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Old 06-06-2005   #1
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 140
North Gate

Just gotta know, were any Buzzer's among the people that either rafted or kayaked North Gate this past weekend? Man, what the heck was that like? What happens to Cowpie and Narrow Falls at those levels? I'd love to see pictures if any were taken.


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Old 06-06-2005   #2
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1
An excerpt from an e-mail I received from someone who boated on Sunday...

we estimate the river was flowing around 6000 cfs (the record is 6800 I think). The gauge wasn't working, but the USGS guy was there taking measurements and he stopped at the putin.

We were 2 rafts (Ken w/5 paddlers, and Ben & Beth in an oar frame and 4 paddlers) and 3 kayakers (Bill & Jill in RPMs and Dan in his creek boat).

The river was ROCKING and ROLLING! The rapids were BIG and really really really really fun! No new features, they were just all BIGGER. Great surf waves for the kayakers all over the place as we went downriver. Sorry about all the !s, but it was an ! kind of day.

Cow pie is the rapid above Narrow falls and the two had merged together. We moved around a lot in cowpie (Big waves, laterals, holes).. and then when we topped narrow falls, we were on a slick into a GIANT (!!!) wave. It was breaking a little, but was all downstream flow - we paddled hard through the wave and back paddled like crazy through the boiling waves at the bottom to keep off the wall and eddied out river right at the bottom. Dan made it through upright, Bill and Jill both rolled (rumor has it that Jill was hearing voices when she was upside down). Alas, Ben decided the GIANT wave was not for him and went left and then couldn't move off the wall. We got to see a picture-perfect dump truck as the raft went up the wall and pitched everyone out. We picked up Beth and Trent, got to the raft, flipped it over, Jeff jumped in to row, and we eddied out to wait for the rest of the rafters to walk down. Dan was a tad jazzed "Dude - that WAVE!!!!".

Tootsie roll is next, with big holes river left. We went right, underestimated a little how hard the current was moving left, and got a very close look at the edge of the lower hole. Stovepipe was rocking! Huge waves down the middle, laterals off each wall - it was (to use a much overused word) awesome!!

With all this said, it was not a trivial run. Flipping or swimming likely meant a long swim, possibly through big rapids. Of the 5 rafts we saw on the river, 3 of them flipped. Rafters on the other 2 rafts had long swims through big rapids. Everyone was ok, totally psyched to have done the run, and even the swimmers had a great time (now they have a good story to tell too - Dude, I swam narrow falls at 6000!).

We were all well-prepared (dry suits, dry tops and paddle pants), and Ken has many years experience as a paddle raft guide, some on class 5 rivers, and numerous (>50) runs through Northgate at many levels. He knows the river really well, and that was a big help. He totally rocked.

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Old 06-06-2005   #3
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 140
Thanks Wyo, better description than I could have asked for. Personally glad I was in there when it was low. One of a group of my friends got trashed at 2,900 last year and they are very good boaters. I couldn't imagine having the nads to launch at 6,000. (Of course I'm a girl and having nads are just hard to imagine having anyway!)

I should have known Speedo Man, (I mean Bill) and Jill were there. They're crazy!!! I love talking to him after a big run. He only tells me the bad stuff and he always laughs his ass off doing it. His eyes get bright and kinda psycho.


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Old 06-06-2005   #4
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1
We were crazy!, but lucky too. After the wildness of Windy Corner, we could only imagine what Narrow Falls would be like. I was pretty nervous as we entered Cowpie. Things were fine until the Narrow Falls drop into major tumultuousness. Bill was over in front of me so I stayed a bit right and also got tossed over. Unfortunately, that bit right may have caused me to be pushed more left. I saw the wall on one of my up/downs and hoped for the best. Then I made two window shade rolls and ended up below the mess. I did not know that a raft had dumped. Ben was on shore watching me and shouting at me, hence the voices. Dan's clean line was the same as the successful raft, more right (center) and through the big wave. The water was so big that there was a lot of trust in one's memory. We also got lots of hiking and ferrying in by looking for and the swimmers. We saw lots of folks at the take out due to a raft rescue and everyone fared well except for one banged foot and some lost gear that I just read about. If you like BIG water full of LOTS of action, I do recommend the run. Stovepipe was a blast! The flow was more like 5200 cfs according to the graph. -- Jill
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Old 06-06-2005   #5
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 140
Jill you rock. I will never have the guts to do that, probably would be chicken over 1200. If your available for an after work run above Woods Landing, give me a call at work. Of course it won't get your adreniline up like Northgate, but its a pretty run, has some nice trains right now and is close. Definitely some nice eddy lines.

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Old 06-07-2005   #6
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1
northgate canyon

Go run northgate if you have a chance this week. Sunday's level was the highest water in 21 years, so it might be the best water on northgate in a boaters lifetime. The two biggest rapids, Narrow Falls and Tootsie Roll had swimmers but all were unhurt after exciting rides. It is fast class four with big fun waves, not class five. Kayakers got knocked around and rolled up with big eyes and big grins. There was not a rock to be seen on the whole run. As the water drops some holes will be more pourovers and stickier than at 5k plus. If you are rafting it is not easy to boat scout, try to go with someone who knows the run. The lines are the same. Kayakers can catch eddies above narrow falls and check it out. It was great to see water like we haven't seen since the early 80's. YAHOO!!!!

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