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After a major two year drought in the Southeast that meant rare trips to the free flowing creeks of the area, we are officially out! Over 9” of rain in December compared to the historical average of 5.77”, and already having 4.7” as of January 10, while the monthly average is only 5.7” the water table is full, the creeks are flowing, the Great Falls Dam at Rock Island is spilling, and has been for over a month straight already! 20,000+ CFS at Rock Island only two days ago, and a steady 5,700 cfs now. No longer is the question, what should we do today, but instead it is “everything is going today, how do we choose?”. We were supposed to get .25” of rain yesterday but ended up with a bonus .67”, sweet!

Two days ago we put in just below Sieve City and caught the two big waves on the fly leading towards the dam on our way down to the Brave Wave. The flow was 11,000 cfs at first, but shortly after arriving at the wave they cut a gate putting it to 6,000 cfs. 11,000 cfs was bigger with a catchers mitt, but the 5,700 cfs level is green and technical (like in the photos Stephen sent in yesterday). We had a great time playing with Keegan from Canada (Regional Team JK), Isaac from Chattanooga (regional team JK) and Steve from Connecticut. Lots of fun and we left after our arms were falling off.

Yesterday was a 7 mile Cane Creek run- just below Fall Creek Falls with the guys from the plant. Brad, Jase, Adam, Owen, Clay, Goat, and I all met at the take out (about 20 minutes from my house) for this awesome class 4+ run. Amazingly, this was my first trip on Cane Creek. Only Owen and Clay had been down it before (Clay many, many times).

The guys rocked the run with only three flips all day, and no swims. The rapid that clearly wants to deliver beatings, Twin Towers, couldn’t have gone better. A technical lead in, to a rolling drop into a really sticky hole makes for a rapid that anyone could have spent some time at the bottom looking around for a rope. Not today as everyone had great runs. Adam flipped after boofing the hole, but not quite making it past the bubble and rolled up so fast that he managed to paddle out before getting sucked back in, good job!

Billy Harris arrived yesterday and he first day at Rock Island will be today as we do some laps on Great Falls- maybe trying a few different lines, and then a paddle down to Sieve City, and, as we always do, look at it, and decide if we are up for it today. Sieve City can deliver its own brand of beatings and the lines you want to take, usually to the right around the holes that angle on the rocks on the left or into the crack on the left, are really hard to make, if even possible. So going down the left is the way to go if you want to make a line you pick, but then you have to deal with some major holes that would make a creek boat cartwheel like a playboat in a rodeo. Each level is so different that it gets harder and easier every thousand CFS change, it seems. We’ll paddle down to the “top hole” on river left and do some hole moves as this hole delivers them easily. The Main Hole and Brave Wave are always beckoning below and usually suck us out of the top hole eddy in a matter of 20 minutes or so. Playing the main hole is always a treat at high water, as you try to pretend you aren’t scared of it and just throw everything in the meat. However, while I am not scared of it, I usually find myself at the corner setting up wave moves 60% of the time since it is drier and you can breathe whenever you want. The obligatory McNasty in the meat, along with an air screw in front of the pile are usually the last moves before it is, “OK, let’s hit Brave Wave” where we will stay for an hour or two. It is usually time to leave Brave Wave when the tricks stop happening like you want and the arms are screaming, “enough”. However, we usually stay longer anyhow.

It is 8:30am and a high of 40 degrees is expected today. We had 57 degrees yesterday. Colder weather is on the way. Luckily the river is really warm right now after a month where it hasn’t been getting below freezing. Pogies or my new Glacier Gloves will keep my hands warm. My IR dry deck and pants, and uni-suit will keep my body warm, while my dry kayak will keep me in good shape where I won’t have to empty out all session. It will be warm enough and an epic day today.