Monday, September 29, 2008

The end of a journey: Goodbye BC

After an epic and wondrous experience on Tatlow Creek, we lingered at the takeout in hopes that the rain would hold off and we could get another run the next morning before heading home. Unfortunately, it rained all night and we woke up to a creek on the rise, and figured it would be too high by the time we got to the top. Disappointed, we packed up and headed downstream, hoping the mine would not have responded yet. Alas, the tributaries had all risen substantially, and with it still raining hard and the Ashlu running really high, we abandoned the idea of running a cranking mine run with no guide.

We rolled out of the Ashlu Valley, intent on returning, and Bryan Smith suggested that some of the coast huck stops might have some flow from all the rain. We checked Brittania Creek and found a low but doable flow for the double 20 at the bridge. Everyone else had little interest, but I would never pass something that clean and quality up back home, so I rolled the wet gear on and warmed up before dropping right into the set.

The first one is really only 15 feet, but the second one felt like a little more than twenty. It is a great drop and a good cap to our travels in BC. Fitting that it should end with a few clean waterfalls.

The drive along the coast on Hwy 99 was beautiful and the usual feelings of sadness that it was over, but also anxiousness to get home dominated the rest of the day. We spent 3 hours at the border, as this time we elected to cross at an interstate checkpoint. After finally rolling into Seattle and grabbing a room, we took a soak in the warmest water of the trip, the hotel hot tub. A few winks and 2000 miles later, we were back in Tennessee, and the trip was over.

I will never forget British Columbia. It has the best whitewater, most beautiful environments, and most intense and enjoyable gorges of anywhere I have ever paddled. It is hard to not want to just go back next year, but the call of the new and unknown is distant but clear. Everyone signed a roll call for Middle Kings at the bar in Nashville, but I don't think I can swing the time next year. Who knows where we will go, but I can tell you a few things. It won't have a road next to it, there will be overnight gear, there may or may not be a long hike in, and there WILL be waterfalls.

Till next time,

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