Tulameen River- Canyon Run – June 28, 2020
The “Canyon Run” on the Tulameen River is an exciting white water run and this year was no exception. the water was moving quickly and a bit “pushier” than usual. It is a solid grade 2 to 2+ run with a couple features that could be classed higher. The weather was mixed with blue skies appearing between occasional showers. There were a large number of paddlers interested in this run so we split into three groups; our group had 15 people in 9 solo boats as well as 3 tandems and was led by Carey R. We put in at Lawless Creek around 10 am and paddled to the campsite in Coalmont which took about 5 hours including breaks.
This run starts off quickly with the canyon portion appearing within the first 3 to 5 minutes. Less experienced white water paddlers (like me) don’t get a lot of time to get set for this first feature so getting up to speed quickly is necessary. Right now there are 3 other features to be ready for on this run. As we made our way down the mostly grade 2 river the next feature was the “mystery drop”. This is a small narrow rock-walled channel about 4 meters wide and 80 meters long running through rock trough about 4 meters at its deepest. It gets its nick name because water levels can significantly impact the flows though the channel so it must be scouted before entering. On this day the water was high and very turbulent so it was not considered a safe route, instead we ate lunch there and watched as Paddy L threw logs in the water at the top of the run and the logs crashed around through the drops on the way by. It was a good way to get an idea of the hydraulics occurring in the holes below the drops.
After lunch we continued down the river and approached the ledge, most were able to get into the clear line by though we did have one paddler head down the middle. I noticed him over my right shoulder sitting on top of a large standing wave sideways. For a split second I thought it was someone hamming it up in the big water until I glanced back and saw the bottom of the boat, gladly the rescue team was in place and had him back in his boat before the approaching drop. The last main feature is a short steep drop with a large rock in the center, going river right with a hard left turn after gets you in to the large eddy with the waiting entourage of rescuers ready to collect any swimming paddlers coming out of the run. My day was entirely focused on easy lines and staying upright but there were a few swimmers. They were however, mostly by those more skilled paddlers advancing their skills with more difficult manoeuvres.
It was an excellent trip and a lot of fun, many thanks to the rescuers on the trip and the Carey for leading it, can’t wait to do this one again.