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Fifty in fifty—Gelczis completes kayaking quest

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Turning fifty years of age is a milestone to be celebrated. And if you are a kayaker, what better way to crown the life landmark than by kayaking? Such was the rationale of my love, Lisa Gelczis, who announced in 2010 that her 50thyear would be observed by paddling 50 different river runs.

Restonica - run#25

So, the year 2011 saw Gelczis, with two newly repaired shoulders, hitting the water early and often. The first run of the quest came on January 17thon tiny, previously unexplored Griffin Creek in California, which provided way more excitement than anticipated (see “Whitewater Follies” at the bottom of this blog).

Utah's Virgin River - run#18

Her final foray was held on our local Arizona paradise—Fossil Creek—on December 30th. That’s right, number fifty was notched with a whole day to spare. In between there were trips to Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and Corsica.

Idaho's Middle Fork of the Payette - run#35

She paddled in every month except September, on flows ranging from 50 cubic feet per second to 25,000.

California's Mill Creek - run#3

The mellowest water came on the tidal flats of California’s Mad River, the gnarliest—Corsica’s Upper Rizzanese. This was one of ten class V rivers on the list. For the record, thirteen of the runs were class IV, seventeen were class III, and ten were class I or II.

Arizona's East Clear Creek - run#15

Some runs were barely a mile in length. Others, like the Colorado River’s Diamond Down, were almost 60 miles. Lisa also ran the Main Salmon and Grand Canyon during the year, but these were not tallied in the total because both were rowed in rafts, not paddled by kayak.

The Local - Oak Creek - run#9

Fifty in fifty—a goal reached, an adventure had, a life lived. And a good time had by all.


Griffin Creek                                                      CA

Running the Stomp - Upper Rizzanese - Corsica - run#26

Middle Fk. Smith                                              CA

Mill Creek                                                           CA

Mad River                                                           CA

North Fk. Smith                                                 CA

Redwood Creek                                                  CA

New River                                                            CA

Trinity River                                                        CA

Oak Creek (Indian Gardens)                        AZ

Verde River (Beasley to Gap)                       AZ

Oak Creek (Lomacasi to Sedona)                 AZ

Beaver Creek                                                     AZ

Oak Creek (Cornville)                                     AZ

Oak Creek (Sedona to Red Rock)                  AZ

East Clear Creek                                                AZ

Floating the scenic - Colorado River - run#42

Chevelon Creek (Gods Pocket)                       AZ

Chevelon Creek (Lower)                                  AZ

Virgin River (Staircase)                          UT

Virgin River (Hurricane)                        UT

Tavignano River                                               Corsica

Fium Orbo                                                         Corsica

Travo River                                                        Corsica

Fium Orbo (Middle)                                        Corsica

Tavignano (Upper)                                           Corsica

Restonica                                                            Corsica

Rizzanese (Upper)                                            Corsica

Virgin River (Springdale)                          UT

Only in Corsica - Tavignano River - run#20

Virgin River (Temple of Sinawava)         UT

Colorado River (Diamond Down)              AZ

Mammoth Creek                                         UT

Sevier River                                                  UT

Muddy Creek                                                UT

Cottonwood Creek                                       UT

So. Fork Payette                                         ID

M.F. Payette                                                ID

Little Salmon                                              ID

Taylor River                                                  CO

Arkansas River (Numbers)                        CO

Arkansas River (Fractions)                        CO

Salt River (Lower)                                    AZ

San Juan River                                               UT

The Numbers - Arkansas River - run#38

Colorado River (Moab daily)                       UT

Colorado River (Westwater)                        UT

Gauley River                                                       WV

New River                                                            WV

Tonto Creek                                               AZ

Salt River (Daily)                                      AZ

Verde River (White Br. to Beasley)       AZ

Verde River (Gap to Childs)                    AZ

Fossil Creek                                                AZ

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