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whitewater play novice paddlers 1 day
Credit River
Saturday, November 11, 2000
length: 11.0km, 1 day
difficulty: novice

organizer: Chris Mack
participants: Caroline Owen, Chris Mack,

Cline and I decided to run the Credit yesterday, one of our favorite local rivers! I learned one thing, you cannot really tell the level of a river at 5:30 am standing on a bridge peering down into the depths with aid of a 5 watt flashlight, I thought it 'sounded' ok ;-)

Ok so it was a little low, when I saw it on Friday afternoon I did not know if it was still coming up or going down so it was a gamble. To make the trip a little longer we decided to put in at the little park (parkette?) on the east side of creditview north of Brittania (there is a parking lot for about 12 cars). This section is not very deep and just winds its way along offering a good warm up with a few eddies to catch until you reach the Brittania bridge.

There are so many features that come alive when a river is at different levels that we found ourselves playing like over stimulated school children. We explored every little side channel, surfed every wave (no matter how small), slid over every pour over, went into or through every hole, caught every eddie and even tried to make a few of our own (in honor of Keith ;-), caught a couple rock splats (in honor of Nicole ;-)~ and even front ferried a few feet from below the falls looking for a clear route over it (until we came to our senses).

The best surf on the river IMHO is the one about 50' downstream of the dam. Even at a low level it is still there, and quite friendly, it is about 25' wide with a 5' tongue in the middle of it creating two exceptionally smooth surfing waves either side. In high water the tongue is still there but not as obvious, and the wave gets a LOT steeper until it turns into a hole, then it should be avoided by most mortals. Yesterday provided us with a perfect opportunity to practice shredding back and forth on the wave using stationary stern draws and pry's and then blast across the tongue in the middle and catch the other half of the wave, what a hoot.

As we were getting suited up Cline started joking about if she will need to wear her rescue belt in case I need rescueing, teehee, the next thing I heard was her strapping it on. Well wouldn't you know it, as soon as you start bringing rescue gear you end up using it.

Cline had just eddied in beside me in a tiny recirculating eddie behind an island which completely blocked our view of the river upstream when out of nowhere this guy in an aqua Rival comes slamming into our 'eddie for two' before he realized it was so tiny and recirculating. Cline grabbed onto his boat, I held on to hers and a tree branch and we exchanged greetings as we bobbed up and down. He seemed to know what he was doing, or at least had bought some good gear, so we did not think we would have to look out for him. A few minutes later Cline and I are in another eddie and we see this guy flip in the middle of the river, scramble out of his boat, his boat gets pinned upside down on a rock and he lets go of his paddle and starts floating downstream looking very dazed.

Cline heads on over for his boat, gets it off the rock and performs a flawless canoe over canoe rescue, clips her tow line onto his grab loop and heads on down for him. Meanwhile as Cline was doing that I turned my attention to the dude (John I think) when he actually stands up and starts trying to run after his paddle (down the middle of the river). It is only a couple of feet deep but I thought he had lost his mind (or hit his head!) as I quickly caught up to him and had to convince him to stop and get to shore. He was so worried about his paddle (no he did not have a spare) that he never thought we could help him out. By that time Cline had caught up with us and we got him back in his boat and I gave him my spare paddle and headed off and found his paddle a little ways downstream. Talking about it later with Cline we realized that since he was paddling alone he ended up thinking as if he was alone. He was pretty shaken up so I did not give him the 'don't paddle alone speach' but I did give him the 'carry a spare paddle speach'.

No matter what level the Credit is always a great run, the section of river as you enter Erindale park was littered with eddies to catch. There are spots along the river that make for perfect pit stops, small islands with over hanging willows to sit under and enjoy hot tea and the company of friends. Cline and I had permanent grins by the time we made it to the take out bridge and headed for some fine veggie pizza slices. Did I mention how beautful the weather was, and so many birds, we need to get Dave out to identify a few of them one of these days.

One personal note, I am very happy to report that yesterdays trip was my first trip in years that I have NOT smoked any cigs, I officially quit last Monday!! Yayyyy.

Take care out there, the water is starting to get cold.


posted by: Chris Mack

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