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The rains have come and so has the cold, snow and general nippiness you get living in the mountains. Haven’t been skiing in the last 2 years because boating (and recovering from boating) keeps the lot of my time. 4 PFD’s (personal first descent) this year so far, and some sick trips in between including this one to Nicaragua.

– Ernie’s Canyon:

Ernies’s Canyon, now taking reservations

One of the new runs I got on, Ernie’s Canyon, defies description. And I should say before offering any description that it’s the scariest bit of whitewater I’ve paddled. Ernie’s is serious. You know it even before you hear about it. You know there is a run out there like it. From the time you get your copy of the Bennett Book and start looking through ALL of the different rivers around here, discovering the ratings system and all the “crazy” class V-VI runs that you are NEVER going on. You haven’t even heard of Gorge Beasts yet!!

Scannin’ the scene, lookin’ fer Gorge Beasts

Fish and Totten discuss ‘options’

Once you’re in it don’t stop

Then one day, you find Ernie’s:

The run starts with class III warm-up and soon after you pass through class III/IV Hancock Rapids, the river enters Ernie’s Canyon. From this point the river drops through two miles of big and powerful drops. The first of these is Raft Catch, where you get out on river right to scout or portage. This drop marks the start of an intense half mile of whitewater where pools are non-existent, eddies are few, mostly hidden, and rarely hold more than two boats comfortably. It’s a river without waves-the water is moving too quickly, through holes and over ledges. It’s not boat scoutable and the walls are steep.

Life, from then on, is not the same. Ernie’s has lots of classic lines and drops. That said, you gotta know there are forces at work, trying to kill you.

Toilet Bowl with a big ‘sewer drain’

of a sieve right downstream

With drops like Raft Catch, Manky Manniquin,  Big Nasty, Cool Rapid, Room Of Doom, Hard Left, and Little Nasty, you are guaranteed to be blowing an adrenaline valve. There are plenty more without names as well. Portaging isn’t easy, either. You wanna go in feeling goood, brah. Here is a sweet video of Ernie’s by fellow Creek Sider, Dan Patrinellis. Dan likes makin’ it look easy steezy.

Ernie’s POV

 – Deer Creek:

Deer Creek is another I got on this year and with 1200 cfs being the ‘low end’ this is no creek, my friend. This is a river. Of course, getting into sweet rivers like Ernie’s and Deer Creek usually involve some sort of…


Fish and Joe (there’s a Country Joe and the Fish joke in there somewhere)

lament the fun mile stroll into Ernie’s.

…or a fun, woodsy stroll in. Deer Creek.

Don’t worry, though, gate-assisted hiking is the least of your worries. It’s refreshing to be among the woodsey critters in the forest on the way in to a sweet run, especially in the winter. I really love the winters here.

This is how much time you have to get your shizz together

between Fluffy Bunnies and the next big juicer!!


Who put the ‘creek’ in Deer Creek? This stuff is BIG!!

Joe routes the juice.

Sure there’s a gate. Go in early. Sure, you go for a walk through the woods to get to the river and there could be a branch or two in the way. Strong boat scouting skills will get you to the top of Hudson. Venture too far and you could be in for trouble. Hudson ends in a near river-wide stomper.


Adrian charges Hudson

Deer Creek doesn’t stop

The hills around Deer Creek are being chopped down. It’s part of what adds to the Deer Creek flavor. Just make sure you make it out before the loggers do.

 – Carbon Canyon:

Found my way back to the Carbon river after 5 or 6 years. Still super cool. Classic, classic box canyon. Including a 150 foot rap in from the canyon rim.

Dave Moroles has this run dialed and shows the bros down the river. There is one typical portage in the beginning of the run and I would say that portage is the crux of the run. As the water gets higher it makes it much harder to get out of your boat. Once 1 person is out it is much easier because they can grab your bow and pull you up on the rock slab. The only bummer is, there has to be a ‘first guy’.

Carbon ~ Classic Canyon

This last update may come in handy for upcoming Creek Sides missions. Carl, from Kayak Hot Dogs has come up with a fairly simple backpacking system that looks good and for the price you have to try at least once. Thanks, Carl.

D.I.Y. kayak backpack under $25.

More Creek Sides trips planned this spring, kiddies. and as soon as I get my act together (and a reliable internet connection) Winter Update pt 2 will be up before you know it. Don’t you go touchin’ that dial, hear. Thank fer stoppin’ by.