Like a junky needing a fix and desperate for a source, I left a message on Timmy J's voicemail Friday afternoon:
"Timmy, do you know any kayakers who'd be up for Upper Willow tomorrow?"
Luc and Toby were interested if I could get more merriment in the form of more boaters. On the phone I told Thai that it was the best boating I'd done all summer, like the way Ship Creek used to feel back in the days before everyone knew that packrafts are real boats, and that he'd love the low flows and pool drops.
"OK, I'm in. Text me when and where."
Then I called Brad M, JT L and Joe McLaughlin, striking out with all three.
But Timmy came through, surprisingly passing up on the weekend's massive flows on Six Mile that the hard shell boaters were hitting again. Paul Schauer loaned him his 2011 red Llama.
So with Luc, Thai, and Timmy, two cameras, warm fall weather, around 225 cfs in Upper Willow and a little video from last Tuesday's romp on that creek with Tim, Trip, Johhny C, Matt P, and Bo I put this together -- it's worth watching twice to see Luc's combat roll and Thai's boof without thigh straps, as well as a real boater putting a red-colored, thigh-strapped 2011 Llama to the test.
After the run we did (only as far as just above Triple Drop), Timmy said, "You know, these new boats are awesome. So stable and fast. Harder to get airborne on a boof, but so nice on the landings. I'd leave my kayak behind and just take one of these to New Zealand. And putting a slab of minicell foam under the seat worked really well, you should try it."
So there you have it: packraft advice from a real boater.