This is Part 1 of a Series of posts that introduces the members of the 2007 CKS Squad. Icluded in each section is the squad member’s Bio and a brief photographic Trip Report of their Top 3 days on the river during the 2006 season.
Name: Boyd Ruppelt
Hometown: Lakeland, TN
Currently Resides in: haha…seems like My truck 😉
Work: Kayaker, Student, kayak instruction, etc…
Years Paddling: 14 sweet years of whitewater!!!
Top 3 Rivers: The one I just did, the one I’m on now, and the next one for sure!!
The Perfect Vacation is: Vacation??? wah?!… Well it’d have to involve my girlfriend (Samantha), some waterfalls, and a campfire…
Hobbies other than kayaking: snowboarding, mountainboarding, climbing, caving, etc…anything else outside
Favorite website: www.JacksonKayak.com for the constant content… & Memphis Whitewater! it’s my hometown paddling community!!! 🙂
Recent playlist on my MP3 player: Grits, Rehab, Cunning Linguists, Nelly Furtado, Swollen Members, Akon, Spacehog, and more…
Best day of paddling ever: Can’t pick just one, I live for those days when the apprehension upstream becomes the bliss of success below the last horizon!!!
Top 5 Gear Picks from CKS: Jackson Kayak 2007 Rocker, Stohlquist Freefall Drytop, Stohlquist Wet Dry Gross Bag, Snapdragon Armortex Reinforced skirt with implosion bar, Jackson Happy Seat/Thruster Combo,
CKS Squad Blog Special Series Part 1: Boyd’s Top 3 Days in Colorado
This year I was super privileged to spend a couple weeks in Colorado, shooting video and pictures for Jackson Kayaks. The trip was amazing because it was the first time I was ever able to just take off from Memphis with my girlfriend & photographer & best paddling buddy, Samantha Brunner, and head off across the country in search of new friends, sweet whitewater, and fun video! It was our first road trip together of that magnitude (almost 3 weeks away from the southeast together). We met so many incredible people and found everyone out there to be super friendly, helpful, and down right AMAZING! We met Michael, Brent, & John from Crested Butte, Josh from Gunny, Lawrence, Greg, and Nicole in Salida, and Marty in boulder just to name a few!! We fell in love with several towns along the way, like Crested Butte and Salida, because the people and scenery are just awesome. So when considering our “top 3 whatever” of the 2006 paddling season for CKS, I had to write about Colorado, specifically about my top three days in Colorado last summer.
(photo by: Samantha Brunner)
Since we completely missed the San Juans, we went straight to Crested Butte for Slate, Daisy, and OBJ. After a fun run down Slate to wash away the car lag, we hiked up to check out OBJ. Seeing it for the first time is a pretty incredible feeling; the quality and beauty of the slides and drops on their way down to the Slate blew me away and I instantly fell in love. The gradient and quality is enough to make any first timer feel on top of the world! We were nearly completely alone on my first run down with only a few hikers in sight! It was awesome!
After getting our fill of the Crested Butte Creeks, we got word from our friend Marty Cronin that the gate was going to be opened on Big South. We were told by everyone that it is one of the best creeks in Colorado and that if we have the opportunity to hit it, then we better get over there! I was completely stoked that I would catch this incredible gem within our first couple days in Colorado! We hiked up again with our boats from the OBJ Campground to get a few more runs down OBJ (my truck is light and 2WD) and that night we ate an incredible meal at the Ginger Café in CB. Any one who has eaten there knows 2 things: one; the food there is amazing & two; if you eat at Ginger Café, you’re going to be there a while. So at about 11:00 PM that night we finally left for Big South Campground… big mistake! It took a bit longer than we had heard and I drove ALL night from Crested Butte to Big South and made it to the campground just in time for everyone else to wake up and to get geared up and ready. I never slept that night and had an action packed 12 miles of sweet whitewater in store for me that day. Feeling a bit lop-sided from the lack of sleep and not quite accustomed to the altitude yet, I put on my gear and began to psych myself up for my first run down Big South Creek.
Needless to say, my lines weren’t the best that day, but the creek and my crew were awesome! I spent the whole day feeling a bit off my game, feeling dizzy and lop-sided when I walked to scout something. So my goal for the day was to enjoy the creek and try to make it down without falling asleep in an eddy. 😉
(VIDEO – BIG SOUTH … will be linked soon)
Once at the take-out after an amazing day on Big South, I was ready to do some resting so I took off with Sam for Fort Collins and the first hotel we could find. Relieved to finally be able to rest, we checked into a room only to have the back window of my truck shot out! It’s something I would believe in Memphis, but in Fort Collins?! So instead of getting some good sleep, I got to empty out the back of my truck into our hotel room and clean glass off all our stuff. Broken Glass was everywhere. I finished knocking out the rest of the glass after taking some pictures and put up a hell of a duct tape job over the window. The next morning we found a gas station where we vacuumed out the back and did some more cleaning before heading off to our next adventure.
Later in our trip, we got to spend some time in Salida with Clay. One particular day stands out, my third favorite day in Colorado! We went out to the Salida hole for some mellow, low water surf in the top hole that morning. The water was as beautiful as always with the sun out and a big group around the hole, including the HUGE Experiences crowd. Out of nowhere, the Arkansas River through Salida rose from a low 900 cfs, to a stomping 1800 cfs in just a couple minutes… almost immediately!!! No kidding!!
Clay described it best:
“In minutes – no more ‘watch the rocks’ and hello blunts and pistol-flip style Mcnasty’s! But then some sticks come through. Then some logs. And within 15 minutes the entire surface of the water is covered with pine straw and sticks and the hole is a frothing mass of black and brown debris. We’ve got scouters on the bank yelling which side the next log is coming down on and the whole line just keeps taking rides. Now someone comes up with a stick through their PFD. Now somebody takes a log to the helmet. Occasional break as a 10’+ tree or 4′ diameter stump comes through. And within 30 minutes the water starts to drop again.”
(photo by: Samantha Brunner)
I couldn’t have said it better myself. The flow almost instantly doubled from a rain storm upstream and the locals could even tell which creeks were flooding and in what order by the way the water changed color with each one. I’ve never had a surf session in such a high quality hole before, where the water level instantly doubled in CFS like that. It was an amazing experience and one of my favorite days of surfing yet! It was like looping and cartwheeling in an Oreo blast or chunky chocolate milk! It was disgusting, but fun! Those were definitely some of my favorite days of the season and all on one trip to Colorado!