One of my favorite quotes that I stumbled upon recently, it really struck a chord with how the river and paddling has become such a powerful passion and force for the way I choose to live my life. "I thought how lovely and how strange a river is. A river is a river, always there, and yet the water flowing through it is never the same water and is never still. It’s always changing and is always on the move. And over time the river itself changes too. It widens and deepens as it rubs and scours, gnaws and kneads, eats and bores its way through the land. Am I like that? Always me, like the river itself, always flowing but always different. Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain? Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine me to wall so that I flow only where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for they own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land and ploughing a valley of my own?” - Aidan Chambers
This past week I had the opportunity to see Spirit Falls for the first time in the flesh and I cannot describe the mystique and fascination the Little White has instilled within me, it's a dream of mine to run the entire river. To be there in it's presence reaffirmed my strength and determination to make this dream a reality in a few years. I couldn't be more excited.
Later that afternoon I ran the Middle White Salmon, including Husum Falls, my first waterfall! I made many new friends and had an incredible time paddling this beautiful creek for the first time as our mutual passion for the water had brought us together.
The following day we ran the Lower Wind River, I knew that this creek run would be on the more challenging side for me but I was very excited! The river was full of shallow boulder gardens with some small boofs and slots flowing through canyon walls, an incredible spot to be. As we approached Shipherd Falls I had no idea what to expect and little to be known it was two 10-15' waterfalls, followed by a rocky slide and a low-head dam. What an incredible experience, when I reached the bottom I was breathless and ecstatic, I had committed to each drop and couldn't have asked for a better run or crew of friends to push me.
Later that night we rallied to Buck Creek Falls to session the 10' waterfall by moonlight. This is one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. The creek where we launched off the waterfall was about 2' wide, as you push off you are completely committed to trusting your senses as visibility is minimal at best. What a rush! I had so much fun I climbed back up to run it 2 more times.
Over the course of 3 days I made some tremendous progress in my paddling and I wonder if I keep this up what could happen in the next year or five? I am irrevocably in love with this sport and the time I spent in the Gorge certainly reignited my passion for whitewater.