As a young kid I watched the Triple Crown and Aerated to enter this canyon. As I grew into a teenager the ever so infamous LVM crew found their way up to Hi-way 37 to document this amazing river...The Stikine River lies eerily tranquil in the middle of nowhere British Columbia, where there is only a two lane road, a steel bridge, and a small yellow sign...
The first time I had the opportunity to paddle this section I was only 19 -> G.C.S.R. WRITEUP
As a young teenage paddler this descent was a massive accomplishment and definite milestone in my paddling career. It was kind of the turning point from where I became more than just another young hucker...back then I used to take a lot of heat on my blog for just sending stouts, out of control, not working, and the old monetary question..."how did you get your money?". Which I am still asked on a daily basis. And all I still have to say to all those people who ever questioned it is..."If you want it bad enough, trust me you'll find a way!"
Finally returning to the Northlands of deepest darkest British Columbia 4 years later...I was astounded at how surreal it felt to come back. There literally is only a road, a bridge, a sign, and a river...
This time around I was leading the group not following. It was a totally different vibe in there. I remembered most the rapids and sent quite a few huge horizons on memory from years prior.
"This place is soooooo bad ass!" I remember myself thinking that thought about a million times a day out there.
The canyon itself is a spectacle of the wicked power of water and what's beyond the canyon rim is the vast emptiness of the BC-AK borderlands. When you are tucked away in the canyon focusing on the whitewater and tasks at hand you sometimes forget that there is truly nothing out there. If you don't think about it all is well...but when you do the feeling of loneliness and true nature of the river seeps in to your soul.
I am vastly a better kayaker than I was when I first paddled the river in 2008. On my first trip I still only flipped two times, but that was enough. Once in a random rapid on day 1...(where benny got a savage beat down on this trip due to a last minute "leader" choice to go left, not right) and the other time was a terrifying roll during the hairy ferry at the bottom of Site Zed, not a fun place to be upside down! hahaha
This trip the level was very similar, a bit lower I think, and I just felt right in my kayak. My balance was spot on and I felt flexible and strong out there. I had a few very close calls, but I got my golden egg on the Stikine River...if you don't know what that means, I don't blame you, it's an old WCKA thing we did while running rivers! Everything clicked out there...We had a big and very young crew of kayakers out there (ages 23, 25, 20, 20, 21, 23, & 29) It was cool to be on the river with a fired up and solid group of people who truly enjoyed and understood what it meant to be in that canyon. Whitewater history was made on our descent as Ben Marr became the first person to run the entire river without a portage. On the float out we all decided that V-drive was our favorite rapid and everyone also stated that it was the greatest river trip of their lives...that my friends is a huge claim.
I really focused on understanding the river and remaining in the moment in while in one of the greatest most beautiful canyons on planet earth. It's hard to write words and state what goes through your mind out there after a successful descent, floating the 10-20 miles of flat water after the canyon opens up...but a man I have looked up to for a long time said it well...
"Nothing has changed, but everything is different." -Willie Kern
Here is out crew hanging at the Stewart Cassiar Hi-way sign!
The Put-in for the Grand Canyon of the Stikine.
Erik and Fred committing to the Wason's Hole gorge.
Erik and Fred looking at Site Zed...
Fred Bomb Flowing whilst in the Stikine.
Baby Bird getting very substantial.
Gorgeous place...looking up at Scissors and Wall II.
Myself and Benny dropping into Pass Fail.
A pass and a fail!
The boys dropping into "The Wall".
The Fat Chief!!!!!!
Camping under the stars on night 2.
The crew stoked to be alive after Tanzilla Slot!
Reflecting during the float to the takeout after the canyon breaks up.
Can't wait to go back!