Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Break: Went to Church

Keep reading to find out...

5am. Wake up. Breakfast. On the road by 6.

The beginning of an adventure. Pulling out of my friend's driveway in Gig Harbor, Wash, I had little idea what was in store for the next 10 days. Spring break had just begun and it was to be a non-stop whirlwind of continuous missions around Southern Washington and Oregon. During the trip I met up with the Balls Deep Productions kayakers who so generously let me and 6-10 other friends take over and set up a shantytown around their house in White Salmon, Wash.

Gear littered the BDP South Mansion 

I was captivated by the places we ventured to. My eyes were glued open, taking in the dank evergreen forests, the sepia-tone plains, the massive snowcapped Cascades Volcanoes, and the most crystalline blue water I have ever seen.

My first few days were spent skiing some powder and park at Mt. Hood with my buddies from Bellingham.

En Route to Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

Drew Swisher touring around Ski Bowl at Mt. Hood

Soon after, I was off to the BDP mansion to rage and document the ensuing missions. We first went to the Little White Salmon River, a class V+ river that the boys run a few times a day if the conditions are right:

Jakub Nemec sending off Spirit Falls. Spirit Falls is the main waterfall on the Little White Salmon River

Fred Norquist boofing off Spirit Falls.

DJ Stoneman using his edges after kayaking off Spirit Falls.

Todd Wells beasting through Chaos, a manky hole downriver of Spirit Falls.

Evan Garcia throwing up a BDP sign while maintaining his style.

BDP boys after a lap on the Little White. This is a common spectacle
 at the takeout of any river when you are with BDP

Fred Norquist

Next it was off to Celestial Falls somewhere in north-central Oregon:

Celestial Falls, Northern Oregon

We were traveling on the highway through seemingly endless farmland until we turned off on a dirt road and came upon the falls. It was a place unlike any other that I have seen. The water had carved out a perfect bowl, and in the middle was Celestial Falls. Eric Parker, Olin Wimberg, Russel Davies, Fred Norquist, Galen Volckhausen, William Griffith (aka Jam-boy), all hucked themselves off the 45 foot drop:

Eric Parker looks on as Olin Wimberg takes the plunge over Celestial Falls.

Eric Parker styling Celestial Falls

The hike out after the falls.

Galen Volckhausen attempting a back freewheel off Celestial falls. Key word: attempting

Fred Norquist approaching the lip of the 40 foot Celestial Falls

Fred Norquist taking his last stroke.

Eric Parker anticipating the drop in the pool above Celestial Falls. The waterfall in the background has still never been run by kayakers, it has been deemed unsafe.

William Griffith hucks Galen's paddle back to him. Galen lost his paddle sometime during the drop

The takeout downriver of Celestial Falls.

Russel Davies about to send it.

Sometime kayaking can hurt, Olin Wimberg smashed his face of his paddle or boat during the drop

Eric Parker on his fourth descent of Celestial Falls in one day.

After conquering Celestial Falls for the fourth time in one day, Eric Parker, paddles downstream.

It was awe inspiring watching these athletes in their element. They make it look easy.

A day or two after, we rallied two cars and made the four hour drive to Koosah and Sahalie Falls outside Sisters, Oregon. We got there and discovered that the other car had missed the turn, and there was no cell service. The next hour Jakub Nemec drove around the deserted roads and finally found them. In the mean time, Tait Trautman and I scouted the different angles for the shot. Unfortunately I made the mistake of wearing shorts, the nice weather in White Salmon did not follow us south. The snow on the ground should an indicator of how cold it was:

Jakub Nemec driving south to Central Oregon. Sahalie and Koosah Falls
 were about an hour  southwest of Bend, Or,

DJ Stoneman in position to set saftey for Galen Volckhausen

Stoke was in the air as Jakub, DJ, Galen, and Seth geared up and scouted their line off Sahalie falls. The 70 foot falls had a hairy entrance. Galen Volckhausen was the first to go. He only assessed his line from one side of the waterfall, so when he accidentally hit the lip like a jump he launched outward as he travelled the down the waterfall. Boof!!! Stuck it!

