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Sunday, April 10, 2011

SF COQUILLE RIVER/ ELK RIVER TRIP

Our lower rogue trip was cancelled and we were searching for something else to do as we all still had time off from work.  Nick came up with the elk and sf coquille, I had been wanting to hit the elk for over a year after reading about it on bassioutdoors.com.  A couple of use left saturday morning and stayed in Gold Beach for a day at the Ireland Rustic Lodges, I highly recommend staying their if your heading that way.
We met up with Nick,Scott, and Kipper sunday morning in Port Orford had breakfast and headed towards the elk. You can see some of the major rapids your gonna run from the road, the water quality was excellent and the rapids were good quality class III-IV. I ended up portaging the first major rapid with a buddy and ended up walking pretty far as I didn't see were he walked back down. I missed a couple rapids and eventually found a way down and ran the last mini gorge with the crew, it was the best part of the run.  Scott was the probe for us and lead us down weaving through the gorge, avoiding the holes. 

When we finished up we headed towards Powers and the sf coquille river, we found our campsite for the night along the river, drank some beer had chilli dogs and talked about many things including kayaking of course.  It started to rain a little and I thought we might be in for some higher water in the morning but it seemed to subside fairly quick. In the morning we were packed up by ten, Steve decided to spend the day with his girlfriend so he was out. They took off down the road to drop the truck off at the take out along with my helmet, I ended up getting a ride down by a ranger listening to hillbilly outlaw music on xm radio.

When I got back Nick had decided he would drive the truck back down as we may have had a hard time finding a ride back to the truck.  My arms were hurting from the day before and I was nervous about the run looking at it from the road up their is some serious consequence to making mistakes, this river has alot of sieves and undercuts to watch out for.  We started down the river and before I knew it I was swimming, my roll has been non existant lately.  I think the swim helped calm my nerves some amazing how that works, before we knew it we were at the first major rapid. It has a large log coming from the hillside on the left into the river at about a 45 degree angle. This marks the entrance to the 8' drop, you go through a small hydraulic and paddle to the right of the big boulder in the center.  I dropped through the first part and was facing right paddling hard to eddy out when I dropped in a wave and missed my brace, I bailed quick as I knew I didn't have time to mess around. I swam like an Olympian and made it out in time to see Kipper go off the drop get rolled and swim.  His paddle was pushed up against and undercut rock and sucked under never to be seen again.



My day ended at that rapid, Kipper swam across to get my boat and paddle to bring it back across, he used my paddle to go another mile or so with Scott after retrieving his boat. We changed ate some lunch and headed back home leaving the rest of the run for another day( in the works as i type) .  We have to go back and get some redemption I always feel more comfortable the second time. I'm working on my roll to gain it back, after not practicing it during the winter I have lost good form and confidence but I will regain it and move on. These are two beautiful runs with great rapids and scenery, they are well worth the expense to travel to.

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