Preparing For Costa Rica

On Wed 12/5 I noticed The Slippery Rock River had just enough water to run and rain was in the forecast. Sunday’s weather was predicted to be in the high 50’s and 0% of precipitation. I contacted Greg Dickson to see if he was up for paddling. We agreed to keep a watch on the conditions. By Saturday the forecast for Sunday called for 70% chance of rain and a high of 46 degrees. I emailed Greg the latest forecast hoping to dissuade him. He replied with an 11:00 AM put on time.

Greg apparently didn’t understand it would be much warmer in Costa Rica than the conditions we would experience. We meet at 11:00. It was 42 degrees and the river was running just over a foot when we put on. We happened across two open canoers and paddled along with them. Greg flipped and rolled twice in the first rapid, and one of the canoers flipped and swam in the second rapid. This was going to be an interesting trip. Before we finished the top two sections, Greg flipped and rolled a total of 4 times and one of the canoers swam 5 times. It felt like the good old times running the river with my old pals Bill and Kim in their open canoes.

The best swim came at triple drop where one of the canoers flipped and swam on the approach to the first drop and proceeded to swim through the first and second drops where he managed to eddy out river left sans his canoe. Greg and I waited in an eddy just below the second drop to pick up pieces. The other canoer managed to get the flipped boat over to the river left eddy just below the first drop, but there was no place for the soggy canoer to get back in. Both the canoes were equipped with electric bilge pumps so it was very easy to bail the water out. Emptied of water the canoe was pushed out to run the second drop on its’ own and ran it upright and dry. I was able to bump and shove it to the eddy on river left were paddler and canoe were reunited.

The canoers took out at Eckert Bridge starting the lower section.  Greg and I picked up a kayaker who had never been on the Slippery Rock yet.  He had taken some lessons, and paddled the middle Yough. It must have been the my white beard that led him to believe I was sage experienced boater he could trust to lead him down the river :).  He did well flipping 4 times swimming 3 and making his first combat roll.  All in all it was a grand day on the crick even if it was raining and 45 degrees when we took off. Good training for Costa Rica.


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