Thursday, June 13, 2019

Go see the North Fork Championship, plus a high country condition report

A kayaker cuts hard-left to go around the gate behind the rock near the top of Jake's. (Courtesy Canoe/Kayak) 

Hi all,

Many of the best kayakers from around the world are coming to Idaho this week to compete in the North Fork Championship on the mighty North Fork of the Payette River. KTVB-TV reported that 180 athletes from 18 countries will compete for the $5,000 top prize.

I highly recommend that you go watch the main event on Saturday! It starts at 1 p.m. on Jacob's Ladder, one of the most challenging sections of gnarly Class 5 whitewater in North America. These paddlers will be not only surviving the churning whitewater, but also running gates in the middle of Jake's, and that's when things can get interesting!

Take a look:

(Video courtesy Outside mag)

Jacob's Ladder is located about half-way from Banks to Smith's Ferry on one of those rare places in the north-bound lanes where there's a passing lane on a long uphill. That's the spot! Find a place to pull over on the shoulder, or bring a bike and find a better place to park and hang out when the race is over.

I find it totally invigorating just watching the expert kayakers trying to navigate the big and bold features on the North Fork at an incredibly fast speed. The whitewater is ferocious! It seems to eat people until they emerge on the other side of the wave or hole and keep on paddling. It's just totally impressive!

On Thursday night, June 13, they're showing a series of whitewater films at the Egyptian Theater. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Raffle items will be given away from NRS, Immersion Research, Astral, Dagger Kayak, Werner paddles, GoPro's, and many others. I'm sure the footage will be amazing! 

Speaking of rivers, you might have noticed that river-boating season is upon us! Time to dust off the kayaks, rafts, SUPs, etc., and go paddling! 

The North Fork of the Payette River was running just under 3,000 cfs at Banks on Thursday, so the rapids on the Cabarton section of the North Fork would be really fun right now. There'd be plenty of current to SUP the North Fork from Cascade to Cabarton, and the South Fork and Main Payette are rocking as well! Now that it's getting hot, it's time to hit the rivers! The Salmon River was running 31,000 cfs at Whitebird on Thursday. That'd make for a big ride in Riggins! Here's a link to all Idaho river flows.  

Need info. on Payette River flat-water and whitewater trips? See my guide, Paddling the Payette, which has details descriptions and maps to 24 day trips on the Payette River. 
Tuesday evening in Ponderosa State Park at the top of the Huckleberry Trail.

Osprey Point in Ponderosa State Park is my happy place, overlooking Payette Lake. 
High-country condition report: I spent a few days in McCall this week, and it's absolutely gorgeous in Long Valley right now, with tall green grass flowing in the breeze, flowers popping, and the snow receding in the mountain tops. 

I checked with the Boise, Payette and Sawtooth national forests to get an idea on snow level. I'm hearing snow levels are generally in the 7,000-8,000 range, but in the north slopes and shadows, it would be much lower than that.

  • Low-elevation trails in the McCall area are all in great shape right now, and ripe for the plucking. This includes trails at Ponderosa State Park, Payette Rim Trail, Jug Mountain Ranch and Tamarack. The North Valley Trail is in perfect condition, too. 
  • Brundage Mountain is opening this weekend. There's too much snow at the summit to allow top-to-bottom mountain biking. People will be able to ride both directions on bike trails from the base area, in the meantime. There's a Father's Day Brunch on Sunday. See web site for details. 
  • Some tidbits from the Sawtooth NRA
    • Alice Lake-Toxaway Loop is snowed in. 
    • 4th of July Trailhead is snowed in. 
    • Iron Creek trail may be clear to Alpine Lake, but not Sawtooth. 
    • You can't get to Bridal Veil Falls from Stanley Lake because of a high water creek crossing. 
    • Mosquitoes are reportedly numerous. 
  •  Tidbits from the Payette National Forest - The county plowed the road to Burgdorf, Secesh Meadows and Warren, so that should be open. Lick Creek Summit is still snow-bound. Most high lakes may be snow-bound. Little-used camp sites and campgrounds on the South Fork Salmon River are recommended ... they are lower-elevation.
  • I didn't get any intel from the Boise National Forest, so you might check with a ranger district if you're heading that way. 
Steve talks about his weekly outdoor tip with Ken Bass and Deb Coursen Smith on 94.9 FM The River at approximately 7:40 a.m. on Fridays. 

No comments: