After heading to Cali last weekend for a multi-day on Deer Creek and being denied by high water, we headed to Downieville for some classic roadside whitewater. We were able to get on Wild Plum (upper NF Yuba), Lavezzola Creek, and Pauley Creek. We had plenty of sun and fun, although we did have incident on Lavezzola in the form of a river-wide log. Two of us are lucky to be here today, and for the second time this year I found myself questioning why I boat, and if it’s really worth it.
This time it was captured on my head-cam, which has allowed me to analyze it over and over to determine what could have been done better. To be honest, I’m not sure I would have done anything much different. It was a class III drop, which we could see the eddy/pool below. The log was both hidden by the glare of the sun as well as being mostly submerged. In fact I didn’t even know it was there until I was stuck underneath it. Obviously the vertically pinned paddle could have given me some indication, but it all happened so fast that I didn't have time to process it.
In the end, I concluded that whitewater kayaking, just like other sports of its kind (e.g. climbing, mountain biking, mountaineering, etc.), has inherent danger, and sometimes things just go wrong. However, this is also one of the reasons that it excites us and draws us away from the daily grind and the rat race.
Some are probably wondering why I share my carnage stories. I’ve never been too proud to show myself getting worked in a hole and going for swim for entertainment purposes. However, ones like this are more serious and meant to be used as a learning tool. My hope is that I can receive constructive feedback to help reduce and/or prepare myself for the next time. I also hope that others can learn from these events without having to go through it themselves. If you do have feedback, please add it to the comment section below so that others can also read it.
Stuck between a log and a hard place: