Monday, April 12, 2010

Knoxville Low Water Staples

Every year as the water of the spring time starts to run dry, we find ourselves returning to our staples in the sunshine and warm weather. Around Knoxville, we have three rivers which tend to hold water a little better than the rest: the Big South Fork of the Cumberland, the Little River, and the Tellico River. Fortunately for us, all happen to be beautiful and hold some satisfying whitewater, while being within close distance from town. Enough with the writing, here are some photos that should explain it better than I could ever hope to...

Karl Whipp from high up above. Photo JJ

Tom Rannells dwarfed by BSF canyon cliffs. Photo JJ

BSF Scale. Photo JJ

Smokin' Steve starting the day off right on the Little. Photo JJ.

Steve aka Charley groovin into silver diner. Photo JJ

Karl Whipp cleaning up eddy out. Photo JJ.

Tunnel in its pre-log state. Now much sketchier due to new wood. Photo JJ

The defining stroke of the Tellico. Photo JJ

Or plug if you prefer, like Jonathon Markham. Photo JJ

Smokin' Steve through the trees. Photo JJ

Springtime in the gorge below Bounce Off Boulder. Photo JJ

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring Break Cali Style Part 2

After park and hucking indian creek we departed on the long journey south to the Kaweah, only Matt had been there before so we were all excited to get on some new runs and enjoy the warmer temps down south.

Peter showing us how to beat up the beat while Brain and Christian shotgun some beers at a pullout overlooking lake oroville

We didn't end getting down to the Kaweah until late that night due to stoping at the In-and-Out (greatest fast food ever) and taking way to long to shop for supplies at the grocery store. When we got up it was apparent that Peter had a serious case of poison oak from feather country. So as he went into town to find a doctor the rest of us decided that Christian and I would go a check out hospital rock while Brian and Matt would do the park boundary run.

This is after a day of drugs and his face was still swollen the first day his eye was almost swollen shut.

Me and Christian had a great hospital rock run, getting to the takeout in a few hours and grinning from ear to ear, we waited for Matt to come and meet us for a second lap as Brian sat out do to a swim on the lower run. Once you know the run you can bomb it pretty quickly, and get lots of laps in, how much fun can you take?

We start puting in right above little niagara the first few days not realizing we could get another sweet drop right upstream. Little niagara is a sick drop with a squirly entrance that I missed up the first time and ended up rolling up at the lip and going super deep, I rolled up at the bottom glad to not be in the cave. After that i gave this drop way more focus and had fun lines every other time.

Me stomping little niagara

Christian boofing
After a few more fun slides there is a sick triple drop that offers a ton of different entry lines, i liked boofing the center and driving up over the huge boil, the second drop is just a small hole and the third drop a sweet little boof.

Christian dropping into the first ledge of a triple drop just downstream of the getin

And boofing the final ledge of the triple set

After some more sick read and run fun, you come to the 420 gorge that is worth a scout, the entrance to the gorge is a sick boulder garden affair with two stellar boofs. The crux of the short gorge is a drop in the middle that wants to push you into a pocket on the river right so a strong boof with downstream angle is ideal.
Peter about to find the deep water, he got pushed into the pocket but kept his shit together and made it out.

Christ-Ian showing the ideal line

Some more fun rapids lead lo a tight pinch drop that looks ugly but goes great, our first time down Christian routed me into in and boy was it an exciting ride.
Ginger Matt trying to wash the freckles off

N. Abrams bracing his way through the bottom

That drop leads into a short gorge with a fun 10-15 foot drop that was the sitye of a scary swim in our group when one of our party almost swam the drop but Christ-Ian used the grab that bitch technique to perfection to get Matt out of the water at the last second. Pretty soon your at one of the best boofs on the run, a straight 8-10 footer that is too much fun.

Matt about to air it out

After this there is a shitty dam drop and then you are at zero to sixty, the biggest drop on the normal hospital rock run. I had been walking it until nathan showed me how smooth the line was and it goes a lot better than it looks, but has a easy walk on the left.

Nathan showing us how it is done

Nick getting a good stroke in coming over the main drop

Me holding the left angle after plugging, glad to not be in the cave as Christian looks on

Over the next several days we stayed around hospital rock doing laps until out friends Nick Abrams and Nathan Hunkapiller showed up and Peter, brian and Matt had to take off due to other plans. We then decided to do the east fork of the Kaweah run since we had a great guide in Nathan to show us the lines, this run would take a long time to do without a guide, it took us hours with a great guide. I was a bit nervous going into the east fork not knowing what to expect but knowing it was locked in, but once getting in there most of the drops are tight bouldery affairs with some mank in between to keep us colorado boys happy. There were a few portages that having nathan along helped out a lot on, including the triple drop portage that nathan actually ran but helped us portage. I was close to running it but psyched myself out after looking at the lip for to long but as always the drop will be there another day.

Nathan Firing
After triple drop there was some more mank thrown in until we came to another portage that we ate lunch at the bottom of excited as nathan said we were getting to some fun ones.

A purty meadow during the portage, me being allergic to bees I was glad that it was early in the year and they weren't to many around

Nathan was right after lunch things started picking up with many fun drops and cool min gorges with every kind of drop imaginable from falls to sildes and even some boulder drops thrown in.

Christian on a fun one below lunch

Nathan said this is a fun one to just not look at lets just bomb and we did

Overall I thought the east Kaweah was a sick run with a lot of sweet drops and some good adventure thrown in , but I would not call it as classic as hospital rock because it have too much mank and bullshit thrown in. Some of that might be due to the fact that we had a med-low level (800 at 3 rivers), I would like to see it with more water which would make triple drop marginal at best and make some sticky holes in there but the mank would be reduced.

