|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|
|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
|Celestial Falls, Northern Oregon|
|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.|
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|
|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.|
|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|
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:
|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!|
|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.|
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!