Slave Episode 8: Pelican Rapids

In the week following the Paddlefest a group of youngsters out of Jasper stayed on with their “coach” Sean Allen and they wanted to paddle the Pelican Rapids with Leif and Natalie. So we set out to run a few lines at the Pelican Rapids and a few more different lines at the Mountain Portage Rapids. The Pelican Rapids lie between the Cassette and the Mountain Portage Rapids. With a „small“ amount of flatwater paddling one can do Pelican and Mountain as a one day paddletrip. The Pelican Rapids have their putin a fair bit downstream of the main rapid, which means we had to paddle upstream near the shore for around 40 minutes. Now it made sense why Leif and Natalie took the Dynamic Duo (double kayak of Jackson Kayak) on that day, as they were much faster than everybody else in their playboats. As we got to the main rapids, which are located in the middle of the river, we scouted them from the left shore and they looked really mighty! Of the four youngsters just Zac feels like paddling them and the others start with Maria and Sascia to run some sidelines and cross the river below the main rapids, which is still quite intimidating with big whirlpools forming up and making the ferry a most exhilarating and exhausting job. Leif and Natalie lead the line on the main rapid, Zac follows and I went last. In one word, huge! And so much fun! You make a hard ferry out of the eddy above the rapid and paddle hard right and as you come down the main ramp you paddle towards a huge diagonal breaking wave which has the height of a two storey building. As you paddle out of the eddy you go hard right so you avoid the island on the left to which the main current pushes. As I get out of the ferry into the main current I see Zac getting quite close to the island and paddling like a maniac to get more towards the middle. So the distance between us is much smaller than we started and I get down the main ramp quite close behind him and I see him entering the diagonal wave rather left where it breaks most violently and pushes hard into the middle. So I saw him doing a massive unintentional kickflip and while doing it getting pushed to the middle where I was coming down, but luckily we still stayed 1 or 2 meters apart and had enough room to enjoy the coming thundering waves and whirlpools. After that excitement we run a few different mellow creek lines in some side-channels, before heading to the Mountain Portage Rapids, where we paddle down English Channel, which is really great fun.

Celebrating after the fun descent:

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