We met up with Adam Goshorn for a quick lap down the local favorite run, Johnnies Creek. After we were warmed up, we headed up to Little River Canyon Falls for a run on the center line. The level was somewhere around 5,000 cfs, probably the most water I’ve seen in this waterfall with my own eyes. The line involved negotiating a class IVish rapid above the lip, breaking over some big holes, standing waves, and a curler above the just before lining up the horizon and boofing the 40 feet through the air over one the biggest holes I’ve ever seen. Burly indeed. I went first, and stomped it. Andy went second, over boofed, landing stern first, and looked at me with pain in his eyes. I remember him saying to me, “I can’t tell if I’m hurt or not, I’m getting out.” He paddled on down while I set safety for our boys Kevin Schaffer and Ben Bernhard who had good lines as well. After the falls, Kevin and I went back to Johnnies at sundown, which was juicing around 4 or 5 inches (the high side of almost epic) and still rising. We finished the last half in the dark and good lines were had.
LRC Falls at 5K. No other pics thanks to a dead battery.
Just so this doesn’t get too long and boring, here are the highlights that followed after New Year’s Day:
-Getting shut down on Rock Creek, scouting DeSoto Falls, and then bagging two laps on low water Johnnies.
-A quick lap on the home run, Little River Canyon, at 12 +/- inches. (Best level for the run in my opinion.)
-A solo run down Little River Canyon the following day, including the falls. I haven’t done much solo paddling, so this really sticks out to me.
After a couple days for rest, and Andy concluding that his back was not broken and was well enough to go kayaking, we went back for a chill day on our beloved canyon which was running on the low side of 0”. Once we got up there, Sam had already been looking hard at the far right line of the Falls. This line has been run several times, mostly back in the day. Local knowledge says Corran Addison knocked off the first D back in the mid ‘90s or so. More recently, a year ago some slalom boaters fired it up . These are really the only two stories that I myself have heard of people running. If my understanding serves me correctly, they both occurred a nice cush 6” or so on the former Hwy 35 Bridge gauge.
I’ve always wanted to run this line and felt like it would go at an extreme low level, like around 0”. It is however very marginal. One must start his approach and negotiate and tricky entrance that has a weird S-turn with a curler that tries to kick you off line. And you better be online, because you have about a two foot window to hit. The crux involves boofing a small kicker at the lip and landing flat in a shallow pool from the 35 feet up. The landing zone itself probably is not more than 5 feet wide with a car sized boulder to the right, some more broken rocks to your left, and the pool is no more than 4 or 5 feet deep. Marginal indeed.
Sam and I both agreed both to fire it up, with Andy opting to shoot photos and motivating obscenities due to his back injury. I volunteered to go first. I was kicked off line a bit by the curler, corrected best I could, boofed the kicker and twisted in in the air. I landed flat and my right side, and felt the rock with both my torso and my boat. Although not a direct hit, it was just enough for the rock to remind me it was there.
Sam went making corrections accordingly to the line we had discussed and he crushed it. We paddled on down LRC on a sunny beautiful Alabama winter’s day stoked not only by the previous week, but what is for sure to come this season.
Charlie Mix on the right line.
Sam crushing a boof off the kicker.
A note about the right line: Yes it obviously goes at low water, but do not even consider it unless you are prepared for the consequences if something goes wrong. These include a broke back, neck, or legs etc.
Hope everyone has good lines in 2011.