Outdoors

Paddlers put odds in their favor BEFORE dumping on Hangman Creek

Dan Hansen and  Therese Wittman were glad there was a an air bladder in the canoe when they tipped over while surfing a wave on Hangman Creek. The air bag helped keep the boat on top of the water and easy to work it to shore. (Julie Titone)
Dan Hansen and Therese Wittman were glad there was a an air bladder in the canoe when they tipped over while surfing a wave on Hangman Creek. The air bag helped keep the boat on top of the water and easy to work it to shore. (Julie Titone)

CANOEING — Despite the bad news recently about paddlers on the area's swollen waters, some canoeists and kayakers are enjoying the season safely.

Going with a group of people with comparable skills, knowing the weather forecast and having the right gear on your body and in the canoe or kayak can make a big difference.

A Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club group was on Hangman Creek Saturday after the river had come down from veryhigh flows the previous week. While rafters like higher flows in the upper river for their thrills, canoests generally look for flows in the neighborhood of 1200 cfs to avoid too much big water and still have enough to float without banging their boats on rocks.

“Saturday's flow was900-940 cfs, which was nice for our group,” said Dan Hansen.

“We ran into a kayaker who mentioned he would have liked bigger waves. I think it could have dropped another 100 cfs or so, and we still would have been happy.

“As it was, (Therese Wittman and I) took on a lot of water at the Big Rock Wave (in Vinegar Flats), bailed out the water, then went back to surf… that’s when we dumped my Dagger Legend.

“Luckily, I had bought a wetsuit … the day before our outing… the best $37 I’ve ever invested.

“I was also glad that I had an air bladder in the canoe (to make it easy to swim the boat to shore).”




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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