Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Putting the Elder back in Box Elder
Elder- a person who is older or higher in rank than oneself.
Box Elder was on the buzz and much talk was being sprayed about the run and since I missed out on a section and boated it at extremely low flows it was time to go back to get a taste.
Eric Seymour getting ready for a big hole ride. Eric entered in left like all of us but for some reason re-surfaced river right and got a serious beating, seeing a Super Hero throw ends does not look like play boating. After watching him get a beating and coming out of it with a smile on his face I knew Eric was no joke.
Eric going deep!
Gary was heading to Thermopolis for a meeting and his thought was that we could put in around 5 pm and "just" cruise the run to figure out what it was all about. The flow was 450cfs, which was much different from my previous run at 60cfs so I really was unsure of Gary’s master plan of putting on at 5 pm. We decided to meet in Shoshone around 2ish and then drive to the put in (2hours) and do the creek and drive back to Thermopolis that night so Gary could go to his meeting. Gary enlisted Erik Seymour in Jackson and sandbagged him into the trip, Gary failed to mention to Erik that we were boating that day as they were 2 hours out of Jackson heading towards a new run at extremely higher flows then anyone had seen.
I knew we were going to need help setting up a shuttle and getting private land access so I enlisted Kenny a good friend of mine that lives in Casper and he was ready to take over logistics for the quick mission.
As we got to the put in the rain began to pour and we all gave each other a look of let’s get this over with. We sat in our boats and I remember Gary looking across the water and saying, "it’s always a good level when you see trees underwater". Damn it, I can remember the warnings from other boaters about Gary and his addiction for high water.
The run slowly picks up as you enter the canyon and the flat-water this time went very fast. We were able to boat scout every drop until the above photo. I remember rolling into some big stuff above and our group was all in sync working our way through the rapids as a team.
Gary getting ready to do some hole punching!
I wasn’t able to get a bunch of photos of us running stuff since we were chasing the light of the day and moving fast. All these drops went really well, this one was just a slide with a small hole at the bottom.
Another good slide with a little meat at the bottom to punch through. This rapid has a lot of vertical drop in it which you really cant get justice from this photo.
Eventually we hit our first portage after about an hour of boating. This drop will go but with little time and cold temps we decided to pass it up. The hole at the bottom looked pretty good not to mention the hole directly below that.
The foam was thick and deep!
Me checking the hole for leaks!
Our last portage and thanks to Eric for probing the depth!
This would go but again with limited time and the cold day we weren’t looking for a rodeo.
Damn, these drops were getting good, but the walls were starting to close in, and we were nearing our portage or our hike out. With super high flows and limited daylight we opted to hike out.
Eric looking into the chaos
I remember hitting the very small eddy just above this drop and looking down at Gary. I knew just from his look on his face it was big and ugly.
Gary says no thanks.
The hole in the middle of this drop looked simply violent and you would come out of it for sure but we all felt that the chances of coming out upright we going to be the crux. The bottom of the drop had a serious hole and a decapitating rock that loomed above it, so we felt this was a good option to just take out above to start the hike since it was the last drop on the upper run.
We managed to make the scary fairy above the drop and hit the must make eddy and then began our hike out. The run took us about an hour and half but I would plan on much more time if you plan to go in. This was a good find by Mike in Casper and it runs earlier then most creeks which gives people more options for early season boating.