Please come back tomorrow and vote again
Up The Staircase
After taking a short break on the beach at Banks, BWC owner Chris Bohnenkamp invited me and other members of the group for a run aboard his twin-engine 26-footer on a particularly treacherous stretch on the middle fork of the Payette known as the Staircase. Adam Jacobs joined us in his new 20-footer.
Passing under the Highway 55 bridge, I quickly realized that this run would render everything I had experienced earlier mild by comparison. I could literally feel the rumbling violence ahead.
As we accelerated into the maelstrom, Bohnenkamp expertly danced through holes and rollers, deftly sidestepping each barking beast. He buried the bow twice and landed with bone-jarring thuds too many times for me to remember, but finally found safety in a deep, roiling pool shaded by immense pine trees at the top of the Staircase. Jacobs followed our path and was soon alongside.
Well, at least the downriver run will be easier, I thought. Think again. “Now comes the hard part,” Bohnenkamp announced with a tinge of bravado. “Hold on tight; it could get rough.” Uh oh.
I soon realized why running downriver was worse. It’s a much steeper descent down the face of each wave, and so it’s like going over a waterfall. And you possess less steering control because you’re going with the current.
Bohnenkamp did his best to jog around the troughs and boulders but got in a jam once, forcing himself to launch off the crest of a wave. We shot airborne, submarining on the other side. Bodies went flying. Though shaken, thankfully no one was hurt and the boat survived the Staircase unscathed.
Jacobs’ boat, on the other hand, suffered a hit. A barking rock nipped at the stern, bending one of the support struts for the swim platform. The captain took it in stride. “Dings are inevitable when you’re doing this,” he said. “At least it didn’t hit the jet drive.”