Galen sending way out off Sahalie Falls. Galen boofed the falls, but managed to stay in his kayak.

Somehow Galen managed to stay in his boat.

Seth Stoenner laying some treats off Sahalie falls. 

Seth Stoenner after dropping Sahalie Falls. The mist from the falls gave this photo a cool effect.

Jakub scouting Sahalie Falls from below.
Jakub went to church!

Seth Stoenner had a sick line off Sahalie, no problems besides a little swim. Jakub unfortunately went over-vert during his turn. Afterwords Jakub gave his praises to the youngsters for their ability to run park-and-hucks without warming up.

Next it was DJ's turn. DJ styled his line and stuck it perfectly! "Woohoooo," cries of joy could be heard from all who were watching.

DJ celebrates after running Sahalie Falls, like a boss.

DJ was so exhilarated that he decided to nut up and run Sahalie's little sister, Koosah Falls. DJ ended up being the only kayaker to run Koosah that day. It was a sight to see:

Still fired up after Sahalie Falls, DJ Stoneman, decided to run Koosah falls.
Stoneman was the only kayaker to drop Koosah that day.

Went to Church
The adventures didn't stop there! I couldn't believe how I was spending my time, every waking minute was memorable.

Woooooosssshhhh... The propellers started and the smiles stretched. My acquaintance Lucas King was so generous to take my friends Brendan, Francesca, and I on a flight around the Columbia River, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. I don't believe a description of the flight will do it justice. The feeling of being thousands of feet above the ground with your best friends while the sun is setting is not something that can easily be conveyed, so I'll try and show you:

The Cockpit


Brendan and Francesca getting excited before the flight.

Captain Lucas King, 19, preforms his pre-flight procedures.
When King isn't flying, he is the CEO of The New World Farms, in Trout Lake, Wash.

Brendan and I stoked to get airborne!

A view of White Salmon, Wash with Mt. Adams in the distance

Mt. Adams with Mt. Rainer in the distance.

Mt. Adams as seen from the cockpit. The flight lasted for one hour and 15 minutes.

The view from the back of the plane looking southward to Mt. Hood.

Brush Fire near White Salmon Washington. Notice the light rays from the smoke.

The Columbia River Gorge looking westward at sunset on March 30.
Hood River, Or is on the left and White Salmon, Wash is on the right.

Lucas looks to Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainer in the distance.

The southeastern face of Mt. Adams with Mt. Rainer in the distance.

East side of Mt. Adams with Mt. Rainer in the distance.

Aye Aye captain! There blows Mt. Hood!
Mt. Hood

So much stoke!

The flight was one of the most beautiful experiences of my entire life. I have spend some time around the Columbia River Gorge, but never have I seen it from that vantage. You could look in any direction and see something jaw-dropping. The giant Cascade Volcanoes swelled out of the undulated  landscape. The Columbia carved is winding path to the east and west. And looking to the east you could see the desolate panorama of Eastern Washington. As we descended the sun began to set, painting the snowcapped peaks shades of red and pink. The Northwest never ceases to leave me stunned.

Only hours later those spectacular sights would be rivaled... We landed the plane at sometime around 7 P.M.

At 9 P.M. that same night, (my last day of Spring Break), Eric Parker looked at me and said, "we found you some skins for your skis, we are to climbing up Mt. Hood tonight." I looked back and replied, "Hell yeah, lets do it!" We discussed the climb all break but we didn't know if it was going to happen.

With only hours left during the break we set off for Mt. Hood, this time by roads. It was 1 A.M. when we reached the parking lot at Mt. Hood. No one in the crew had slept a wink, we were all too excited to start our climb. Olin Wimberg, Fred Norquist, Eric Johnson, Brendan Wells, Eric Parker and I stuck our skins to our skis and began the ascent.

I was climbing in a T-shirt at 1 A.M. because it was so warm. But, the further we ascended, the colder it became. The crew naturally started breaking up as the climb progressed.

