Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cherry on top

Upper Cherry Creek. I don't really think I can describe how awesome this run is. The walk in is harsh but beautiful, 12 miles through the mountains in hot sun carrying a 35kg chunk of plastic with my tevas disintegrating. I ended the walk essentially barefoot. The first section consists of miles and miles of cool low angle slides climaxing in Cherry Bomb gorge - about one of the sickest places you can be in a kayak. Jedi slides and teacup waterfalls then drop into Flintstone, the best camp we've found in California so far rivaled only by Kiwi land on Dinkey Creek. We spent the next day doing laps on the Jedi slides and teacups with each run getting progressively sillier, wave wheels, back flips, front flips, and swimming the teacups (I don't recommend doing this a bikini, there's something about jumping into waterfalls that makes them fall off). Finally we had to leave paradise due to dropping water levels. The paddle out is even better than the paddle in with way too many awesome rapids to remember. What an amazing trip to finish on. Goodbye California, next stop Thailand, bring on the rainy season!!!

5+ hours of walking and we're nearly at the put in!

Flinstone camp paradise (p. Rachael Tombleson)

Toasting marshmellows at Flinstone the best campsite yet - Jedi slides and teacup waterfalls and no mosquitos (p. Bradley Lauder)

I made it to Cherry Bomb! (p. Jamie Garrod)

Jamie busting a freewheel off one of the teacups

Sanga - all about kayaking fashionably

B wheres your kayak?

Learning how to operate a video camera for the boys third lap down Cherry Bomb (p. Jo Parsons)

Jamie on Double Drop

Evan leads the way down Kiwi in a pocket

B avoiding the pocket

Friday, July 23, 2010

Moro Rock

After our West Cherry mish we decided to hang out in the 3 rivers bakery drinking bottomless coffees, chasing bears, climbing mountains at sunset and paddling the Kaweahs while we waited for the Upper Cherry to drop down to a paddleable level. Big ups to Barney for whatever he did to the waitress working at the 3 rivers pub which led to her giving us about 6 jugs of free beer as well as free entrees. Good times. Cherry update to follow.

Sunset from Moro Rock

JUMPING!!! Jamie and Josh

Catch it before it falls off the end of the earth!! (p. Josh Neilson)

B the bear rarrrrrhh (p. Josh Neilson)


View over Sequoia National Park

Borderline gay? (p. Josh Neilson)

Team kiwi

Note the kayaks touching the tree...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

West Cherry

When normal people run West Cherry they do a 45 minute walk in to camp 1, stay the night, then paddle out the next day. Our crew must enjoy prolonged agony and dehydration as we chose to do a 3 hour hike into upper West Cherry up to Graceland slide. It was all worth it just to watch Evan, Brad and Brendan style the most colossal slide I've ever seen. After a few sick rapids and a long portage around a gorge we arrived at camp, ate massive amounts of food which Josh and Rach had hiked in for us, and crashed out. Day 2 kicks off with a super fun super long slide and just gets better. There were some good lines, some awesome lines, one spectacularly bad line (me), a beatdown in a near inescapable hole followed by some target practice (Jared due to a bootie debt) and so many cool rapids that Evan is the only one who would possibly remember them all. Epic run.

Camp (p. Bradley Lauder)

Josh filmmaker extraordinaire and pro shuttle driver

Evan probing the massive slide with usual Evan style

Jared launching Sanga into a waterfall

Brad's super boof on the massive slide

Jamie styling it
Brendan on the Gracelands - line of the day

Just another cool drop (p. James Anthony Garrod)
Another sick drop (p. Rachael Tombleson)
Brendan on the double drop

Boofboof (p. Rachael Tombleson)
Portaging is easy when you're high on painkillers and carboshots
Our mascot was stoked we made it back

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Middle Fork Kaweah River Hospital Rock)

After our brushes with rattlesnakes, poison oak, super long portages and near heat exhaustion on the East Fork team kiwi was hating a bit on the Kaweah. Luckily Brendan and Charles found us and we hit up the hospital rock section the next day. The flow was perfect, there were no portages, the run was all round awesome. Jared was the only one with a camera and didn't manage to take many photos as he had a near penetration incident with rebar on the riverbed, he was saved only by the extra layers of foam on his booster seat!

