<Insert thousands of happy expletives here>
I had about the most wonderful weekend ever. I was nervous. The Lochsa was pushing pretty well above 4 feet, which was the personal limit I set the week before for a maiden voyage on the Lochsa. A mid week run on a mellower river fell through. So I was faced with running him the first time on the Lochsa, no matter what. Friday morning, the level had tanked, it was just about 4 feet and slowly dropping/staying steady. I was still nervous, but so freaking excited, things were just lining up for me.
You know how sometimes it seems like there is magic in the world? I wonder if I got the wrong boat, and accidentally got the boat that was computer programmed to run the river on it's own. I was afraid it was going to feel small, 12'6" looks short, even with those 22.5" tubes. But it boated more powerfully than my 14' round boat. That Madcatr frame felt so perfect it was as if it and the boat were an extension of my body.
That boat is like a hot knife through butter. Big waves, when hit right, just went through me, instead of me going over them. When I didn't hit them right, a small highside and the boat settled down like Secretariat heading for the homestretch. Sometimes when I didn't quite hit it right and had an "inadvertant ferry-surf", it felt like the hand of god reaching up through a wave, lifting me, and moving me over not necessarily where I intended to be. THAT was a bit disconcerting, the maneuverability comes with being maneuvered, by the river sometimes. I sure am glad I'm strong!
Surfing was unbelievable. My first surf in Pipeline Saturday was such a surprise when it actually happened. As I slid back down the wave I looked at the kayakers on shore (who were jumping and screaming) and yelled "Oh my god - I'm surfing! I had no idea what to do next, and just rode it for a bit (it felt like forever) and exited smoothly. Sunday, I surfed all over the place, and had an even longer surf in Pipeline. One good correction with the oar as I started to pivot, realigned, then thought too much and didn't get another good correction. It was so much fun!
Lochsa Falls was a blast, especially being IN the aerated water at the top of the big meaty wave.
Both days, clean runs, left the swimming and the 1st flip for another day, it will all come with time. Now I'm ready for the levels to come up, and get some time in with rad catboaters to get to know new lines on the river and techniques that I have no idea about.
I sure hope my round boat doesn't get too lonely, but she will be for a while!
If anyone's thinking of getting a cat - DO IT!
Countdown, 4 days to catboating!
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye