Thursday, July 26, 2007

California Love: Upper Cherry Creek, Day 2

One of a million cool things about California is you always have a "wake-up rapid." This was she, Day 2 of our Upper Cherry Creek trip. It's a slide you run the day before, but we walked up to run it into the teacups again before heading downstream directly into Groove Tube, Perfect 20 and Double Pothole. Many huge rapids on Day 2, we bombed into just about everyone of them, so no pictures, sorry. This is actually the only picture I have of me running a rapid in California! Thanks to Pat for snapping it for me!!!

Nick from the Chatt-town crew, feeling like a cherry seed about to get the dickens launched out of Loch Ness Monster's two front teeth. Kinda have that walled-in feeling feeling, again.

Bet looks out to the entrance of Double Pothole. We portaged the drop that slams into this eddy and rock, there's a line...with serious consequences. Get left and hey diddle-diddle, but get ready, cause that thing is WAY bigger than it looks in video and pics!

Pat Keller getting it back down on Dead Bear Falls. Lunch numero uno after this big guy. Rat-a-tat-Pat also had a freaking smooth greased donkey line through Kiwi in a Pocket. Kinda botched the footy on that one! Sorry bro.

Speaking of footy, thank you much out to Pat from taking video the whole time we were out in the promised land!!!

Bet riding them rapids like a cougar running from Pecos Bill. The whole time I was out there I couldn't help but think of what it was like for Old Pecos and the Wild Westerners of yesteryear. That, and I really expected T-Rex to bound by at any moment. Was it in our Minds?

No Reeboks here, we only pump water. Straight from the river we paddle!!! The promised land I tell you. The promised land, bring yee an agua pump if you like to drink water while participating in water-sport activities. Also have some kind of back-up, in our case that was a gigger of iodine.

Crazy tree at Lunch 2. There's some amazing boogie after Dead Bear, anywhere that wasn't a famous rapid there was incredible high-quality shit to be run. The promised land. I like to eat alot of food (that might be an understatement) point is, bring in a bunch of groceries. Food=Energy; Energy on the water=a good thing, and fun times! Also, good training to hike in with extra portions!

Dag-gone, friggin,funnestmostyeehawinbuckingbronco, dig,dag, a wag,a tagarooin-yeah. Reed stoked about a good ride through the Nozzle. Ain't it aint over, till the fat lady sings! Keep on yer toes cause ya still got titties left!!!

Pat looks out over Cherry Lake. Cow of holiness, is it pretty!!! The last of the goods behind us, Nick took time to unleash the fountain of the blister that once was. MMmmm, get-u-some.

Post blister pop, Nick exits stage right as the gorge that was our home for a couple days disappears until another summer.

Stay tuned here on your dial for the mother-load report, next time coming at ya from the MIddle Fork of the Kings!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Le Tour Presents...Stage 3: The Road to the Promised Land

This incredible picture comes to ya' straight from the back of Matt Soloman's pick-up truck. I'd like to extend a HUGE THANK YOU!!!! to Matt Soloman!!! Every picture and experience that follows was made possible by your generosity in hooking it up with a ride to Eagle County.

Back at the Mountain Games, Pat Keller had told me stories of the promised land. A place where the whitewater is as fluffy as a bunny's bottom. California, he said was the place to be, call him in a week's time and receive further instructions. The morning this picture was taken, instructions were received to get to Eagle County, CO by 7pm. That's where Matt Soloman comes in, after a free competitor's breakfast in Lyons I was told he could get me to my destination, but he might have left already. A frantic search for the ever elusive beast concluded in the answer to my question..."yeah, you can jump in the back with my dog until Denver, after Denver you can get a front seat to Eagle." Thanks, dude!

Pat with his game face on. Pat picked me up at Matt's house, and we were on our way west, to a state that's untouchable like Elliot Ness. Right at the beginning of our drive Pat handed me a copy of Doug Ammons' book, "The Laugh of the Water Nymph: And Other Stories" and told me to read the story titled, Fear. From that point on I was scared. Good read, didn't read all of it, but that's one page turner, I going to have to get my hands on.

Sunrise somewhere near the border of Utah and Nevada. Filled 'er up, caught some ZZZzzzzz's through Nevada thanks to Pat's heavy foot. At this point we had two options...we could hike in with Tommy, Grace and Jules Campbell and catch up to a massive crew on the Middle Fork of the Kings, or we could combine the first two days of the Upper Cherry and catch up to Chris Gragtmans and Dylan Bruce at Flintstone Camp. Either way we were about to drop into some shit.

At the end of the day a decision was made and we arrived here, at Cherry Lake, ready to hike in to the Upper Cherry Creek at sunrise.

