Saturday, May 26, 2012

Three Rivers

- Kaweah down below - Photo Josh Neilson

Three Rivers is a small town that just one river flows through.  The Kaweah flows out of Sequoia National Park which is home to the worlds largest trees. The park is littered with huge monoliths, bears, mountain lions, foxes and much more! We stay in a little camp ground for $5 a night which had a few showers and a bunch of flat spots under oak trees to sleep the night! One of the forks is in the park so after paying the $20 to get in its just a short drive up the hill to the put in.  The first drop on the seldom run section is Chucks slide.  Sam and Chris fired it up before heading down stream.  The next section is V-slide and Little Niagara.  The tempo keeps up for a little longer with some tight slides before 'Cocaine Alley'.  Once you are through the alley you get to 420 gorge.  This holds a few tricky lines and a very tight gorge.  Unlike a lot of cali runs where you are sliding down granite this one holds some water and is cool to link some good boofs.  The crux section at the bottom is 'Zero to Sixty'.  I ran this a few years ago but it hasnt looked tempting since then.  The entry is fast and the exit is faster.  Everyone always asks about the cave and this year I heard that you can actually climb out of the cave but you have to remove your life jacket to do so! Stick left and avoid the cave is the best option though.
The takeout is passed a little swing bridge which is a great place to hang out and swim while others head up for another run.
I rallied a few days on this while the others went into East Kaweah.  I am getting a little tendonitis in my shoulder so back on the stretches etc to keep on the river.  Tomorrow Tyler and Lou leave for colorado and I head to Australia on Monday. The others are looking at upper cherry this week but I am hoping it will hold out for another week till I'm back!
Time to write a speech for the Brisbane show and prepare for a whirlwind Transcendence tour around the world in a week!

- Sam Sutton on Chucks Slide - Photo Josh Neilson

-Chris on Chucks Slide - Photo Josh Neilson

-Daan on V-Slide - Photo Josh Neilson

-Sam Roil Little Niagara - Photo Josh Neilson

-Daan Little Niagara - Photo Josh Neilson

-Daan heading downstream - Photo Josh Neilson

Moro Rock

-First things first - Build a fence  - Photo Harmony Wimsett
It may seem at times that it is all about running hard whitewater but I can tell you its not! Sometimes a bit of lifestyling goes a long way! In fact I would say 80% of our time on missions consists of driving, exploring and hanging out and the other 20% is kayaking.  Due to this high percentage of downtime we have become rather good at lifestyling.

- Camping in Three Rivers - Photo Josh Neilson

We have a number of sweet locations in many different countries locked down for times when the kayaking is not happening! One of the golden spots is Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park.  While we were there to kayak the Kaweah we knew that the combination of clear skies and a bit of pollution on the horizon was going to make for a good sunset after a good day on the water.
-Post paddling  - Photo Josh Neilson

-Sun soaking on the Kaweah - Photo Josh Neilson

With some of the founding members of the Okere Falls Wine and Cheese Appreciation Society present we voiced the idea of picking up some supplies, namely fine cheese and crackers and some alcohol, in Three Rivers and to reconvene at the top of a huge monolith named Moro Rock.

-Moro Rock from below at the Hospital Rock put in - photo Josh Neilson

 It was a great sunset and the evening was slowly calming down when I saw flood lights on the roadworks below.  I remembered seeing a sign on the entry to the park mentioning a road closure at 9pm all night! I asked for the time and it was 8.30 and we had a bit of a climb and drive to get down.  Panic ensued and we rushed everything to the car and slipped through the roadworks just in the nick of time!
While kayaking is the main reason for our travels it is not the only reason.  Next stop is the Australia show but ill do a little kayak update before then!

