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!!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Dude, this is getting more exciting with each post. Any quotes from the "Fear" chapter? Any good stories from around the campfire?
Well done!

8:53 PM  

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