Paddle fest is always one of my favorite events every year. Buena Vista is an awesome little town with an amazing white water park. They have several features that are good at a wide range of levels. The brewery is in the park and the camping is free. The town is surrounded by huge mountains including about a half dozen 14ers. There are hot springs just a few minutes away to aid the sore muscles after a long day of paddling. If the Arkansas river had flow all year I would live in BV for sure. This year we had very low water right up to the day of the comp. The weather turned warm on Thursday in time to bring us rising water levels all through the weekend. We competed in a feature that was a bit better than last year’s. The hole in BV isn’t very retentive but it is mellow and deep which makes it easy to set up tricks and you don’t worry about hitting the bottom.
Mr. Jed carried two of demshitz into the top 10 in the pro men’s competition with 2 more sitting on the bubble. Craig Kleckner finished 7th, Dave Fusilli was 10th, Mike Patterson 11th, and yours truly was 12th. Rowan Stuart took 2nd in the Jr women’s division and 2nd in C1 with modified Mrs. Jed and only half a paddle.
After the festival we paddled from Pine Creek all the way back to BV. About 12 or 13 miles I think. It was long and cold again. The crew rallied to Crested Butte Monday evening to hit OBJ. Amy and I had to make some stops for provisions and such so we opted out of Monday evening dusk run and met up just as they took out to camp. Our plan was to run it again Tuesday and get some photos at the big one but it got colder than the surface of the moon Monday night and the snow stopped melting which means the water stopped flowing. We woke up Tuesday sad to see such low water. We decided to head up this other creek (I forgot its name.) to scout a stout 7 tiered waterfally drop thing, mostly to kill time hoping that water would come back up. Sadly, it didn’t and Amy and I had driven all the way to OBJ to not kayak. Demshitz was determined to go kayaking though, so we decided that if the snow would not melt and come down to us we will go up into the mountains and kayak it in its solid form. Technically it is still white water. We drove up cottonwood pass and found a good stout slide that dropped about 200 vertical feet. Mike fired it up first followed closely by Craig. We were all pretty stoked until Matt went and ate shit pretty hard. He came flying out of his boat and went rag dolling down the hill. Fortunately, he was ok. Probably got some bruises but no real injury. Dave had a close call with some trees but pulled it off. I was completely out of control right from the start and barely kept it open side up. I hit the small pines that Dave narrowly avoided but it wasn’t too bad. It just sent me spinning. Some of you may recall from the Mt. Rose snow boater X a few years ago that I crashed through the fence and nearly boofed right off the mountain. Given my track record with snow kayaking I’d say this was a huge success just because I stayed on the right side of the hill. After our class V sled ride we went back to BV to spend a night and today ran Pine Creek and the numbers again. Now I am finally sitting at my computer and getting an update out. We head to Lyons tomorrow for the Lyons Outdoor Games. I will try to be a bit more punctual in getting that update to you. There is just so much kayaking to do. You understand, right? Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the pictures.