BC Trip Report '06

Our second voyage to research for "The River Gypsies' Guide to North America" took us back to one of our favorite paddling destinations - British Columbia. After spending a week boating with us out there, Brushy Mountain team paddler John Pilson said that it was his best week of paddling ever. We think the same thing every time we spend a week up there - which is why we keep going back. Here's the report:

The Journey Out
After all that has happened to us vehicularly on the road in the past, we decided that this would be our year to break down and get a reliable vehicle before setting off on an adventure to the wilds of BC. We ordered a camper van this spring, and it was right down to the wire for getting it in time to catch the end of the season in far away BC. We made it out of town on a Thursday night, hoping to make it to Colorado in time for a Bailey run on Saturday to celebrate our friend Dawn's birthday. We made it, and had a low water but super fun Bailey run to break up the driving as we headed west.

Our next stop was a layover in Jackson, WY at Austin Rathman's house. He was kind enough to put us up for the night, and shortly after we awoke the next morning a road-weary Pat Keller rolled in, fresh from an EPIC season in California. Plans to run a short class IV roadside run to research for the new book were quickly put off in favor of a visit to Austin's favorite park-n-huck, Mesa Falls. Austin had a bit of an injury going on, but he walked Andria and Pat down to the falls to show them what was up.

Austin shows Pat and Andria the way down to the falls.

After talking over the line and scouting a bit, Pat showed off a nice left side double-drop line. Next it was Andria's turn - stepping up to one of the larger drops she had ever run. The entrance was a bit tricky, requiring a seal launch at the lip of the falls and then a quick turn to make sure that she didn't go into the crease out in the middle. After getting a nice push from Austin, Andria had a brief bit of excitement as she seal launched into a bow pin at the lip of the drop.

Austin gives Andria a hand out of her pin.

In the end, it worked out pretty well for her. Her shaky start led to a flip at the bottom of the first drop, but she rolled up and stuck the bottom drop:

After another very pretty run off the left, Pat headed up to have a go at the BIG line on the right side. This one is a 57 footer all the way, with a bump on the cotton ball on the way down before sailing behind the left side veil to land. As usual, Mr. Keller made it look pretty easy.

From there we drove to Missoula where we got all the supplies we would need for the wilds of BC, and headed up close to the border to stage for a morning crossing into Canada.