Had my first swim on CC today (not including beginner swims down in the playpark, in the early days). I've run all of CC pretty much, minus Black Rock. I was even stupid enough to lap Rigor Mortis once, got worked like hell, but miraculously, I didn't swim.
Penciled into crip/top of Screaming 1/4 mile. Not a big deal in and of itself (just misplaced where it was supposed to be). Worn-out sprayskirt (rand coming out of the top-seam/grab-loop) didn't hold up though (my own fault for not caring about that). Had one roll in that hole and was preparing for my second when I was ripped out of the boat. Not saying I wouldn't have swam anyway, but I definitely would have had some more rolls and surf-out attempts. All in all, a text-book self-rescue followed right below that rapid on river-left. I pushed my boat to the side and got on a rock. Whilst swimming I realized my paddle was in two pieces though. So had my sprayskirt held up, I might've had to deal with the broken paddle anyway. I don't know what or when it broke, just that the right half of it floated away as I was self-rescuing. Anyway, with the help of my new friend Nikos, drained the boat, and he offered his hand-paddles (I accepted but later realized I still had a set of hand-paddles in my boat). Vowing to get that new-fangled IR lucky-charm sprayskirt I hear so much about, I put back in towards the end of screaming 1/4 mile.
I wish that was the end of my swim report, alas, it is not.
If you're an experienced kayaker, you probably already know what might follow, but if you have no idea what is clearly wrong with the above picture, please read on.
The hand-paddles were fine at first. I have a lot of practice rolling with them. I did flip due to a failed hand-brace, but rolled up in some boogie water without much trouble. Being a little exhausted, I let the dam creep up on us too quicky and what normally isn't an issue became nightmare. I was eddied out on the wrong side of the river. Nikos ferried and portaged as planned. He set-up safety and I attempted to ferry across with hand-paddles (as retards are wont to do), above the dam.
Having never run the dam, already decided I would never ever run it, due to the mentoring I had in my early days (not too long ago), I was terrified to learn that I didn't have the hand-paddling power/strength/technique to ferry across. Going head-on into the rapid, anticipating another swim, I took off a handle paddle right before the drop. I didn't see the throw rope Nikos so finally threw to me. I think I deliberately swam so I could exit the boat on my terms.
Anyway, held on to the boat through the dam. Began to bump a few rocks, eventually came around the bend and the boat popped out of my hands, but I got to shore and didn't care at that point.
The most important lesson I think I am coming away with, is always, always have a back-up take-down paddle in the back of your boat. Hell, even a cheap one from REI/Sports authority meant for the lake, would have been a godsend if I had it in that situation.
Obviously, I should have just walked once my paddle was broken. Also, I would have been fine if I wasn't letting myself get distracted and actually eddied out. Also, there may have been a chance I didn't swim at all, had I kept my gear updated (sprayskirt); however, none of that really matters next to the silly decision I made to hand-paddle class 3+ (above a class V dam) which wouldn't have happened if I heeded advice and had a take-down in my boat. Take-down paddles are not expensive and don't take up too much room. I could have at least grabbed a cheapie from a big box store.
Being lazy off
the river comes back to bite you on
the river! Well, at least in my case.
Anyway, yeah. I think I have my contact info in the boat, but it may have my old number. Not really concerned about it, though I hope it doesn't hurt anyone; it's stuck somewhere below Tunnel 1 (possibly in Coors property by now)
Oh and I still made it to work on time this morning.
At least I leave enough time for that.
Thank you to Nikos Hollis making the best of the situation and sorry for being 'that guy'. You paddled excellently and I just hope you decided to get a take-down paddle as well.
I will follow up with pics of at least the paddle when I get home. I'm at work and it's taken me up til now to squeeze in this post between tasks.
Ps. do they make tailbone-pads for kayaking?