the next eddy we could see and scouting again.


Dave and I routing Richochet


Just another boof on Icicle creek

Dry and feeling ambitious, we decided to knock off two (short) new runs in a day, Nason Creek and the classic Top Tye.


Monkey cage on the Top Tye.


Crack in the Earth


Box drop is too good not to throw a brown claw

The final day was another two run day- the Cooper and Fall in the wall.


Falling in the Wall



All in all, it was a great trip for me, with lots of new runs and lots of great whitewater.