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Jason Winkler approached me before the Teva Mountain Games about him creating a show about the Jackson’s on “Nomads”, a Rush HDTV show that will air on Rush and National Geographic TV. Sounded like fun so we agreed. Jason appointed Brian Lippy, Sasha, and Kena to do the filming on HDTV. They met us after Jay’s wedding and after I flew to New York to audition for the announcing of the Beijing Olympics kayaking competition. I had not slept a full night in a few days between the wedding, a 7am flight the next morning out of Portland (2.5 hours away from the wedding), the interview, and then flight back across the country into Portland, and finally getting the car south of Portland and loading it up and then driving through the night to Skookumchuck. Whew! I would have broken that into more than one sentence, but it happened in one blurr that needs to be addressed in one sentence. Brian Lippy and crew were in full action filming everything from us getting gas, to eating, to deciding where to go next. We spent three days surfing Skookumchuck, running, boating, and generally wearing ourselves out in any way we could, getting sore in the process.

We decided it was time to go creeking and we had two days to do it. We hit up White Salmon, Washington, and Hood River, Oregon, as well as some good friends from there.

Dane and Emily had never run the “Green Truss” section of the Upper White Salmon but had been to many Gorge Games where I raced on that section before. They were both quite excited about the trip. Our run took 6 hours!! This must be a world’s record long run for that run. We filmed and that took much longer than expected. This was good for scouting drops with the kids, though. Emily and Dane both styled drops all of the way to Big Brother. Dane was almost took excited to stand it when he got there and after scouting from both sides he balanced a little nervousness with the excitement. Emily just took a long look and said, “next time”. This 30 foot waterfall is a little more intimidating than people expect when they have seen photos or video. It has a narrow window of “good takeoff” point at the top and the water comes in from the side making the lead in much more complicated than a straight on flow. The landing zone is next to the veil on the left side while the right side (missing by 1 foot on the take off) puts you in the “cave” which is really just a swirly eddy with undercut walls that could put you back behind the falls if you aren’t right side up and paying attention. After looking from both sides, Dane was ready and I went to get to the bottom. Nate Herbeck had already run it to set up the camera in his yellow Rocker. I lined it up and went for the full boof but landed it on edge to soften the landing. It is fully aerated and soft enough anyhow, but it is still big enough to be careful. Nick Troutman dropped off next and landed stern first in the right spot. It was cool looking. Clay Wright was next and had a beautiful drop but landed in the cave, looked around and then paddled out. Mike Palmer was next and was taking a creek boat down a creek for the first time in his life at age 16 years old. He lined up Big Brother and was about to do his first 30 footer taking his last stroke a little early letting the bow drop vertically and the boat drift left of the takeoff spot. He dropped vertically banging his paddle along the wall but came up super excited and very much ready for another such drop. Dane lined it up next and made a typical Dane lineup with a razor sharp focus on the takeoff point and dropped it perfectly at the right spot but with enough right angle to drop into the cave as well and had to paddle off. He was super psyched with his line and was totally cool with the cave after seeing Clay do it.

We all nailed Little Brother next and then made it down to Double Drop where the next action would take place. Dane was the lightest and I figured that if anyone got stuck in the bottom hole it would be him. The drop is an 8 footer into a 4 footer with a boat length between the drops and the bottom drop is only about 6 feet wide at the most and the hole is walled out on both sides. Nick dropped in and flipped on the bottom drop but flushed within 3 seconds without getting stuck. Nate dropped the first drop and petoned the wall on the left and ran the second drop backwards and flipped but flushed. Dane did the first drop well but got clearly stuck on the second drop and back looped back into the wall and then looped back up against the wall forwards but flushed after his stern slammed the wall. Emily was clearly not impressed and nobody had sold the line yet. Clay went and stayed upright the whole way but got pushed against the left wall and boofed a rock that didn’t look like a line that could be easily reproduced. Everyone was cheering for Emily to go and I told her that I thought she would be very glad to have run it. We all watched as she nailed the top drop but didn’t accelerate hard enough into the second drop and got stuck perfectly sideways in the hole with both ends on the walls. She made a gallant effort to get out, over a minute of bow blasting, flipping upside down to drag herself out and pulling hard to get out but eventually bailed and swam. She cried for a little bit and gave me a dirty look, but it didn’t last. She was bummed because this was only her third swim in her life and she doesn’t want to swim. She got back on the kayak and nailed the rest of the run, only walking BZ Falls. I managed a right side up run of Double Drop.

The filming was going well and our next place was BZ. This rapid never really “looks good”. It is a roll of the dice for whether you will make it right side up or get flipped or stuck in the hole at the bottom. Nate, Nick, and I ran it and none of us got stuck, but nobody did it right side up.

After getting off the river we went to my good friend Eric Sandford’s house in White Salmon for a cookout. He may have the best view in White Salmon, which is like saying the Space Shuttle may have the best view of the Earth. He showed us a film where his girlfriend solo rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in 103 days with no communications, 4 broken oars, no music on the second half and lost 30 pounds doing it. Roz is her name, cool! I showed him our 2007 Promo video. Dick and Penny were there too and I got to see them for a short period, some of my good west coast friends! Missing was Moe and Trish Dixson, but we’ll catch up tomorrow!

On Sunday we went to the Wind River and did Shephard’s Falls and then ran out to the Columbia River. Kristine and Emily went shopping for Emily and Nick’s new 1989 Volkswagon Westvalia that they just bought from Brian Lippy. I feel like Emily just took her first step out of the nest. She now has a home of her own, a baby version of the RV. She will live out of it with Nick at the Ottawa starting in one week! Wow, it was an emotional moment for me but she doesn’t see it that way yet.

Dinner was at Brian’s Pourhouse, where Kristine gets her favorites- Kiwi Kamakazi, Calamari, and Ahi Tuna, with Strawberry Shortcake for dessert! Oh yea! We ate dinner with Moe and Trish Dixon. Moe is one of the most talented musicians ever!

We woke this morning, got the RV ready to drive by 7am and are driving to Golden, Colorado for the Junior Olympics where the final filming will take place, and then we’ll head to Washington, DC and then to the Ottawa! Jackson Kayak is having a “board meeting” in DC and it will mark our first profitable year, sweet!