(Originally posted January 7th, 2008)
Actually, it wasn’t that bad. Quote of the day from Trev.. “Well, that was fun, in a kinda masochistic way.”
A week earlier Trev, Jes, Paul and I had run the NF Kilchis and explored a mile of the SF Kilchis.
We had hoped to check out the Little South Fork of the Kilchis after hearing about it from an old PDXKayaker post but ran out of light. Paul and I were able to scout some of it before it got too dark and thought it looked possible so we started working out the logistics. We were hoping for high enough water but there isn’t a gauge on the Kilchis so it’s really a crapshoot until you get to the river. When we saw the river we immediately realized it was going to be a scrap-fest. Oh well. That’s what you get a lot of times with an exploratory run. I’d rather have it too low than too high.
At the put-in bridge, Paul and Trev decided to run a couple drops above the bridge as a “bonus”. Trev went first and preceded to get pinned 3 times in about 10 yards. I found it hard to take pictures while laughing. Paul corrected off of Trev’s line and actually had a pretty smooth run. I decide to put in just below where the river looked like it got a little bit deeper.
The first 1/2 mile was a little bit rough. A lot of the creek was runnable but it was a lot of banging, pushing and scraping. Plus we had some relatively easy portages around logs. We did get a couple nice sections with small ledges and boulder gardens which would be fun with more water. Then it was back to portaging wood. At one spot, Trev was leading and got out above a mess of branches and logs blocking the river. He was out of his boat on the shore as I came cruising by and thought I saw a way through so preceded to keep going. I heard “You’ve got to be kidding me!” as I disappeared into the tunnel of branches. Thankfully there was a way through and I stopped downstream to see first Paul and then Trev work their way through. Yea, it was a little bit ridiculous. Below this the creek got noticeably better with a nice boulder garden and a couple good drops in a small gorge. One drop I pitoned so hard I whiplashed my neck and left a good gouge in the nose of my boat.
Very shortly after the good stuff we met up with the main fork of the Little South Fork of the Kilchis and finally had water! What fun to actually be floating and not banging our way down the riverbed. Some nice scenery and fun rapids led up to a big boulder garden we saw from the road while driving to the put-in. We all scouted this long rapid for a while and then I fired it up first so I could get in position to take some photos. This is a great rapid with several good boofs and tricky moves. I went deep in the last ledge and got pushed towards the left wall but finished o.k. and set up to take some pictures.
Trev dropping in
Trev was up next and got thrown around a bit on the top and then almost got sucked back into the hole below the big ledge before paddling out and downstream. He decided his run wasn’t up to his standards so he promptly hiked his boat up to the top again and did another run. This was followed by a third run as well. Meanwhile, after a long scout Paul fired it up. He got pushed to the left before the big ledge and ran the chunky slide on the left. I thought he looked pretty good but he told me afterwards that it wasn’t his intended line. All in all, a great rapid. We all wished there was a few more like it as the river gradually got flatter and flatter before the take-out. We did see a bald eagle and a few steelhead to spice up the run out.
Paul finishing up