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Ooh ooh, me next! My first year kayaking ('98?) I was borrowing a friend's Eskimo Topolino. Our local creek (Potlatch) has a canyon section that's class 3-4 at normal flows. I ran it for the first time with a good friend at low flows... 2.7-ish on the gage. It was the best time of my life up to that point. My friend had to be away for the following weekend, and it rained on snow that whole next week. His words to me before he left were, "Don't run that canon this weekend."
I met up on Saturday with a couple other guys from work who were much better boaters than I was at the time, with class 5 skills. I told them how much fun this run was and they were in. We got to the put-in and the gage was at 5.5 and rising. We shrugged our shoulders and figured, let's see what's up in there. We cruised through the first couple miles on this brown frothy roller coaster until we got to the entrance of Coleman falls, the first rapid that starts the canyon section. Eddied out and I told them that after the next right bend things pick up a bit. They let me lead, and I got absolutely destroyed in a river-wide hole above the main drop. In a Topo. I tried so hard to get out, but it was a no-go and I pulled the skirt. The next minutes were the worst thing I've ever experienced. Class 4+/5 flood-stage, no drysuit, caught in whirlpools mid-river, dragged over rock ledges and into swirling eddies with nothing to grab to stop myself. Somehow got to shore (I don't remember this part at all), and looked downstream to see a 3' thick river-wide strainer just downstream. I was in wool socks because my Tevas were carabinered in the back of my lost Topo. Started post-holing upstream through crusty snow, dogwood bramble and slippery basalt in a steep narrow canyon to try to warn the other two, but I never saw them until much later. I did find their boats on shore though, right below where I swam. I found a first aid kit with a gauze pad and a pencil, wrote a note for them that I was okay. Eventually re-connected with them and hiked out. Worst swim I ever had. Found my boat a week later miles downstream.

ETA to OP: Looks like you put in a little below Hazard Creek? That 16mi. stretch from there to the rest stop is no joke. The river bed is so messed up and artificial from highway construction over the decades, the water doesn't know WTF to do sometimes. There's a braided-stream section with various cobblestone islands and exposed roots in there somewhere that's messed me up a couple times.
 

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On a run I've done quite a few times I got too comfortable one day. I was fishing in my one person raft (U-shaped, open front, legs dangling) and thought I had passed the last lowhead dam. I was wrong and didn't notice it until I was way too close. I had no time to grab the oars and it was all I could do to kick myself towards the main flow...however it wasn't enough and I got sucked between rocks. The rear pontoon on my boat got stuck and stopped on a rock as the front of the raft pitched downward over the dam, the forward momentum kept me going straight out the front of the raft. Luckily, I had both arms on the side pontoons grasping handles and as I slid into the water I did a dolphin kick and was able to pop back up onto the seat of the raft. Took me a few minutes to shimmy off the rock and inspect everything made it. I didn't even get water above my waist, but the situation was not lost on me, my heart was racing and I knew I was an inch away from a swim and my raft would have been stuck on the lowhead dam!

I felt like an idiot for letting my guard down. What probably upset me the most was that I simply wasn't paying attention and that's a Darwin-esque sin on the river. :(

I've almost flipped on low head dams several times, or at least been stuck in the suction for longer than was comfortable.
 

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Humbled, but not by a rapid. Paddle day trip on the New River in WV with a bunch of others. Rained 2 inches the night before and things were rocking with IVs that may have become Vs. Spill outs here & there in the rapids without issue getting people back in and going again. Problem happened when we jumped in to swim a a section with just a few riffles in a calm spot. Wife got disoriented under the raft when it floated over the top of her. I was on the side of the raft & didn't notice. When she finally came up it was clear something wasn't right but she was conscious & still breathing. Got her into the raft & she spend the rest of that trip on the floor of the raft hugging the thwart. So many ways things can go south in a hurry.

Edit - I was also out of the raft swimming at the time it went over her : /
 

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My first and only time trying to IK slaughterhouse, I didn't pay much attention to flows. I had rafted it a few times and figured it'd be all good. What I learned that day was- when someone, who was just on the cover of the local paper r2-ing Crystal Mill Falls, seems impressed that you're IK-ing slaughterhouse at the level, mayyyyyybe you should reconsider.

I'd still like to try again at a "friendly" level.
 
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Man I tell you what's freaking me out, I haven't really been spanked yet...fuck...I ve been pretty leary to go but iam having fun and want to! Knock on wood, salt over shoulder (what else?) It's not funny but I think running over my wife would be great fun lol!! Sorry I bet she was not happy! I ran that last year and it's pretty steep and juicy. All the Colorado stories seem fun too! Let's go !! Woot woot! Of course after it comes down !!!
 

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Man I tell you what's freaking me out, I haven't really been spanked yet...fuck...I ve been pretty leary to go but iam having fun and want to! Knock on wood, salt over shoulder (what else?) It's not funny but I think running over my wife would be great fun lol!! Sorry I bet she was not happy! I ran that last year and it's pretty steep and juicy. All the Colorado stories seem fun too! Let's go !! Woot woot! Of course after it comes down !!!
LOL - did you get your wish from your wife the day you learned you were a lottery loser this year? That post cracked me up. Took a few years before my wife would get into a raft again. Coincided with when our kids were very little so wasn't a huge net loss.
 

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Many years ago, as a first year guide, I guided a float down Brown's Canyon at very low water (350ish according to memory) with a very fully loaded paddle boat. I managed to get the boat badly stuck on a rock. I hopped out and began yarding on the bow line while standing on said rock. I managed to rip the D-ring off the boat, which led to me punching myself in the face and falling over backwards off the rock into the water.

