Today I ran the Horseshoe Bend section of the N. Fork Nooksack for the first time, another once seemingly intangible class 5 run checked off my list!

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The sun was beaming down on us, with views of Mt. Baker on the horizon line, an awesome group of friends, and it was the maiden voyage of my new boat. From the put-in to the top of the Bend is a narrow class 4 section full of boofable rocks, play waves and S-turns. As we approach Bench drop, the first major rapid of the Bend section, all 4 of us (Roy, Kierstin, Michael, and I) all shared a unanimous look of agreement, we were running it. I've found the Bend intimidating due to the high level of consequence, it is continuous and jammed full of wood, swimming is not an option. We each took different lines, I went for the bench boof and before I knew it I had successfully made it through. Once in the eddy below we paddled through the next rapid to the top of the most difficult rapid in the Bend, SAT. This rapid is technical, full of holes, and pin rocks, but we were undoubtedly committed. Kierstin took off after Roy, and I after Michael, however I found myself on my own after I passed them in the eddy about half way through. I continued to read and run the rapid, completely in tune with my surroundings and the water, sometimes when I get in that zone I surprise myself. After a group cheer we made our way through the canyon to the take out in Glacier. It ceases to amaze me the beauty we are surrounded by whether it's on the river, in the people you're with, or in the depth of the raw experience at hand...I find incessant beauty in it all.

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-AL

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