Duffins Creek -- Oh man!
Monday, April 1, 2002
length: 8.0km, 1 day
leader: Dave Robinson
participants: Beth Baskin, Cara Robinson, Heather McCance, Keith Nunn, Liam Nunn, Morgan Baskin, Naomi Miller, Tim Miller, Tripper Dave, Michael Johnson, Leslie
Scenic or casual paddling does not begin to describe this shallow, technical piece of river. Even the difficulty rating requires serious thought as, while the risk level was probably novice, the difficulty was pretty high. My brain hurt at the ndless river reading, decision making and constant manoeuvering.
Duffins is a rarely paddleable, meandering creek. Seldom more than 3 metres wide, you are in danger of hitting your head on the bank if you dump. This trip would have been challenging in ABS boats, but with ours out of commission (see the upper credit post from yesterday) and Tim and Naomi only owning fibreglass, it was three to one fragile versus plastic today. A very pretty run with a great lunch spot, although my dad probably should have cooked his eggs a little better. I've never seen raw easter eggs before.
Constant manoeuvering was required to avoid endless rocks and sweepers. Heather and Dave were ok in their ABS prospector, but the rest of us spent a lot of time wincing and getting out of the boat. In Rivals and Phantoms, It would have been a hoot. As it was I spent a lot of time in the river, walking and lining the boat and generally trying to stay off the rocks.
Most of the time we were backpaddling and backferrying because the features were so densely packed that we had no hope of maneouvering otherwise. It was very educational. I've never run for so long in that mode. Challenging, but very slow.
Tim and Naomi did themselves proud considering the difficult and technical nature of the run. Also on the trip were my father Michael and a friend Leslie.
We decided to bail about 2 km from the planned takeout and Dave and I ran the last bit to the cars in his and Heather's ABS prospector. We had a good time, dodging rocks (mostly) and dragging over jams with me in the bow, Dave in the stern. However, being more used shorter boats these days, Dave said I was doing a great job with the first 12 feet of the boat, but he was feeling a little bruised in the back 5 feet as I tried to do some quick weaves between rocks. I have to say that the stern of a 17 foot propector doesn't come around too quick. Not this one anyway.
Morgan, Liam and Cara were great. Nobody screamed, which considering the cold weather and the bump and grind nature of the run was somewhat surprising.
I'd run it again, but only in much shorter and indestructable boats. It's definitely given me some thought about my hopes for the Rouge. Solo ABS and plastic only.
Great pub in West Rouge nearby, the Black Dog. I highly recommend it. Not quite as homey as the Copper Kettle (see yesterday's report) and the food isn't as good, but there's a better beer selection. You take them as they come.