Originally Posted by mark_vanis
this was all very useful. so this leads me to my next question, how do i read the water. what are clues to see how deep the water is? how do i know if there are obstructions in the water? also were i will be learning it is plenty deep and is suppose to be a great learning water fall.
So there a couple ways to figure this out...
The most common is via the historical probe... meaning likely people having been running the falls for a while, find somebody that knows historically if there has been problems with the drop before. Otherwise there's much to look at when scouting... look for roosters in the entry and on the way down: signals shallow rock. The boil line at the base should go deep, water that looks like ricocheting or being prevented from going deep is suspect. Throw rocks in at the base and listen.... are they hitting rock (you'll hear it)? A large stick can probe the base if it'll reach.
Probably the best way and what most of our forefathers of paddling likely did before a first descent... is go look a falls at low water. Jump in and take a swim at the base if it's not too burly (and has no hazards) at low water (it's pretty fun). In general, it's one of the best ways to know a river and learn to read water when you do the leg work of looking at drops during low water.
Lastly, there is no better way to learn paddling skills and river reading than by having good paddling friends... ask questions and take nothing for granted. If you are paddling with people with ego's that don't allow for you to learn and give you the time of day with your questions... I suggest you find new people to paddle with. Do what you are already doing on this forum, but do it when your on the river with experienced friends...