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July 4, 2006

By Clay Wright. Learn more about Clay.

Still in Colorado!

After my 4-day stint on Big South (awesome!) took a break to paddle Gore at 800 with Glen from Salida and a big crew from Arkansas – highlights the ‘double left boof’ and ‘professor’ lines at Gore Rapid, the big boof just below it, and the swirling Kirshbaum. Got back in the Super-hero for speed and carving, had fun zipping around all day and punching every hole I could find.

Went back to the Rocker for more Big South – it’s just so different! Moose on the shuttle, rainbow-hippies at the CG looking for rides to Steamboat, and all those continuous rapids! Getting low now, lots of folks running everything. A Deisel pitoning into a ‘Duckbill’ at Meltdown and Lawrence from NZ’s backwards ‘double drop’ boof were the highlights. He actually launched it pretty well and made it across the hole no problem! Scott Shipley styled everything – with no elbow pads. We had to remind him to wait for the ropes to get set. Great to see so many people coming through Cool World and Double Drop with style. Ran small groups into big groups just for the social scene and to watch the action!

Off to South Canyon wave, of the Colorado, which was dropping in, but didn’t. Surfed at 3800 anyway – big tricks on occasion but hard to stick the landings. Ben Guska makes it look epic but it’s one tough cookie. Great front-surfing – bouncing around the rails of the steep sections was just as fun as blunting and lasted lots longer. Flow loved the generous stick-throwers and I loved the hippie hot springs within walkind distance from Village Inn! No kidding – a pipe from the pay-pool funnels HOT water from a pipe into this patch of pools right by the river, and right next to (but out of sight of) the highway. The volume forms a big ‘hole’ in the first pool, so it’s a natural bubble-bath and you can lay back into the falls . . .sweet. Perfect after a long week on the creek and just out of the Colorado.

Next up was Bailys today – 500? GREAT run with a fluffy nature like Idaho or California in places. Clear cold water bounding down punchy holes and creating fluffy curlers to ride all over the place. Marty’s guide service much appreciated since the rapids / portages sneak up on you. The Rocker is perfect on these higher volume runs since it’s easy to get up to speed and punches through the curlers like butter. Saw some carnage evidence below Super-max – 2 kayaks pinned under wood – to demonstrate the consequences of a swim. Man, between the forest fire damage and the rounded granite domes the lower half is really unusual looking for Colorado. Looks like Cali, but the rocks are much sharper! Cold water, hail, and rain gave it a slightly pushy feel but I bet that one will get really sweet once you know it. Love to see it higher.

Heading to Salida / Lake Creek tomorrow – after a Bongo Billy’s breakfast … paddle safe!