Saturday, June 19, 2010

Week 2 in Cali

Jim could only stay out in cali for a week this trip so I dropped him off at 5 in the morning to catch his plane, it sucked to see him go because I love paddling with my brother but he also works out the logistics and I drive where he tells me and he most of the time has the beta set. I was pretty tired that day so we got a slow start and just went and did 49 to bridgeport (which is a sick run, but kinda a bomb fest so no pics), it was great to meet up with Louis who I met in BC a few years back and to get to paddle with one of my real good friends Nick Abrams (moving to Boulder this summer, sweet!).
The next day we attempted the north fork of the middle american but it looked low at the takeout so we just went to upper middle consumes at about 500cfs (a sick level!). I ended up taking the first drop way to casual and getting caught in the hole which required a quick swim (the river always lets you know who is boss). The day was super sick with the added water but we didn't end up getting done until it was dark (in a hurry no pics agian); which sucked because we ended up heading to the south merced with warm weather on the horizon we were all a bit worried about the level coming up.
Waking up early we assembled the big crew of Me, Christian, Dustin, Louis, mike, and hard charging durango boy nate klema. Nate's car got broken into the night before by a bear and all his food was gone, so he got to stop in el portal gas station to fuel up. The first day was awesome with the added water we had two swims but no lost gear so that was good, the superslide section was sweet and we decided to push thru the gorge below to get a bit farther downstream before the water came up.
A few pics from day 1:
Nate Klema firing a huge hole at the top of the superslide section

Nate, Christian, Dustin getting some pushy slide action

Dustin in the first drop in the gorge below one in a million

Louis on a rowdy slide in the gorge

Louis on the slide above camp
That night we camped next to a huge crew of guys that were super cool to share to spot with us (thanks boys!), it rained a bit that evening but dusty was nice enough to cram both of us under his tarp so I didn't get wet. I was super excited and ended up getting up at 6am because I though it was 7 (due to my watch being CO time), and had a bunch of time to lounge around camp while others got up, one thing became clear; the river had come up almost a foot overnight and the south merced was now a full on river! I wasn't to concerned until Evan garcia said the water was HIGH (the wawona gauge peaked at 1600 that night). I got a bit nervous but our crew was solid and we took our time making only one or two portages the whole day, but there were plenty of juicy holes in there. The second day was one of the best days of kayaking I have ever had, there was some classic cali sun mixed with the best rapids on the planet!
Pics from day 2:

Dustin popping up from the first hole on a big slide

Christina charging

Dustin getting western

After running the 3 hour S Merced shuttle I was stoked that Dustin and Christian got drunk while I drove shuttle, this meant I had to drive to the yuba gap all by myself which sucked. The suck level was taken to the extreme when the yuba gap didn't run, more 49 to bridgeport a great plan B. Rolf and Tyson just got in so they joined us for an evening run, always love to boat with these two. The next day rolf wanted to check kimshew but we ended up settling for the secret stash due to gate closure (which also caused us to hike 4 miles in). This run was sick it had great drops that you had to run in several gorges, we ran everything besides a huge double drop that we thought would cause at least a 50% swim ratio and we had no idea how far it was to the getout and it was getting late (lame excuse I know, expesially because the takeout was 10 minutes downstream).
Secret stash pics:

Dustin probing the 1st drop

R kelly boofing

Tyson on a pushy one

After the secret stash we heading back to the south branch to get those boys on it. A fun day was had by all except my nose and eye that suffered a punch from myself of the final 50 footer and required a ER visit to get it glued shut.
SB pics:

Dustin at the start of the goods

Nate Klema throwing down

Tyson showing great form

Mr.Marquart showing us how to boof

Rolf showing his waterfall form (he has practice:

What happens when you don't stay tucked

Wow that turned into a huge post, more to come from week 3!

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