Thursday, March 25, 2010

From the Archive: The Big South

My move out to Washington was motivated by several things - the wilderness, the high concentration of rivers (and rain), good coffee, good beer, wonderful friends, and the proximity of a big city to the mountains. I have neglected a part of me that makes me happy over the past 5 years in an effort to educate myself as a photographer, which is being in the mountains. I have recently begun to rediscover the mountains and rivers of Washington, which has put a smile on my face and calmness in my heart. This image, although, not taken in Washington, was taken 5 years ago on a class V creek called the Big South outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. I remember when my phone rang and my kayaking partner was on the other line with a terrified excitement in his voice. "A bunch of guys are going to boat the Big South tomorrow...want to come?" At this point I had boated numerous class V drops, but nothing compared to this stretch of river, which consisted of at least 15 difficult rapids in a wilderness setting, the most impressive being a 40 foot waterfall called Double Trouble. "Hell Yes," I answered timidly, and started to pack my bag with the required gear plus some.

The next morning my nerves were all over the place as we dragged our boats through the rocky floor of the forest. We pushed off into the river, which winded it's way through one of the most beautiful gorges I have ever seen. As the first two rapids went by my nerves were unwinding themselves from the the death grip they had on my stomach as we entered the the Prime Time Gorge. I was flipped over in the top hydraulic and before I knew it I was at the bottom of what looked like a very impressive series of drops that I managed to go through upside down. As I rolled up at the bottom, I was greeted by concerned looks from the rest of our group, as a big smile crept across my face. Despite a minor bruise on my hand from being smashed against a rock and my paddle on the way down I was fine. The rest of the run went much more smoothly, with the final rapid, pictured above, being one of the most technically demanding and consistent. This was one of the last and most memorable rivers I boated in Colorado before I started my photographic career. It's been awhile, but I am getting back into the swing of things and starting to explore the rivers and creeks throughout Washington and Oregon. This image can be seen in my Photoshelter Archive as well as a collection of other outdoor images.

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