Here's a self-portrait showing my exhaustion/ satisfaction half way through the hike, just near the point where the trail enters Yosemite National Park. The plan was to hike the nine miles during the am, and then by dark, paddle down to "Flintstone Camp" which is normally camp two and meet fellow NCer's Chris and Dylan.

Pat Keller dropping in at "The Brink." Somewhere down there is the put-in to Upper Cherry. At this point all I was thinking was lunch... well that and "My, this place is puuurrrrrrteeee!!!"

Relieved to finally get some air to my feet. A little nap, some food and water and we were off again, this time in the craftiest of crafts...a Ki-Jack!

Pat dropping into a typical rapid on Upper Cherry. He had done the run a few times before, as we were hiking in he warned me of the mad-bombing that would ensue once we were on the water. I didn't really know what to expect, but maybe something like "We're only going to scout Cherry Bomb Falls and maybe one more" would've been more appropriate! This was my first multi-day run in a kayak, and it was everything I dreamed it would be. I quickly adjusted to paddling with some junk in the trunk.

Pat-Rick pointing 'er into Cherry Bomb Gorge. You kinda get that walled-in feeling if you know what I mean!

This here is Reed, he is a caveman that lives in the meadow just above Cherry Bomb Gorge, if you paddle up at the perfect moment he can be found standing in the middle of the river preparing for his epic solo sessions in the Cherry Bomb Gorge. That's at least the state we found him in!

I believe at this moment I said, "Holy shit, that was the most intense day of my life!" Wonder how many times I said that in the week or so following this expedition! Haha!

The view from Camp Flintstone, looking back up at the Teacups and into Cherry Bomb Gorge. We ran into the rest of Reed's caveman crew here, Bet and Nick from Chatt-town, TN. Funny, I thought we were in California!?!

Stay tuned for Day 2 goodies, and more fun in the sun in Cali-forn-i-A!!!!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Magical Mystery Tour: Cruisin' with the Boonetown Boys

The most frequent flyer miles caught by anyone at the Mountain Games, had to be the freeride mountain bikers. These guys truely ripped! After some partying in Vail, the group decided to head to Clear creek of the Ark, a very pretty, boogiein' run that comprised of three fun gorged out sections.

Here's WIll Stubbs and Nate from Boulder dropping into the first gorge. It's hard not to go kayaking in Colorado and not be in a super pretty spot.

We got a couple runs in during the day, thanks to friendly folk helping out with shuttle. Nate, Stubbs and Shane Groves hangs out here at the get-out waiting for the horse-drawn carriages to arrive, Dave's hiding because he's cared of horses. Maybe they were mountain goat-drawn, no wait, those were on the mountain, if you look long enough at one of those white dots.

After the couple of runs, instead of heading to Salida to playboat I opted to hang with the Boonetown Crew charging it out west this summer. Dave and Stubbs, pictured here, cold kick it by our take-out campsite campfire. A few wonderous happenings happened momoments after this kodak moment. Two homies from BV hooked it up with grilled salmon and triscits. Dave ran our shuttle for run three. We were greeted on our dusk run by a much higher flow; lesson learned, run clear creek later in the day to reduce amount of f-u rocks.

I feel your pain, brotha! Last summer, bout the time we past this dude, I was probably doing the exact same thing, but looking at goats instead of tall mountains.

Bailey Run, south-west of Denver, was`the next stop. The clan boogies out from the main portion of the run to find amazing looking domes everywhere. A cool way to end a fun run.

After Bailey, we met back up with Nate and checked out the Lower South Boulder. This here picture is of me dropping into a funky little drop on the run. The entrance gig I'm in was a cool boof-into-a-slot move right before the bottom dropped out.

And again me finishing the bottom part of the rapid with a sherlock flicky kicky boof. Fluffy like my corn pops.

The Boonetown Birgade continued it's movement north up to Fort Collins, where Stubbs had connetions with beds. Twas here were we found the Narrows of the Poudre. The Narrows here in NC is the jam, so having found a gnars out west, I had to go. After arrival it was determined that the level was on the high side of things, and Dave and Stubbs opted out. Here I am having a solo session in the early gorge.

The run-out to the same gorge. It was far upstream of this point that I reliezed what I had gotten my self into. A high-water chargefest that was the pushiest thing I had seen since Gore Canyon. I must if you catch it a good level.

Again, lost, wishing I had scouted more on the drive up. Many Big ups to Will and Dave for letting me cruise for a few days. Hope you boys are having fun living in Cali for the summer!

Stay tuned for more of the world wide web's broadcast of the Magical Mystery Tour.

Pray for Rain!!!