Washing off the poison oak before the run (p. Jared)

This run starts off good and just gets better!!! (p. Jared)

Friday, July 9, 2010

East Kaweah

The East Fork of the Kaweah River is located near Sequoia National Park and drops 1250 feet over 4.3 miles. Recommended flow level is between 400 and 700cfs with 900cfs mentioned as a upper limit juicier flow. We'd been warned about multiple portages through rattlesnake infested poison oak groves and the possibility of a 12 hour day. After making our way down the river in 5 1/2 hours despite two swims both which required throwbag rescues from super retentive holes we couldn't believe people rated this river as the best day run in California. Turned out we'd misjudged the flow gauge and hit the river at 1200cfs. Hopefully we'll get a chance to paddle this run again at a lower flow!!!

Sanga and Jamie on Double Drop (p. Jared)

Me on a nice clean drop (p. Jared)

Jared lining up for the boof

Me dropping in (p. Jared)

Fancy a four way? (p. Jared)

Bear hunting in Sequoia National Park

After the awesomeness that was Dinkey we decided to take a day off kayaking and branch into other forms of recreation such as watermelon art, looking at trees, and bear hunting. Seeing as you have to pay to enter National Parks in the States we stealthed into Sequoia National Park under the cover of darkness and camped illegally on the side of the road for a change. Following beta from a local fisherman 'where can we find bears?' 'you can't buy beers here' 'no bears, like, raaarah (with claw hands)' 'oh beeeaaars' we headed for Halstead meadow where the hunt began. The first bear we found got scared off when Jared Jamie and Brad ran after it so Sanga Rach and I ditched the noisy buggers and hatched a cunning plan to sneak up on another bear from the downwind side. Little did Sanga know that the tree he was standing under had a cub hiding in it - the reason why momma bear wasn't running away. Luckily momma bear was pretty mellow and didn't launch an attack. Happy ending.

We missed Josh so much that Rach painted his face on a watermelon so we could take him sightseeing with us... 'Josh' in front of General Sherman - the largest living organism on earth

Beautiful Sequoia trees in the park

Sanga stalking momma bear

'I told you to stay up the tree until all the Kiwis had left' 'but mooooooommm'

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dinkey Creek

Dinkey Creek has to be the best trip of the season thus far. We had perfect flow, perfect crew, and the white water is mind blowing in so many different ways. We made the drive down from Coloma and found a random road to sleep on the side of not far from the put in... and then took the long way through the confusing forestry roads luckily popping out at a sign only a few miles from the put in. The next mission was to find the track down to the river was made super easy because of the 3 other crews there at the same time as us. After the one and a half hour slog to the river, we washed off the poison oak, and put on with the first rapid being a 40 ft slide to get things started and it didn't ease from there to the camp. It was just awesome drop followed by choice slide for the whole day!
Here are some pictures to try and show what an amazing place this gorge is!

Sanga running Willies Drop. A choice wee 12ft entry followed by a blind 40ft drop!

Jamie on a nice drop straight after Willies (p. Jared)

Jared having some fun on the portage. We had heard sketchy things about this one because I think that people usually get lowered down onto some rock and then seal launch in but we just hucked our boasts off then followed them with a wicked plunge.

I shall call this one the glory slide! Toni sliding to Glory and putting a fat crack in her boat. (p. Jared)

Fred the frog at camp

Man love! Gotta love it. If there was a competition as to who was having the most fun at camp out of the 26 people jammed into the area we definitely creamed it. Playing in pot holes, sliding down rapids on our bums, chasing rattle snakes, hell yea!

The rapid just before camp. Everyone had mixed results on this one, Jamie and Sam had a surf, Bradley made it look easy once again, another dude broke his boat, and some people didn't even try it... lame!

Our fire pit

Jamie probing the line and flying like there's no tomorrow!

Toni nailing the Nicky Kelly slide (p. Jared)

Jamie catching more air on Nicky's slide (p. Jared)

Jared getting his wings out for a beautiful 20 footer near the end of day two

Toni boofty boof boof Mc Booferson! (p. Jared)

And that pretty much sums it up. If you like big, Dinkey has it for you!