Flood Riding!

I'm in a bit of a hurry here, so first off, here's a slideshow of all the photos: Right around the historic flood that hit the front range of Colorado, there was some sick paddling. We missed out on a lot of it, since that was the weekend that our friends Alex and Alex got married in California, but we got a few runs while the water was on the way up and back down again.

First, as the water was rising, Spencer and I got in a run through town on the Poudre. There were a few dams, but nothing that we ended up having to portage. It was pretty weird finding a whole new run right there in our home town.
Somehow we ended up getting lost, missing takeout, and paddling to within sight of I-25. We eventually hiked out and found ourselves in a natural area all the way down by Horsetooth, which was impressive since we put in above Shields. (These are streets. If you're not familiar with Fort Collins, I guess that made no sense at all.)

After that was the wedding, but then once we were back, we got a few runs in on Bear Creek, which was awesome. I'm glad we were able to rally, and bummed that Nathan Werner couldn't make it. Bear creek is a continuous and difficult run, filled with wood and rocks. That description makes it sound not that great, but it was a blast to paddle. We had a flow of about 500 cfs, which felt very rocky and low. Apparently the usual medium flow here is 200. I imagine it's a bit like the Big Thompson (although who knows how that run has changed with the road reconstruction after the flood) - if you know the run, it can be smooth even at low water, but if you don't know it, there are rocks even at high water.
Spencer forgot to put on his skirt below No Fun Falls. I found this incredibly amusing.
Spencer later took a swim (not related to the skirt incident). I found this incredible amusing as well.
As the water continued to drop, we eventually got into the Poudre canyon, and got a few runs down the narrows with reasonable levels. I was amazed at how little it had changed, since the levels were estimated to have been above 8 feet.
I really like this photo, and there's a funny story behind it. Apparently while we were getting ready, Spencer kept warning Josh about an eddy at the bottom of this drop. Spencer has swam out of this eddy a few times, and he was describing to Josh how to avoid getting stuck in there. Josh kind of brushed it off, with a reply like "Spencer, I'm a kayak instructor. I know how to eddy turn." We even chuckled about it in the eddy above the drop while we waited for Spencer to get ready at the bottom. As you can probably guess, Josh got a little off line, lost his angle, and washed into the eddy of doom upsidedown. He ended up taking his first swim in about 7 years out of the very eddy he had been warned about. We all had a great laugh about it later.


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