Thursday, June 17, 2010
KOPKA RIVER SOLO DAY 6
Top: Taken from the nice "A" campsite after dumping in the (unseen) upstream rapid . . . hey it was a hot day, I needed to cool off! I carried the visible C IV drop and ran the empty boat to the C II+ ledge downstream.
Middle: You can see all the lumber upstream , but I only had to lift over one river-wide log.That was a lot of effort with the fast current and slippery bank. The fun drop in the foreground I ran for my reward and made the eddy from which I took the picture.
Bottom: This is the rapid I ran below the bridge day 6. The portage was a mean one and after serious time consumed scouting, I took the loaded boat down it. The river really gets narrow here and the current is pushy. The top of the rapid was the hardest to scout . . . but there is a line down this sluice.
To Lake Kenakskaniss (from my day 5 campsite) ascertaining the exact location is difficult (unless you take a GPS device). The water is a succession of narrow lakes and river and there is plenty of interesting whitewater. This is really a fun part of the river to do. . . lots of variety. After passing through a couple of small lakes the river cuts north for about 2 1/2 miles. At the point where the only bridge on the river is seen there is a little rapid. The bridge is in disuse but 4 wheelers are obviously still using it. Unfortunately an open space just off the road has collected some human trash, which can't be seen from the river I'm glad to say.
After the bridge a rapid with portage is approached. The portage is on the left. The rapid runs through a narrow little gorge and is worth scouting if you fancy running a solid C III to avoid the difficult rough 250 yd portage. I ran this section with gear and got through unscathed. In one place the entire river reduces to about 4 feet wide. I sure didn't want to do that rough portage! The top of the rapid is the crux. Get your alignment right there and you should be OK but you'll work hard to access the view and get the planning done.This was one of the the most difficult rapids I chose to run concerning execution and potential risk.
The river continues north a couple of miles and then generally heads east for about 8 miles through a series of small lakes and rapids/ledges before entering Lake Kenakskaniss. The first major rapid was tough as it has some deadfalls that went right across the channel. I ran the first 100 ft, had lunch on a rock, then lined down over a ledge to the deadfalls and carefully emptied the canoe and pulled it over the trees. This was demanding and tiring work as the current was strong and the shore offered little good ground. After negotiating the lumber I ran the rest of the rapid and lined the last 20 feet into a calm stretch. Hopefully next year's spring flood will clear that deadfall obstacle. There's no portage trail discernible.
A couple miles later the river has a nice series of drops of varying difficulty. I ran the first on extreme right (there were multiple channels to choose)--a tight exhilarating little Cl III. The next drop was a Cl IV with an interesting ledge river right that went hard left after an initial 4 ft drop. Since there was a reasonably quiet section just below it and it didn't appear to present much likelihood of a pin, I decided to go for it. The 4' drop went great but sluicing through the hard left maneuver I met water forces not foreseen and ended up capsizing. The current pushed me through the gap and I quickly self-rescued. I would have loved to try it again in an empty boat but I was tired after a long day and having discovered a nice campsite right there on river left, pitched camp and dried out.
The campsite was actually on a portage trail for this section. I carried the boat beyond another CL IV drop and ran it the rest of the way down to the bottom of the portage. Once again it was a hot day so I decided to take another swim, this time voluntarily. Everything dried out quickly. A good day had ended.
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