Don't Try This: Kayaking Waterfalls in Humboldt

When Salmon Creek Community School hired Ben York as the teacher last year, no one knew he was crazy.  He seemed sane. Look at the picture above.  He looks like a nice, intelligent guy but today he and three friends carried kayaks through our woods and down the steep hill.

There they scoped out the action (go below the fold for the tale of Banzai Ben and his Crazy Compadres.)

They climbed onto the hills overlooking the approximately 50 foot drop between the first fall and the last.

Planning to survive took time and looking at the Falls from different angles.

Then David Ernst, a professional kayaker from Germany plunged over the first and second and third falls without me managing any decent shots.  Below you can see him taking the approximately 25 drop into the final pool.  How does he stay alive through these perilous plunges? “Ernst told me, “You don’t think or feel.  You don’t pay attention to what is going on around you.  You FOCUS!”

Ben came next.  The first hole is the worst. It could swallow the unprepared.  Most of the water goes under the rock but boats, of course, need to go over.

Those falls are wild!

Here comes Dan Menten who, according to Ben, was an Olympian at slalom boating.

He drops off the first fall.

Attacks the second.

And heads for the third!

And he makes it.

Here in the heart of Salmon Creek, even crazy kayakers survive to be crazy another day.   Thank God as we still need Ben to teach our kids on Monday.

Not shown was John Warner who along with the rest completed the creek run down to about two miles from where Salmon Creek meets the Eel.

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18 comments

  • Years ago some outlaw kayakers raised the ire of folks on the South Fork of Salmon Creek by parking in someone’s front yard and running the creek. They found some unhappy residents when they came back for their truck. They called the run “the Munchkin”.
    That run is amazing and you got some great pictures.

  • Years ago some outlaw kayakers raised the ire of folks on the South Fork of Salmon Creek by parking in someone’s front yard and running the creek. They found some unhappy residents when they came back for their truck. They called the run “the Munchkin”.
    That run is amazing and you got some great pictures.

  • Wow! I will have to call him “Mr. York” after this. Call it crazy, but the will and skill required for this speak of a different kind of intelligence than most of us can access. This is a real-life physics problem with real-life consequences riding on the right solution. A+, gentlemen (and great assignment, Kym!).

  • Wow! I will have to call him “Mr. York” after this. Call it crazy, but the will and skill required for this speak of a different kind of intelligence than most of us can access. This is a real-life physics problem with real-life consequences riding on the right solution. A+, gentlemen (and great assignment, Kym!).

  • Good shooting Kym!

  • Good shooting Kym!

  • Sydney Setterlund

    What a fine photo-story! Great work with the camera, Kym. You’ve got a fast eye and a quick trigger-finger!

  • Sydney Setterlund

    What a fine photo-story! Great work with the camera, Kym. You’ve got a fast eye and a quick trigger-finger!

  • Great pics Kym, and I agree…crazy! That water has some tremendous force, the slightest mistake could have you pinned against a rock or under. Kudos to those guys. And nice hole at the bottom. You are lucky to live where you do.

  • Great pics Kym, and I agree…crazy! That water has some tremendous force, the slightest mistake could have you pinned against a rock or under. Kudos to those guys. And nice hole at the bottom. You are lucky to live where you do.

  • Fricken Awesome….

  • Fricken Awesome….

  • That is the sort of insanity I approve of – WHEEEEEEEEEE

  • That is the sort of insanity I approve of – WHEEEEEEEEEE

  • I never was an Olympian, but when I was about 15 I sure wanted to be!
    Started kayaking at age 11, don’t be afraid to let your kids kayak too!
    Dan

  • I never was an Olympian, but when I was about 15 I sure wanted to be!
    Started kayaking at age 11, don’t be afraid to let your kids kayak too!
    Dan

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