Let’s take a brief moment and discuss questions. Some have questions and never ask them for reasons unknown. Others don’t ask questions as they may not like the response.
Me, I ask questions because I want an answer! So I sent a message out to David Lee aka the Passionate Paddler and simply stated I was thinking about hitting a section of the Black River and would he be interested in having a look. OK, in honesty, this is one of those questions you put forward to an incredibly busy, focused, dedicated and pre-planned guy so when the response came in basically as…..what section, what time, I did what any calm, cool, and collected guy would do; I started dancing around the computer shouting out suggested responses for my good wife to type in.
So the day dawned (which at my age is a really good thing) and off we went to tackle whatever the Black River could offer us. Tucked neatly in between Hwy. 169 and Hwy 11 is where the Black River flows and the sharing of information before the canoes hit the water indicated this may just be a very good day.
The shuttle was put into place and with gear stowed we were quickly under way as everyone was itching to get at this one. Upon putting the canoes into the water, the flow was noticed immediately and off we went. Just under the first bridge, the rump rocks loomed out of the water and David stated, “If the rocks are out of the water then we are going to see some definition!” Definition it was; a series of islands intermingle throughout the river and offer a variety of course. At the same time, they offer a series of challenges as the paddler encounters cross currents from the same islands and the up force of the current is almost enough to strip a paddle from you if you’re not paying attention.
Signals for running the rapids were quickly established and running orders were agreed upon for the sets and that’s just about where the smiles started appearing. This is a, no the starting point for success. There was a variety of talent and equipment so establishing communication and listening to experience was a group PFD…..safety!
This river offers a number of channels and levels of difficulty while remaining to be an overall fantastic spot to test! When we realized the length of the run we immediately thought about testing it a second time, which is exactly what we did.
After a lunch break at the Log Cabin Restaurant in Washago we took off back to the river. It was great to have the equipment we did as we were able to give a lift to one fellow with an Esquif L’edge and another kayaker to the same put in spot we were using.
The second run came on full blast. This section of river with its current flow level will yield anything from a swift, through C1 and right up to C2tech and it didn’t take more than a moment for David and Ben to lead the charge downstream to the header drop just prior to the take out. As I stood with an impressive C2 behind me, I looked back up stream and saw the two streams pouring into the intersection of the river. An alternate choice offered a further downstream option with another two escapes. Truly a place to offer respect as it could do as much damage as it could offer tranquility.
Would I ask another such question……you can bet your paddle…..!