Current Kayakwest News
Dean River 2008
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2008 10:10 Tuesday, 21 October 2008 10:09
It was a serious relief to see the sun in the morning. Unfortunately we got to check out just how flat the first 40 kilometers were. The wind was sweeping up the river and the flow may actually have been going the wrong way from our vantage point. After a quick breakfast and a much slower packing episode we got on to the Dean pond. Surrounded by good friends was the only way to endure the marathon of flat-water paddling and after some good conversation we had finally hit whitewater.
The first drop came in the form of a mine steep mine field of broken basalt that presented no line whatsoever. Deciding that the 100 meter portage was just too long to handle in one day we dropped out boats, unpacked and set up camp. Fire roaring, we feasted on the first of 7 nights freeze dried food. While we were debating which flavors were keepers our gear was being devoured by some sort of small rodent, a mouse, we reckon. Having discovered that the invisible creature had chomped its way through two bivy sacks, one Watershed zipper, and numerous other things we hung all of our gear from a line and headed up the hill to what we hoped was a mouse free zone.
Cruising on Day 2 we hit some more whitewater just above the confluence with Iltasyuko River. Blasting some great grade 4 stretches and a couple of class 5 drops we were finally making good head way. The Dean is a medium volume Creek from the confluence with Iltasyuko River on and it builds at a steady pace as it flows to the ocean. Early in the trip the water is an undrinkable looking brown and grows some kind of crazy foam in a number of different eddies. The whitewater up top is great; made up of lots of good steep drops interspersed with fantastic cruisy grade 4 in amongst basalt canyon walls. Day 2 and 3 were filled with awesome rapids.
As the Dean grows it also mellows. Coming out of a wicked basalt canyon we spotted the ultimate beach camp spot and after not catching any fish proceeded to choke down one more freeze dried meal. In the morning we headed out for some awesome scenery easily enjoyed while drifting the endless grade 2 and 3 whitewater. Down here the Dean is a fishermans paradise. Steelhead is the game and the guides are zipping around everywhere. Yamaha outboard jets pushing cool looking fishing boats are the hot mode of transport around here as the only way to get to the good fishing is by river. In search of whitewater, rather than fishing, we plugged along downstream knowing that the canyon at the end should have just what we were looking for.
After another night out on a beach we finished off the rest of the easy whitewater and arrived at the last canyon. By this point the Dean is a beautiful blue and at least 3 or 4 times the size it was at the beginning of the trip. Roaring into the last granite canyon before the ocean the Dean is a sight to behold. If it wasnt for the massive sieve in the middle of the flow this section of whitewater would be exceptional. We walked the entrance to avoid the sieve and proceeded to pick our way down the class 5 canyon with relative ease.
Passing between the walls of the last canyon we were treated to some hot sunshine and a little more cruisy whitewater before we hit the Dean Channel and prepared to battle black flies and no see-ums at out camp while we waited for our boat back to Bella Coola. A grizzly decided to do a little fishing a hundred meters or so from our camp but took off as soon as we got the cameras out. The Bracho Dos was a luxury ride for us on the Dean, shipping us back to Bella Coola so we could head out the Grande Canyon of the Clore.
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