Hi Lee- Here are a few pictures (above & below) from my recent paddling trip. I floated a 66 mile section of the Wallowa and Grande Ronde rivers in northeast Oregon with my AIRE Force Expedition starting on April 30th with a flow of around 4,500 cfs. This is a medium-high flow and the river was moving at 5-6 mph. I had a fun three day trip with warm weather and great camping, scenery and wildlife!
The Force Expedition kayak has proven to be a capable, tough and maneuverable boat even when loaded down with my camping gear, food and water. I’ve been using a large mesh duffle in the stern to hold my water, food, repair kit, foot pump, etc. Then I lash an aluminum pack frame on top which holds the duffle in and provides a good platform for lashing on the dry bags containing the camping gear. The pack frame can also be used to carry the folded up boat.
The only problem I’ve had are with the foot pegs moving when I don’t want them to (using the dry bag in the bow as a foot rest works well though so I don’t really need the foot pegs, at least on camping trips). I have tried (unsuccessfully) rolling the kayak but find it much harder to roll than my old Perception Pirouette. I have been able to flip the boat upright and get back in fairly quickly after getting dumped. Also found that I can even stand up in the boat to get a better view of the upcoming rapids (don’t try that in a hardshell boat!). The boat’s relatively low profile (at least compared to a raft) helps when paddling into a headwind. I also recently ran the 46 mile section of the main stem Eel from Dos Rios to Alderpoint in 3 days starting on May 12 with a flow of around 1,000 cfs. At this low flow there was a lot of paddling into headwinds (the boat’s relatively low profile helped here) and some dragging the boat in shallow spots but on the plus side, the river was warm enough for some great swimming. So far, I’ve used the boat on up to class IV day trips and up to class III camping trips and am very happy with the performance. Thanks for all the great advice and support.
(….and some more from Will-)
Here are a couple of other pictures from my trip. These are from “Tumbleweed” on the Alberton clarkfork rapidGorge section of the Clark Fork in Montana. clarkfork drop
(By TBP – Will Pederson uses his boat for extended trips on a number of wilderness whitewater runs, as well as some day trips. Will is well over six feet tall yet he seems to have no trouble packing plenty of gear. If you pack your drybags up as high as the one behind his back, it’s best to put only light items inside in order to not throw off your center of gravity. Following are some photos and comments from him, and we agree with his assesment of the foot pegs in our AIRE Force Expediton model, which is why we didn’t have them installed on out last batch. We also think they are in the way on this model when you’re trying to straighten your legs to get out of the thightstraps- )
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