Shit has been on fire. Excuse my language here but it’s been crazy. Crazy hot, crazy smokey and my local canyon was on fire for about a month. I was camping with the family when lighting struck a nearby ridge and next thing you know the blazing sun is red behind a thick veil of smoke and we’re getting evacuated! It felt like a swirling plume of doom was rolling in to suffocate the life out of us. I had to escape. As timing would have it I had a trip to the whitewater state already planned. Idaho sounded like a damn pleasure compared to the taste of ash in my mouth.
Then my Secesh/South Salmon combo partner bailed and with the short window, which was going to require thru the night drives on both ends of the trip, I had to look at some other options since I was now going to be rolling solo. Montana seemed like a fine substitute and Casper Mike confirmed Big Timber would be in.
I have to admit I was a little skeptical. I pretty much started kayaking when Twitch and then the first Teton Gravity Movie, Nurpu came out, and Big Timber was all over those films. At first it was something I wasn’t sure I’d ever be into running but shortly became something I’d aspire to. And then a funny thing happened on the way to the ball. Slides became, well, whack. There was a period in my paddling career where low-volume waterfalls were about the greatest thing I could imagine but lately I’ve been craving big deep water and long thick paddle strokes. I was just questioning the wisdom of driving 9-10 hours to slide down some shit with nary a completely submerged stroke.
Then again, the smoke in town was semi-unbearable and I already had the hall pass. I looked up some other runs in the area and there was the prospect of getting on at least a couple new runs so finally, at the last minute, I committed to the rally and started driving north.
Casper was of course ecstatic and said he would a rally a crew for the morning. When I got there it was just me, for awhile, but eventually in rolled Casper, also by himself. A two-man crew proved to be fine and the little creek proved itself to be everything it’s cracked up to be. Over three days we got in two laps and a nice run down the Hells Canyon and Bible Stretch of the Boulder River in between. Casper even managed to rally a third partner in crime for our second lap on Big T so we got to share in the joy!
The mythical Pinch slide turned out to be bumpy on the first round but a spiritual experience on our second lap with better flows. Launching and sliding intermittently down the whitewater greased bedrock, careening towards a curler filled four foot wide gap, my steely look of determination transformed into a guarded smile. I was going to make it to the Pinch facing forward and upright. I ducked the curler closed my eyes and skipped into the pool below. It was a certain moment of counting my blessings. I had a second moment of counting my blessings rolling up at the bottom of the big falls… after taking it switch by accident. What a sick run and sick place. Them Crazy Mountains be the stuff of legends. Check the Big Timber video by Casper below, an excerpt from his series The Schmitt Chronicles.