-Baby Bird holding the last of the sun - Photo Josh Neilson

Ben and Sam - Photo Josh Neilson

-Getting stuck in to some fine cheese, oysters and dips! - Photo Josh Neilson

-Dave preparing some desert at Moro Rock - Photo Josh Neilson

-We all travel on different plans but its great when we all come together - Photo Josh Neilson


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

South Silver - old faithful

- Martina on 'Left Left' - Photo Shilo Gibson

While we are on the topic of best runs in Cali I think its fair to say that South Silver makes the grade.  From top to bottom the action is there for the taking.   One of the longer slides in the state start you off followed by one of the many 'Tea cups' sections with a big burley skyscraper and off ramp in the middle followed by some more committing stuff down below.  You can run a little of you can run a lot, its up to you.  Friends who don't kayak can join your 1 mile run and take photos and hike the trail right by the river.  And the best part is that its only 1hr from the house! Well thats not the best part but its a good bonus! We had 9 of us on the river yesterday with a juicy flow.  Martina joined us from the Netherlands, and the rest were from NZ including our adopted Canadian Tyler! Shilo and Harmony came out to take photos and with a little snow round they filled a bag with beers and snow for the take out! GOLD!
We lapped the 'Autobahn' and the 'Teacups' and then I after a few good days in the boat I felt 'Skyscraper' was in order.  Cheers for all the safety on that one guys!
Another sweet day on the river with good people.  I think we will be back up there in a few days when it drops a little for a more relaxed user friendly bomb down.  What will the next post be.. will it be Royal? Will it be Fantasy? Just wait and see...

- Me on the first Tea Cup - Photo Shilo Gibson

- Tea Cups into Skyscraper, sick section of water - Photo Harmony Wimsett
- Me on Second Tea Cup - Photo Shilo Gibson
- Team photographer Harmony at peace with her position - Photo Shilo Gibson

-Nick Wimsett on the first Tea Cup - Photo Shilo Gibson

-Looking very little scouting and setting safety - Photo Shilo Gibson

- Avoiding Rattlesnakes on the portage - Photo Harmony Wimsett

- Me entering Skyscraper - Photo Shilo Gibson
- Complete whiteout but the memory boof came through and got air! - Photo Shilo Gibson

Mid way through the mayhem  - Photo Harmony Wimsett

- Lining it up for the off ramp - Photo Harmony Wimsett

- Offramp - Photo Shilo Gibson

- Getting left behind the rock on 'Plastic Surgery' - Photo Shilo Gibson

- Lou in Blue - Photo Shilo Gibson

Lou making the final moves before take out - Photo Harmony Wimsett

- Me and Nick in a hole - Photo Harmony Wimsett

- A great day with good friends - Photo Tripod (Shilo Gibson)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hospital Rock - one of the classics

- Tyler Fox looking styley on Little Niagara - Photo Josh Neilson

I have kayaked and hiked in many places in my time but the come down from Dinkey Creek was a killer! Never before has every muscle in my body hurt so much at the same time! Even stepping off the gutter or getting out of the car became a hard task! After some great fast food we decided to head further south for a relaxed day on the Hospital Rock section of the Middle Kaweah.

-The put in with Hospital Rock in the background

The thought of just taking the day off crossed my mind many times but I figured it might take some of the pain away being on the river.  It did! We soon found ourselves in the flow again and it was good to paddle something that wasn't super massive at ever horizon.  With light boats and no extra gear onboard we got the arms moving and bombed down some of Cali's nicest mini gorges.  We didnt stop to take many photos due to how hard it was to simply get in and out of our kayaks but it was a good day! At the take out we looked at our GPS navigation and it told us our ETA was 8pm after a 4hr drive so we got on the phone and booked all you can eat Sushi in Placerville for 8pm.  At 7.59 we rolled into the carpark to meet the coloma gang for some highly anticipated best sushi in the area! Another good day!

-Daan boofing off Little Niagara - Photo Josh Neilson

-Daan dropping under pride rock - Photo Josh Neilson

-Daan in V-Slide early on in the day - Photo Tyler Fox

- Tyler about to melt in V-Slide - Photo Daan Jimmink

All Images are © to the respective photographers. Please contact me if you would like to use any of these photos.

Dinkey Creek - one of the greats!

