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September 5, 2007

By the time you read this we should have already hiked down to our boats, which we stashed last night in the woods, and ran Niagara Gorge. Made illegal by access technicalities, running the gorge is something that has logistical issues that extend beyond the 100,000 cfs compressed into a narrow 100 ft/mile explosion of water. We got some great help in assuring that the precautions are in place to avoid showing our hand. We also have safety in place which is quite helpful given the difficulty and massiveness of the water.

We have scouted already and have our lines picked, which seems to be the safest right down the meat the whole way. The “whirlpools” I have heard about can be better described as folds of water that open up randomly in the middle of the biggest waves that will swallow a boat deep under, or not, depending on the luck of the draw. The eddylines, and eddy walls are quite impressive and in many cases not crossable without a good dose of lucky timing, but those we have plans on avoiding. The river left eddyline at Whirlpool rapid is quite impressive, while the Himalayas are the real deal for the full adrenaline rush.

Since we haven’t actually run the water yet, at the time of my writing, we are speculating the way it will go. Clearly the water at 30 miles per hour will take us downstream so fast that staying on line is the key and getting off line will not easily be overcome with a ferry. This unknown factor is the best and worst part of the run. If we could run it everyday, we would know what to expect and how to avoid that which we don’t like. Being a one time thing, for now, it is a trial and error run, with the senses on full alert. Nick and Joel are fired up and in good spirits. We will be running 3 minutes apart to give time for the safety to be ready at the bottom of Whirlpool if needed.

Wish us luck!