Canoe Season, 2005
 Paul Hill on the Shogomoc 


Ian Campbell running the first drop
 

Paul says "There is a kayaker in this shot."
 

Erick after punching a large hole on the first drop
 

Todd and Paul at the bottom of the first drop
We paddled, or some of us tried to paddle the Shogomoc this spring, Todd and I should have stayed in the van, the first clue was when expert kayakers Laurie Brown, Ian Campbell and Erick Burley started putting on body armor. Second clue was when they pulled out their creekboats instead of their play boats.

Todd Smith and I geared up and followed the three veterans for a 20 minute walk off the trans Canada up the river. On the way up we could hear the roar of the river. We walked down a path to the put in. I was shaking just looking at the big drop the three of them were going to put in above. Todd and I put in below.

The first drop we saw the three of them going in at the top, then nothing till they came out at the bottom punching a huge hole. Todd and I joined in on the paddle , the rapids were fast and dangerous, both Todd and I trying to follow the others lines. We came to the second drop, I followed Erick who went over the drop but stalled in a hole below. Being so close behind him I piled right on top of him, slamming him into a rock. We both rolled up to watch Ian, Laurie and Todd come over the drop.

More big rapids, if you took your eye off the river for a second you were either up against a rock or in a hole. We came to the next drop. Better walk this one, they advised Todd and me. Sounded good to me, it was what seemed to me a 60 foot slide with a massive hole at the bottom. Todd and I got back in below, again the three ran the slide with out any problems. If a person were to get turned upside down or side ways, they would never get the speed to punch the hole at the bottom.

We started down the river again, more big rapids, I was getting worried. We pulled into a small eddy to take a breath. Below me was a small sweeper and I floated right out of the eddy into it. I managed to keep my boat from catching an edge and tried to work my way off the tree. I just got to the end of the sweeper and flipped. I never gave it a second thought, get out and get to shore, didn't want to swim what was below. I watch my boat tumble down the river. When these 3 kayakers can't catch your boat, you know you're in some bad water. My boat went right down to the takeout.

As I walked down along the river, I spotted Todd standing on a rock in the middle of a rapid with his paddle in hand. A large ledge with a hole had eaten him up. His boat too went right to the takeout. I didn't have a throw rope with me and what was below Todd was a no-swimmer. All I could do was watch as he threw his paddle like a spear to the side of the river, then took two strides and jumped into the river. He swam as hard as he could and managed to catch a small tree hanging into the river. He pulled himself up out of the water. He on one side and I on the other, and the three veterans chasing our boats, we continued walking down the river to take out.

When we got to the bottom, Laurie, Erick and Ian were there waiting for us with our boats. We jumped in and paddled around to where the van was parked. Looking back I was glad I swam where I did, close to shore and in a small eddy. A swim on any rapid of that river would leave you badly beaten up or worse.

I will give it another go this fall or next spring.

 Thanks, Paul. I always look forward to your adventures. You go where few others dare. 


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