|-Packing gear at the trail head - Photo CasperVan Kalmthout|
I got off the plane from Colorado and started gathering any beta on the flows and a crew that I could as the run had spiked and come back in. Lulu was in Vegas and fired to to come and I heard word that a good friend from the Netherlands was on his way with a crew of 4 so we had that sorted. On Thursday morning Lulu and I left Coloma and by mid afternoon we met Casper, Emiel, Sven and Tim at the trail head ready for a quick trip down a rapidly diminishing watershed.
|-Casper makes his way up the first hill - Photo Josh Neilson|
After some quick packing we all headed up the first hill with varying degrees of pain and suffering. I seemed to have it the worst being relatively unfit but quickly the others followed suit and got their puff on! By late afternoon we saw our first glimpse of the river but it is only a reminder of how much further it is to walk!
|-Casper, Lulu and I feeling the pain - Photo Sven, Tim or Emiel|
|-Hiking as the sun goes down - Photo Josh Neilson|
|-Lulu charging on the hike in - Photo Josh Neilson|
|-Morning of day 2 - Josh packing, others sleeping/rising - Photo Casper Van Kalmthout|
|- Packed ready to go - see Lesson 3! - Photo Josh Neilson|
Lesson 1: learn to sleep in too!
Lesson 2: if the person you are following leaves, you should leave too!
Lesson 3: if you are the only one who knows the way, DONT leave without the rest of your group!
Lesson 4: if you have radios make sure the one who knows where to go has one!
Ok so this so far will sound the same from all other 5 sides but from here on out my story differs by a lot. I started walking early as both my knees were failing and I didn't want to be hiking in the heat of the day so off I went. Following the track up the hill I got to the spring for water feeling better than earlier. I left the water tablets on a log on the track and carried on a little further. When my knees really needed a break I stopped and waited for the rest of them. A while passed and I started to think that they either slept in a lot or they were lost. So I left my boat and walked back to find them... Nothing...
And so the decision was made to leave my boat and hike out. With 2 sore knees and a time of 4pm I knew I had a challenge ahead of me. Off I went!
By 6pm both my knees were shot and I was moving pretty slowly but was getting there. I stopped half way back to eat some of the cold freeze dried meal I had prepared earlier due to the fact I had to lighter on me which was not surprisingly disgusting!
By 9pm it was just on dark and I had made it but no sign of the rest of the crew. By now I was sure they had made the river and were probably wondering where I was.
I camped at the take out to wait for them to paddle out and by late afternoon I was about to go check the trail head when I heard Casper yelling "JOSH, JOSH" then I turned to see him hanging out of a cop truck and very excited "This is the first time in a cop car without hand cuffs" and "I am so happy to see you". I too was happy to see him and the rest of the crew. We shared horror stories and decided to head to Sonora for a steak and a hotel sleep. They had indeed made the river and had got to cherry bomb thinking they had put in too high and would paddle down to find me but then realised they were down stream of me and hiked out. We were now back together and the situation could only get better from here. And it did. We made a plan for 3 of us to hike to the put in to get my boat and take it to Flinstone Camp and the other 3 would hike in to cherry bomb and get their camping gear and take that to camp.
|- Finally by the river enjoying a camp fire and sore bodies! - Photo Josh Neilson|
By 9pm that night we were all there sitting by the camp fire stoked to be there and not be hiking anywhere. Now this story has spanned over 4 days now and the rapidly diminishing flows had dropped to about half the lowest flow I had seen it so the next day we were in for some interesting paddling. At dawn we all rose fast and were ready to go at 8.30. With a quick scout of some unsure drops we made it to the pool above Cherry Bomb just as the light hit it! Now this place is amazing!
|- Boofing at the top - Photo Josh Neilson|
|Sliding in the middle - Photo Josh Neilson|
|-Flying at the bottom - Photo Josh Neilson|
|-Casper followed with a ripper line! - Photo Josh Neilson|
|- Sven on Perfect 20 - Photo Josh Neilson|
--Scouting and getting ready for Double Pothole - Photo Josh Neilson
Cheers to Casper, Lulu, Emiel, Sven and Tim for an great trip down the river! Sorry I left you on day 2 and that you ended up getting lost! Lesson learned!
Hope to paddle with you again some day!
|- A very happy team make it to Cherry Lake! -Photo Josh Neilson|