No tips were forthcoming.
 

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Last year. Main Salmon. Launched at -4 feet on the Corn Creek ramp. Lowest I've ever seen the Salmon.
I stuck my 16 foot fully rigged raft on a rock in Growler. The current wag pushing hard against my right side and to the left was about a 3-4 foot drop into a hole on the down river side of the rock I'm stuck on. I have myself, wife, 15 year old son and 9 year old daughter of friends stuck in the middle of the river. We were a 3 boat trip, I'm last on this section. Our other 2 boats eddy out and tie up, then hike up with throw bags. We attempt 3 or 4 throws, but it's too far. I had been prying with my oar, pushing and pulling to no avail. We were STUCK. I dig into my pin kit and pull out a long 8mm rope and nearly get it to shore. One more try and we got this I'm thinking, but as I get ready to throw another group of boats rounds the bend and enters the rapid. I don't want rope in the river with boaters coming, but I do try and signal to other boats that I could use a tug. I'm ready with my throw bag, one end tied to my oarlock. 4 or 5 boats pass us up, just managing to get by and avoid rocks themselves. I make eye contact with dude in a blue Hyside who is locked on and headed right for me. He's going to give us the bumper cars save. I drop my rope and jump back on the oars right as he bumps us hard off of the rock. We slide over and now blue Hyside has taken up my position as "Stuck Boat". I holler at dude and toss him my throw bag, which he quickly wraps around his oar tower (this is where things got extra scary). As rope comes tight tied off between boats, it spins my raft away from the direction of pull effectively raking a clothesline across the front of my raft and pinning wife against the side tube. It was only a second or two before I corrected and blue boat was off the rock and ropes were free, but I learned a lesson that day about how quickly things can get scary with ropes in the river. Rope burn across the lady's back below her PFD was the only injury. We camped early that night at an unexpectedly cool spot (Easter Egg) we were all ready to be off the river after that.
I'm going back for redemption this August.
 

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Yuba River - North Fork, guided trip. We had just paddled our asses off to get out of the hole in Maytag - class V (after 15 minutes of scouting). We were so exhausted and thrilled, we were high fiving and flying high. Guide didn’t tell us that Son of Maytag class IV was just a few hundred yards past Maytag. Unprepared, we entered sideways. Full ejection. Guide was the only one able to hold on to the flipped raft and was gone. I spent a solid 45 seconds under water. I learned what “life flashing before your eyes” meant that day, as every second spent under water there were visuals of various family members appearing (literally flashing) as though it was the end. Survived and made a pact with myself that I would never get on the river again. A few years later I gave the river another chance and discovered just how fun class II/III can be. So I modified my pact.
 
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Been there but no guide, just Guy. Serious piece of water. There is so much big whitewater in that area it will make your head spin.
 
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I was on the local backyard run Slaughterhouse (IV/V) a few years ago with my buddy and his wife in a 9' Mini Mi at about 1200 cfs. It was higher than we thought as our gage was down for a few years and had come up dramatically from our previous run a few days before. We 'made' it through Entrance Exam and ended up flipping and swimming in the falls not long after. They recirculated in the hole for awhile and I spit out with the boat headed down stream and was able to catch it just before it went over the weir where Maroon Creek enters before it headed to Glenwood Springs. When I finally got out with the boat I had a golf ball size bump on my shin but they were ready to continue on. I knew there were much worse rapids ahead with much more consequences so I was able to convince them to pull the plug and we walked the half mile back to the put in humbled but alive. That is the only time in 30+ years on the river I have not finished a run.
 

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So when did you get in a little over your head and get humbled on the river?
Several years ago I lucked out and got to run the Grand Canyon, then join some kids on Westwater (3,600cfs) in my slalom C-1. To my Grand River-acclimated eyes, the water was tiny and great fun to play in. The kids had been paddling Lyons at low flows, so it was huge to them.

I was having such a grand ol time surfing and playing that I got a bit cocky. I eddied out river left at Sock It To Me to run safety for the others. I got to looking at the hole there at Sock, and was seized by a sudden impulse: to surf the hole. After the last of our group had safely navigated the hole, I confidently paddled onto the wave. After the 9th unintentional cartwheel, sending huge ends into the air, I was starting to worry. How would I get off of this thing? I looked back to the river left Eddy where one of the kids waited for his turn to surf, and as I made eye contact, I saw the fear I felt reflected in his huge, saucer eyes. After a few more involuntary cartwheels, I made some moves and forcibly ejected myself from the wave through some combination of luck and sheer determination. None of the others, who had been so eager to surf, followed my lead into that monster.

I was a different boater after that, and have learned since to temper the wild urges I sometimes get with the remembered taste of that humble pie.
 

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North Umpqua, Trip Leader on a commercial trip. Last trip of a 2-week long stint running daily trips on that river. I’d been guiding for a few years and was possibly a little more confident than I should have been. Toilet Bowl rapid involves an S-turn around a semi-sized boulder on river right. My normal conservative line keeping the bow of the boat pointed at the rock was abandoned on the day I had a strong paddle crew and felt confident they could pull the boat out of the hole before hitting the rock. We dropped into the rapid, I pointed the bow river left and called a forward paddle whereupon everyone froze at the sight of this huge boulder rapidly approaching. We demonstrated a picture perfect high side, dumping everyone out of the boat except for me and the 10-year old. Collected everyone in the pool behind the rock and finished the day feeling like a rookie.
 
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