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whitewater play beginner paddlers 1 day
Black River (Washago) – April 23, 2005
Saturday, April 23, 2005
length: 4.0km, 1 day
difficulty: beginner

organizer: Peter
participants: Carlo Drudi, Caroline Owen, Michael Kreinin, Peter Farr, Sean Farr, Stephen Farr, Beth Kennedy, Sarah ?

The forecast was for a cold and rainy day, but when we met at the Hwy 169 bridge put-in at 10am it was cold and overcast but no rain. It was a fairly large group – nine people. One rock at the put-in was showing its head above water and another was just below the surface. The Environment Canada gauge read just over 8.7m.

After the usual shuttle arrangement I set off with Sean, Stephen and Michael a little ahead of the pack since Sean was paddling his partially converted G-Ride C1 for the first time. We had a little fun balancing the seat, but I think we have found the right compromise. At this point there was no outfitting other than the seat, so bracing was a challenge and rolling was not an option at all. Even producing a decent tilt was not easy.

The first set was almost washed out, but the “Baby Ender” hole was just appearing in the second chute. Both spots were good ones for practising your ferry. I dumped in Baby Ender when I leaned the wrong way in a side-surf – why do I continue to do that? Sean was being very conservative but he was happy just to be paddling the boat and had lots of fun, even if it didn't always look like it. He certainly got tired out paddling the flat section between the campground and Bell Ringer.

We all spent some time playing in the various waves around Lunch Rock but it was too cold and damp to stop for lunch. In the Zig-Zag Rapid under the bridge we played again, swapping boats and doing the attainment move back upstream. Bell Ringer was pretty straightforward at this level, but only Michael felt like running it. Stephen wanted to but I wouldn't let him. Although he would likely have been fine I don't like the consequences of a simple mistake in that rocky chute. The little sluice to the left of the chute was also open and Stephen wanted to run it but I wouldn't let him; I wanted to keep moving and get home on time for once.

As usual there was a very nice bunch of surf waves at the ledge above Pinky's where we again stopped and played for a while. Pinky's itself was mainly a set of standing waves with no sign of the bottom ledge. I missed the eddy top right as I tried to come in below Michael who was exiting the eddy. I should have waited a bit longer since the eddy isn't that big. By missing the eddy I blew my chance at reaching the nice wave at the top, which looked prime. Stephen and Micheal were both positioned for it, though. Carlo and I waited at the bottom for them then completed the trip. The others were already at the cars when we got there, and the rain started to fall in earnest as we loaded up the boats.

posted by: Peter Farr

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