Happy to have completed the east fork we chilled out that evening in 3 rivers and had a feast at a local watering hole. We decided the do the upper hospital rock run the next day as our last run before heading back to CO (Me, Nathan, and nick had done the run on a day when christian was hungover). The upper part is a bit harder than the lower but just as classic and you get Chucks slide.

Nick finishing off the fun put-in drop

This upper section doesn't add much mileage but the section takes a while due to scouting more frequently, pretty soon after some in between boogie you come to a massive horizon line, get out and look at chuck kern's slide. Nick and Nathan ran it our first lap and I was itching to give it a go, it was sunny, warm and our last day in cali so we all fired it up.

Christian on line as usual

Me thinking "I wanna go fast"

Nick run #1 riding it out switch

Nick on run #2

Nathan, the calm before the storm

We were all fired up to have run such a beast of a rapid, I can't imagine running this thing in the boats they used in chucks day. After chucks drop there are a few in between rapids before your ate the china slide, nathan called it that because it takes you to china.

Christian dropping in

Nick plugging

After the china slide there is a few ledges, one of which dished out a minute and a half beat down to Christian and then recirced him twice out of his boat before he swam out of it. After we got all his stuff back minus an elbow pad, we continued down to a portage around a huge boulder sieve that used to have water flowing around it but the ever chancing riverbed changed again, stay on you toes out there. Next up was the V-slide a fun 20 foot wierd slding thing that all flushes at the bottom, after that your at the top of little niagara.

Nick on V-slide

Now to the most important part of the post, booty beers. Everyone swam on the trip except me and Nathan.

Matt swim on hospital rock, not sure which is dirtier the shoe or matt?

Nick little niagara

Christian hospital rock

Peter on giant gap and me taking mine from the Raven fork in North Carolina

Brian on the park boundary run

Thanks to Nathan and Nick for showing us the lines and for Brian, Peter, Christian and Matt for putting up with me, Cali is so good I can't wait until I go back.

Here is a Video nathan put together:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Break Cali Style

For the Last 2 years I have made California my spring break destination with other members of the CU kayak club, and this year was no different except for the fact that I am not a student and that I had to get time off work to go. This year I was joined by Christian (Christ-Ian as all the freshman ladies know him), Peter, Brian and Ginger Matt fresh off his win at NCAA for nordic skiing.
We started off with two days on the Giant gap section of the north American river, this stretch is ultra classic with amazing scenery and good 4+ whitewater. I didn't get any shots of the river because we didn't have to get out our boats.

We all jumped off this cliff at the putin to giant gap nothing like the feezing water to wake you up after the 1.5 mile hike to the river

Next up we rallied up to oroville to get supplies for a devil's canyon trip on the middle feather river, Christian and i decided we were going to have ribs for our night on the river while peter and Brian went for fajitas. This river is perfect to indulge in the luxuries because there is no hike in and no portages longer than 5 minutes. We didn't end up heading down to milsap bar (the get out) until 11pm and we planned on running shuttle that night. Well it ended up that on the way back out we needed gas and the only credit card we had got canceled when the wrong zip code was entered and no one had a cell phone to use because we left all our shit at the take out. So Ginger Matt was off to try and find a phone, eventually getting a night manager at a holiday in to let him use theirs , I guess the guy wasn't afraid of catching gingervitis. We ended up getting to the putin at about 4:30 am looking to get an early start for our 2 day trip.

We awoke at the early hour of 10:30 ate breakfast packed our shit (took some time with it being Brian and Peter's first overnighter) and we were off by 12. We paddled through the day getting through franklin canyon and found a camp at an old miner claim= shit everywhere. The first day has some good rapids but it was cold and we were trying to go fast so no pics except a bear on the paddle in shot from my kayak.
Christian and Brian Feasting

We woke early the next morning knowing we had a good 6+ hours of paddling to get to the takeout.
Sunrise over our camp

The Second day was awesome just so many rapids, Christian and I have done the devil's canyon so we were able to just bomb away I think we only scouted 4 or so time on the second day. This was a big test for Brian and Peter, and they ran and were able to get directions on way more rapids than I thought they would be able to, way to step it up guys.
Peter on an intimidating one that all flushes out at the bottom

We had lunch at this fun rapid (called eat the meat); me, christian and matt ran it, loads of fun.

Christian firing

The Ginger throwing ends in the hole, he eventually got out after we all had a good laugh at his expense

We made great time and we were down in the devil's canyon by early afternoon, most of the canyon is just good fun 4-4+ but there are 3 bigger drops in there that you want to look out for, the first 2 are portagable but you have to run the bottom of helicopter. Me and Christian ran the drop above "the portage" while the others made a quick portage.
Christian coming through the crux and getting left of the big hole.

Next up was "the portage", which me and Christian had been talking about running for weeks leading up to the trip, we took a good long look at it but only Christian stepped up to give it. He made it through the top part OK but halfway through (the crux drop) he got stuffed in a hole for a while, but was able to work his way out and finish the rapid off, a huge drop for sure.

Next up was helicopter which looks worse than it is an is basically just a big flush, everyone had great lines but the best was had by Christian and Brian who ran it VERY close to each other.

Brian and Christian blue angle, I was laughing my ass of at this point

It was a quick paddle to the takeout, where we were glad to see no cars were broken into and all enjoyed a beer while we looked at the low level on the South Branch. We rallied the shuttle that night and ended up camping up at the putin, deciding to take a slow day on indian creek falls park and huck and spend some time driving down to the kaweah (about a 7 hour drive).
Christian, Matt and Brian hucking their meat

Peter with a sick paddle guitar

Me about to practice my handle roll

Coming up....The Kaweah