Sunday, May 12, 2013

South Stanislaus

I arrived in California on Sunday the 5th of May in San Francisco where Myles and Jesse picked me up  and we made our way inland.  After a couple of days to get sorted and catch up with Nick and Harmony it was time to get to business.  Ryan Mac had a plan and although there was a pretty good recipe for disaster the crew soon grew from not many to a lot and then back down to a solid 6.  The idea for the trip was, in Mac's terms the ultimate "Lifestyling" trip.  Now this word gives off this feeling of ease and achievability not usually associated with an epic adventure so spirits were high and we all felt good.  After a few hour drive we set camp at Pinecrest Reservoir and settled in for the night.

- Camp one at Pinecrest Res - Photo Ryan Mac

 In true  "Lifestyle" fashion we rose late and made coffee and oatmeal before packing up camp and heading to the boat ramp.  From here we would see across the Lake and up into Cleo's Bath and our run for the next day.  Now there is another far easier hike in from the ridge but word from the ranger was that it was closed hence this angle of attack.

- Packing boats at the ramp - Photo Josh Neilson

-Pushing off with the gorge in the background - Photo Ryan Mac

- Granite in our sights - Photo Ryan Mac
On the lake we were barely 30m in and we hear someone shouting from the boat dock. "Are you guys fix'n on running those rapids in there? Are you guys
 pro-fessionals? Are you sponsored? Because I know a guy who did it and all I know is if you don't have a Red Bull helmet and a helicopter you shouldn't be going there".  And so it began... we chuckled to each other as we thanked the kind man for his input and headed across the lake to the river.  The first part of the hike was easy but soon we were at Cleo's Bath and it was steep and up hill from here.

- Me and Nick stoked to have carry systems! - Photo Ryan Mac

- Roping boats up the steep section - Photo Ryan Mac
With a bit of rope work and some balancing acts we made it to the crest and chilled for a bit.  Now quite sore and tried we decided to leave our camp stuff and hike the empty boat to the put in.  As we made it up the river we found some sweet drops but it was stacked and moving fast.  About a mile up we decided to call it quits for the day and head back to camp. With a bit of rain on the horizon we decided to camp in a cave and avoid the elements.  Many theories were passed over the fire and soon we were all set on not hiking our boats any higher and enjoying the rapids we had from there out to fit with Mac's "Lifestyle" clause in the trip brief.

-Fire and food - Cave living - Photo Josh Neilson

-Stories round the fire better when in a cave! - Photo Josh Neilson
- Jamie Garrod on pride rock  - Photo Josh Neilson
The morning started with a quick fire to make oats and coffee and then we were off up the hill once again. With some quick scouting we could see the river had come up a bit but that was ideal.  Soon we were in our kayaks and with a quick warm up we were into it!

-Drop number 1 - Photo Josh Neilson

- Drop 1 - Photo Ryan Mac

-Jamie on a nice boof - Photo Josh Neilson
Feeling better now that we were kayaking and not walking we got through a few small drops before the crux.  Standing on the granite scouting in kayaking gear made the drops look a little nicer and I was fired up.  I really wanted to run the entry but was not to psyched about the ski jump in the middle before the off ramp.  In the end my mind was made up and I dropped in.  The entry drop was sweet and as I had expected I got slowed at the lip of the ski jump but made it through and out the bottom.
- Coming off the Ski Jump in the middle of the crux 3 - Photo Ryan Mac

- Bottom slide of the top 3 - Photo Ryan Mac

-Jamie on the slide - Photo Jamie Garrod

- Jamie Garrod coming down the slot - Photo Ryan Mac

- Nick Wimsett coming into the slot in his brand new Tuna - Photo Ryan Mac

- Me coming down out of the slot into the fast section - Photo Ryan Mac

-It just keeps going - Tea Cups - Photo Ryan Mac

- Chris coming into the double hot! - Photo Ryan Mac

- Another angle of double - Photo Ryan Mac

- Tight entry! - Photo Josh Neilson

- This is not photoshop - Jamie, Nick and I on Double all at once - Photo Ryan Mac

- Riley on the top drop - Photo Ryan Mac

-Jamie on Double Drop - Photo Ryan Mac

- Montage of me on Double Drop - Photo Ryan Mac
-Mac on the bottom drop - Photo Josh Neilson

It didn't stop there we had a tricky slot drop that everyone styled and then down through the tea cup section.  The best part was the double drop and a few of us ran laps on that part! From here we portaged round Cleo's Bath once again and paddled out to the lake.  Everyone was stoked and although the way in was not ideal we all loved the way out! We were hoping that our mate from the dock was there so we could let him know we made it out without with just your average helmet and no helicopter so he could rest easy. Stoked to be here in Cali running challenging whitewater again! 
Back at the car we checked out photos, had a few beers and then headed back to Coloma!  For another version of this river which shows the top part we didnt make it to you can check out Ben's Blog for the South Stan mission they did. 
Next mission is coming to Ill leave it at that!