We often talk about what the best runs in California are with a mixed bag of single day and multi day runs making the list but never really coming up with the actual best run.  Partially because we havent done them all yet and partially because there are so many great runs to choose from.  On Monday Lou and I landed in San Francisco and headed back inland to Coloma with Tyler and Chaundra to catch up with some friends before Tyler announced that we needed to leave for Dinky Creek the next day.  I had always wanted to do this one but had missed it on many occasion.  With Lou needing to do school work Tyler and I met up with Daan and Jess for a little mission south.  By 10pm we had driven all the way to the Kings river and decided to park up in a dusty side road for the night and plan to set shuttle early in the morning.  At 8am we rose and drove up the river to see if any raft guides had no work and wanted to drive the 2hrs in and then 2 hrs back out for us and it didn't take much convincing before we had John onboard and on the road into Dinkey Creek.

- Jess checking that we are in the right place - Photo Daan Jimmink
With a range of maps and directions we made good time to the trail head.  What was in front of us was 2hrs hiking down hill and then 2 days of spectacular kayaking.

Jess, Tyler and I looking into the first day from the hike - Photo Daan Jimmink
The hike near wiped us all out with heavy boats and a severe lack of fitness but we had to hold it together because it was non stop action from here on out! Slide 1 woke us up and set the pace for the day!

Me on the first drop of Day 1 - Photo Daan Jimmink

Daan dropping into drop 1 - Photo Josh Neilson

- Jess getting warmed up - Photo Josh Neilson

-One of many stacked drops and sick boofs - Photo Daan Jimmink

We knew we only had to make about 1 mile down stream but it was going to take us all afternoon to do that! Steep!!!
By mid afternoon we made it to the main drop for the day. Willies slide is a 2 part boof to slide into sloping 30footer.  We all had good lines and then it was off to the next horizon line for more vertical action.  

- Entry to Willies drop! - Photo Daan Jimmink

-Dropping into the bottom of Willies - Photo Daan Jimmink

-Bottom of Willies  - Photo Tyler Fox

-Tyler showing us the line! - Photo Josh Neilson

- Bottom of Willies, ALL GOOD! - Photo Josh Neilson

-Daan on Willies from below - Photo Josh Neilson

- End of day 1 but called Morning slide - Photo Tyler Fox

- Me on the afternoon 'Morning slide' - Photo Tyler Fox

By late afternoon we made it to camp where we set up on a nice beach to watch the sun go down  only to be replaced by the roar of the fire.  Over night the river rose up the beach over a foot and we were soon in our sleeping bags for what could be described as a very very poor nights sleep due to over stimulation and a sever case of jetlag!

- Camp set up with the water rising into the fire - Photo Daan Jimmink

Morning 2 was a early start to get the remaining 6 miles to the take out over before night.  The gradient did not let up all day and we slowly made our way off hundreds of sweet drops.  We stopped for a bit of lunch below the cleanest drop on the river and laughed at how many rapids there were and how many we still had to go! This place is priceless!

- Daan on a nameless amazing drop - Photo Josh Neilson

- Daan getting a boof in before the portage - Photo Josh Neilson

- Tyler Fox -  boof, stomp, repeat -Photo Daan Jimmink

- Clean Boof again - Photo Daan Jimmink

- Jess on the cleanest drop on the run! - Photo Josh Neilson

- Me getting some creative Gopro shots off the back - Photo Jess Matheson

- Daan going right - Photo Tyler Fox

- Tyler on the clean one - Photo Daan Jimmink

Daan running Nikki's drop - Staunch - Photo Josh Neilson

By mid afternoon we pulled into the take out with the car waiting for us!(THANKS JOHN) We quickly threw a few beers in the river to cool down and packed up the car.  The atmosphere was second to none at this point! Everyone had stories to tell about a number of rapids they remembered and after a trip of freeze dried food and protein bars we were all fired up for some fast food! I am hesitant to say that this is the best run in Cali for me because there are so many sweet runs but I think if I had to choose one river that stood out this would be it! 7 miles and non stop overnight granite boofs slides  warm days amazing kayaking with good friends! Its good to be back!