As sunrise edged closer I found myself climbing alone. The first ray of light started to crest the horizon as I reached the point where my friends and I were to meet. Ahead of me lay a pile of rocks, I thought to myself that my friends must have pushed on. Tired and discouraged that my friends weren't there, I decided to try and catch them. I again started trudging uphill when the rocks above looked like they was shifting. I yelled out "Jah boys!" and one of the rocks (Eric Johnson) replied with "Yo mon!" It was my friends! They were all huddled up in their jackets trying to stay warm and I had mistaken them for a pile of rocks.

Reunited, we watched the rest of the world wake up. To the east the sun was rising. To the west Portland's viens started pumping. To the south were the sleeping giants, Mt. Jefferson and the Sisters Mountain Range.

(Some photos by Eric Parker)

Daybreak on Easter Sunday looking southward from Hogs Back on Mt. Hood. Eric Parker snapped this shot at around 5 A.M.
Looking south you can see all the way down to Central Oregon. The mountain from front to back are Mt. Jefferson, North and South Sister, and Broken Top Mountain.

Mt. Jefferson looms in the distance as the Northwest wakes up. The moon lit up the night sky during our ascent the entire time we were climbing.

Some icy lines down the South Face of Mt. Hood. The snow was the hardest I have ever skied.

We sat and watched in wonder. As the sun crept up a little more, I took a look to the west. I was confused by what I was seeing, there was a huge dark triangle that protruded across the landscape for 50+ miles. For the first few seconds I couldn't comprehend what was going on, probably due to lack of sleep, but then it hit me. I was looking at the shadow of Mt. Hood:

Yours truly right before the icy descent down. The shadow of Mt. Hood
 looms in the distance. 

The shadow of Mt. Hood extending towards the West. Look closely and you can see shadow of the snow fly off the top.
The climb up Mt. Hood was the capstone to the entire trip, the cherry on top. It was surreal seeing the sunrise from 10,000 ft. My trip felt complete.

Promptly after getting in the car Olin, Brendan and I feel asleep. The sleepless night and the climb up Mt. Hood made for a lifeless car ride back to White Salmon

People always told me I was a beautiful sleeper

Brendan might even be more beautiful than me

Olin Wimberg catching some Z's after the successful night.
So concluded my spring break. It was inspring to step away from school. The BDP boys reawakened me what life is supposed to be. Your supposed to get after it every day, it doesn't matter what you are doing, do it well.

My dad once told me, 'you can learn more in a day outside than you can during a day spent in a classroom.' So true. Every time I take a trip like this, I learn lessons that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Thanks you BDP and friends, this trip would not have been the same without you!

1 comment:

  1. Jasper,

    these photos right here mark the best photography work, and from what i've seen journalism work to date.

    i'd say that you appear to be improving every time you pick up the camera, but we both know that's not true, we've both been lazy before and just shot for the sake of shooting without working on anything.

    here's whats good:

    1. your shooting, and it looks like your shooting nearly everything that happens to you and thats really good.
    2. you're definitely keeping composition in mind, you're filling your frame and i can see that everything in the frame looks like stuff you want to be in the photo
    3. you're obviously trying to keep the colors true to what you saw, and thats always a great ideal

    here's what i'd improve on
    1. i like to keep things wide too, but maybe consider cropping a bit, or cropping with your feet too, i see a lot of negative space in some photos and sometimes the photo could be a bit more powerful if you reduce the subject a bit more. i know you like to see the wide scene, but keep in mind you can always take more photos of individual parts of a scene, or smaller amounts, and have more photos to sell, but a giant scene doesn't always make a good photo.
    2.the colors while probably very true to the scene seem a bit off, often in the shadows, i can teach you a bit about the exposure techniques i use to get consisted color in variable lighting, also some post processing tips
    3. it's more my style of shooting, but try to shoot more of the BTS, or human element of the photos, i know you like action and landscapes, but try to get some human faces in their too!

    again, buddy, i'm blown away by how much you're imroving, and everything that you;re out there doing, let's talk in person, and go ahead and upload that video so i can comment on that too.