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The autistic fellow was on the river with us again. He wasn't really paddling with us; he paddles alone. He looks to be in his 40-50's, with a salt and pepper beard and a long brown ducky. He scouts where he likes, talks to no one, and then runs the rapids, generally with good style. He runs his own shuttle. We look out for him when he's around, and so far he has never needed any help. He did splat pretty hard on the rock below the helicopter move at Toby's. We wonder if he'd participate in a rescue if someone else needed help. I theorize that he might come up with a completely independent and original approach. There's no conversing with him, so there's no way to know. I think river running might be an excellent activity for young autists because it engages the part of them that is well developed. The trick would be in inducing enough group behavior to provide a minimum of safety coverage.

We are starting to inch up to running CC in Washington at higher levels. The highest I'd seen it before was the mid 500's. On Saturday we got on it at 597 cfs, and overnight it came up a bit more to 627. The creek necks down to very narrow channels at several places, first at Swizzle Sticks, and significantly at Big Kahuna. On the first day I got a little extra ride in Thrasher, didn't quite clear the hole and got flipped and unintendo'd against the rock wall on the left. On Saturday I had to roll in Swizzle Sticks and got endered above Terminator and at the base of Big Kahuna, where I got a stern squirt across the foam pile and splatted on the left wall at the foot of the drop. Never did that before. I finally had the guts to hit the whoopdiedoo at Boulder Garden on the left with left angle (never have seen anyone do this) and it was clean, and projected me into the eddy between the two drops. Cool!! On Sunday I tried the helicopter move at Toby's for the first time. It was clean at that flow, but having seen it now I will try it at lower water. I am starting to really enjoy Canyon Creek. It feels like the Chattooga to me---clear water, steep drops, lots of eddies... sort of like the Five Falls but it goes on for a few miles. The gradient is 120 feet per mile.

We had a group of six on Saturday, ten on Sunday, all very familiar faces. There as a little action but no swims. I am feeling really comfortable and happy with my boating buddies. They're pleasant, humorous, skilled, reliable, and generally awesome. For a while I couldn't find the strong boaters, but that's because they just don't go to the easier runs. You have to go to the class IV to have a chance of finding them. But what I have found in other places holds true here too; the people who paddle the moderately hard whitewater, but aren't compelled to run the hardest whitewater, are both adventurous and sane, intelligent and open-minded. It's the population in which I have traditionally found most of my friends.

Here's a great writeup about the section of river (with pictures): http://oregonkayaking.net/creeks/canyon_wash/canyon_wash.html

Here's S's writeup of his run at over 900cfs the next day:

FYI I was on CC today during a pretty good spike....thought some of you might be interested. We put on with a flow of around 800 and it rose to the mid to high 900's while we were on it. All in all it was fairly pushy, but manageable. None of the drops were significantly harder and the lines were basically the same, although the push did require commitment in your strokes. Some observations: One person got stopped, surfed, and minorly pummelled in the hole in Swizzle Sticks; Prelude was tricky....the obvious boof was covered and it was more sloping into the hydraulic...no one had trouble but it appeared that it wouldn't take much of an error to cause a problem here; You could get way up on the rock at Thrasher; Boulder was a hoot; Kahuna was very juicy; Hammering Spot was definitely over the main flake...it was fully under water but produced beautiful boofs; Toby's was a bonus...all ran right and that line was great...plenty of water to get up on the boof rock...very fun move.

It was a solid crew, but certainly not all class V rock stars. I feel like our regular crew could have handled it fine.....that said, I am not feeling the need to get in there any higher. Point of interest: Luke ( from Next A) paddled it in a playboat and cleaned it....pretty impressive


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 5th, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
I know that i respond positively to signs of pain in others much more than i respond to signs of excitement or joy. So just because i tend to avoid others does not mean i will necessarily ignore them in times of trouble. Empathy seems to be one of my gifts. There have been times when i was first to respond to apparent trouble or sorrow. But i don't swim so water rescue would probably not be one of them, but in the past not knowing what to do has not stopped me from trying to do something. I can't say whether this is characteristic of autists or just me.
Mar. 5th, 2012 09:06 pm (UTC)
So if you saw someone drowning and had a way to save them, you would do it. I think that most people would, autistic or not. Perhaps psychopaths/sociopaths are the only ones who really don't care.
Mar. 5th, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC)

And yet...there are enough examples of cries for help going unanswered to know that things intervene between stimulus and proper response. The "good Samaritan" parable works because we know two our of three "pass by on the other side of the road."
Mar. 5th, 2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
Hmmm? I don't understand your explanation of why the good Samaritan parable works.
Mar. 5th, 2012 11:53 pm (UTC)
Well, in a truly humane environment, the audience would have said: this is a stupid story. Of course the priest would have stopped to help. Of course, the Levite would have stopped to help. The victim would have been on his way to hospice long before the Samaritan got there!" But in our imperfect world, the story seems true to life
Mar. 6th, 2012 12:55 am (UTC)
Have you seen the movie "Crash"? Speaks to the *otherness* of people and the hostilities that keep people from seeing each other's humanity...
Mar. 6th, 2012 03:03 am (UTC)
Yeah, Crash is one of my all time favorite movies, and it also made me angry and sad. The saddest part and the most compelling was the young white cop giving a ride to the young Black man. The Black man spots the cop's St Christopher statue and begins to laugh (because he also relies on St. Christopher to keep him safe while he high jacks cars--something he has resolved to stop). The cop becomes irritated, then edgy, then afraid, and ends up murdering him and dumping his body by the road where his older cop brother must find him as he investigates. This one image stirs up so many imponderable things to ponder In the meantime the older "racist" partner whose behavior had so disgusted the younger cop (and the movie audience) must rescue the same woman he had earlier harassed and humiliated (and does it in the most tender and compassionate) fashion. All the many lives are woven together in amazing and amusing (and some times horrible) ways,
Mar. 6th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
I remember the scene you describe well. Crash is one of my all time favorite movies as well. I appreciate the way that it shows the sides to a variety of humans, all imperfect, and all just trying to get by in a difficult world. I love the way each and every character is revealed in their weakness/hate and in their glory/compassion. ...
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )



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