Sunday, September 9, 2012

Stuck in a hole… September 8, 2012

I guess it had to happen eventually, and when it did, I didn’t even realize what was going on.

We did our annual RICKA Flatwater/Whitewater trip yesterday on the Fife Brook Section of the Deerfield. Release was at a nice level - 1,100 cfs.  Most of the flatwater paddlers portaged Zoar Gap, but a few of the whitewater paddlers decided to run it. I got video of everyone else coming through, and then went up for my run. My plan was to hug the right side, but as usual, I got pushed to far left and swamped in the big hole at the bottom.

I ended up in the water and remember thinking that I was staying underwater for a long time. Usually I pop right up. After a couple of seconds I hit bottom which was really weird – that never happens. I pushed off the bottom (whacking my knee in the process) and tried to swim back up. It took a couple of seconds, but eventually I broke the surface. My boat was right there, so I grabbed on and started kicking hard toward the nearest eddy.

I thought it was odd at the time, but it wasn’t until after we finished the trip that Andy (who happened to be sitting nearby) explained what probably happened – I got sucked under in the hole. Thinking about it, it’s the only explanation that makes sense for why I remained underwater so long and went down so deep. Fortunately, it wasn't a keeper, so I just continued downstream. I would have been in big trouble if I got sucked down again without big breath of air. Yikes – that’s a scary thought.

Here's my video of the rest of the RICKA crew:


Running Zoar Gap from Erik Eckilson on Vimeo.

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