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After a summer of some great entry-level whitewater kayaking on Split Rock Creek, I’ve decided my next boat purchase will be a true whitewater craft. I realize this is a little silly, considering I live in the prairie and with the exception of SRC, there isn’t any whitewater around here, but it’s something I want to learn more about and am willing to travel to do so.  I figure I can turn any future whitewater trips into bigger getaway weekends with the family.  A win-win for everyone, right? 🙂

I think I’ve identified myself as a river running kayaker. I enjoy the thrill of rapids, but also enjoy traveling from point A to point B, stopping for the occasional play spot. With that in mind, it seems like I need a good all-around boat and all of my research keeps pointing back to one particular kayak: the Pyranha Ammo.

However, there are a million options out there. It’s almost overwhelming. If anyone has recommendations or ideas, I’d love to hear them! While I wish I could buy one tomorrow, I probably won’t be pulling the trigger until next year.

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The area where I live has experienced a lot of rainfall recently and local rivers and creeks are very high. One favorite hot spot is Split Rock Creek, a little-known kayaking gem that offers great beginner whitewater paddling when conditions are right—usually class II – II+ (III)—and typically runs at or below 500 cfs (give or take a few).  The recent flooding has pushed it to over 4,500 cfs (that’s nearly 10.5′).

Split Rock Creek Discharge, cubic feet per second, July 2011

Paddlers familiar with this creek get pretty big smiles on their faces when the water reaches these levels, but novice paddlers should take extreme caution.  These levels can toss your boat with ease and there are a lot of dangers that, if you don’t know exist, may put you in serious trouble especially if you aren’t wearing a helmet or spray skirt.

If you ever have the chance to paddle this stretch of river, please go with someone who has paddled it before.  It could literally save your life.

I took my family on a little hike at Palisades State Park this weekend. We had a blast. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my kayak along because with the recent rain and heavy snowfall to the north of us, Split Rock Creek is running a little high. As a result, there is some fantastic water flowing through the Palisades right now. I’m trying to figure out when I’ll be able to get up there and run the rapids before the water levels subside. I also made the mistake of not bringing my camera, so I have no pictures to share.

If anyone has time to slip up to Garretson, for a rendezvous with the rapids, I highly recommend it!

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