Thursday, August 12, 2010

Middle Fork Kings

The middle fork of the kings river is known as one of the best multiday runs in the country if not the world, last year I missed out on a trip with some of my good friends. This year I was set that the kings was the one I wanted, originally we had a huge group of 8 from colorado. Due to some scheduling issues are group was cut in half, then half again a few days before the trip when will couldn't get out of work and Rolf jacked himself on the crystal gorge. So it was down to just Tyson and I driving from colorado to meet Jared Johnson and Lizzy English. We left right after my nursing school interview on friday morning and arrived at the south lake trailhead near bishop,ca at about 2am just in time to get some shut eye. We woke the next morning excited to begin the journey, JJ and Lizzy carried all of their gear but me and Tyson split donkeys with a few other people making the 12 mile hike-in easy. The hike-in was so beautiful and amazing I was just gazing around in amazement the whole time up and over the 12,000 foot bishop pass. Due to the others having loaded boats Tyson and I were able to take some long breaks and enjoy it. We got down to the leconte canyon ranger station at about the same time as the mules so we just hung out and talked with ranger rick until jj and lizzy arrived and we just set up camp excited about getting to paddle the next day. Ranger rick decided that he would join us for the first 2 days of our trip to learn more about the kayaker user group, he was a super cool guy.
Only a few miles into the hike

Tyson relaxing on the top of bishop pass

JJ and I hiking in the Dusy basin

Looking down into Leconte canyon (our-putin) a few thousand feet of pain below

The next day we got up and ate a slow breakfast, taking our time getting ready we didn't put on until 10am. The first few miles down to palisade creek are pretty manky but the scenery is amazing. After palisade the rapids start to get awesome with lots of great slides and falls. Near the end of day one is the river transitions into some sweet boulder gardens that is one of the best boulder garden sections I have ever paddled. We camped at the huge devil's washbowl slide that night, I decided to run the slide that night and had a sweet line but got a bit to far left at the bottom, dried out and skipped over the hole backwards.

Tyson on a sweet slot move to slide early day one

Tyson on the money drop day 1

Lizzy killing it

Typical scenery

JJ at the start of the sick boulder garden

Camp night 1

On day 2 we got up a bit earlier and we were on the water by 9 running the big camp slide and continuing down into the waterfall gorge. At this point ranger rick left us to fend for ourselves, and we continued at river level where most groups decided to walk on the trail. We made it a few drops before it really turned into a lot of work and I see why people walk this part. JJ and I fired off into the raw dawg gorge while lizzy and tyson walked on the trail, this was one of the highlights of the trip, it was like vallecito in colorado but with a super stout 30 footer. After the raw dawg gorge the river got into great rapids for the next few miles down into simpson meadow.
Tyson on a big slide for breakfast

Lizzy on the famous waterfall in bad lighting

Tyson firing into a big hole below the falls

JJ sliding

JJ on the entrance to the raw dawg gorge, there were huge boils pushing back from 10-15 feet downstream, spicy.

JJ fighting

JJ on the falls and exit

Me falling and trying to get tucked, it was a super soft hit

View from our camp in simpson meadow

The next day we got a slow start and had a few hours of easy whitewater before the boulder garden action started back up. I was told that this day would be shitty but I found it pretty quality and fun with lots of multi move rapids with sweet boofs and power moves just like a smaller version of the bottom 9. Somewhere in this section is the beaver slide, a drop that a fwe people have run over the years, I scouted it for a bit but ended up walking, this was the one drop I really want to go back and run it just looks so good to me for some reason. We got down into the tehipete dome area and it was like yosemite with no roads, we ended up camping early at the base of tehipete dome our mind thinking of the bottom 9.

the big bad beaver slide, this thing is sick!

Tehipete dome

The bottom 9 miles is one of my top 5 days of kayaking ever, it was 9 hours of sick kayaking, with huge moves, boofs, plugs and just overall sick rapids that leave you grinning from ear to ear. We were trying to make it out through garlic falls that day so no pics but there were more drops than I could count. The next day we got up early and put on a 8, it was already 90 degrees, I really enjoyed the garlic falls run a classic by any measure, with big pushy rapids. Tyson and I dropped lizzy off in fresno before starting our long drive home, elated to have just completed the trip of a lifetime.

JJ boofing a big hole in the morning light on the garlic falls run

1 comment:

  1. nice tom! Thanks for the write up, looks like you guys had a great trip, I'm going to have to get out there one day!