Surfing big smooth waves? Boofing the perfect 20 footer? Take out beers? Seeing new places? Making good friends?...Yeah all of those things do appeal to me as a long time boater, but there is still one thing that stands high above every other aspect of whitewater kayaking...Overnighters!
This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to return to California for the sixth summer in a row! It seems like just yesterday when I was driving up I-80 to Donner Summit for my first Royal Gorge run. I was terrified! I never would have guess that 6 years later I would have run this river 5 times and was the first person to complete the "Royal Flush". That's all history now...The point of the matter is that I fell in love with the whole deal!
Ever since I was a young ripper my parents had me out on the river. It all started with summer float trips down the Lower Salmon river in Idaho. I was either in the raft or a little rubber ducky inflatable kayak shredding the small class III waves! As I grew my father kept pushing me into kayaking and whitewater...following the foot steps of my brother Ian I was always behind in skill and scared of every horizon line. Not until I was 13-14 years old and after a life changing Grand Canyon trip did I truly knew that whitewater would be my life. Spending 18 days straight on the river pushing my limits every single day I knew that this was the good life!
Overnighters are the most simple form of living to me...Wake up on the river, cook breakfast, load your boat, gear up, hit the river all day until you find a worthy camp downstream. What can get better than that...the fact that you're normally with a group of awesome people way out in the wilderness far away from the fast pace of 21st century life! Yeah pretty much the greatest thing ever! So with all that in mind all you really have to worry about is what obstacles you face on the water. This lets you completely focus of boating, and this is where I personally progress the most. Day after day, rapid after rapid, just kayaking!
So this summer I was able to get to rally 6 overnight runs...
Royal Gorge of the North fork of the American - 3 days
Dinky Creek of the Kings - 2 days
Fantasy Falls of the North Mokelumne - 2 days
West fork of Cherry Creek - 2 days
The Box Canyon of the Clark Fork - 3 days & 2 days
That's 14 days or 2 weeks of being out on the river away from everything else, enjoying what I truly love to do...KAYAK! I have done most of these runs more than a few times, but the beauty and wild nature of all these rivers still keep me subtle and scared every time I visit. It's a funny feeling to be out there in the middle of nowhere, doing your thing for days on end, get to the take out, and return to "Real Life".
Out there on the river you are the king of the world and master of your destiny. Once you return to your fuel burning car you assume your roll as a pawn in the crazy game of human chess that's being played out everyday. A minion of society defined by wealth and possessions, weather you think you are or not! Spend more time on the river, be the master of your own happiness, and define your own world.
Enjoy some photos from Cali!!!!
EG lining up the massive blind lip of Wabena Falls, the last major drop of the Royal Gorge.
Camped out below some sick slides on Dinkey Creek!!! This is the only beach on the run and it's a bad ass place to spend the afternoon and night.
All sprawled out on the first night of Royal...Rattlesnake camp makes for some excellent scenery and good noise therapy listening to the stouts all night!
Fred Firing off a crazy line on Lower Heath Springs...he got his bow down good and stomped his line.
Fred on the classic Mushroom Boof of Fantasy Falls...I had these boys routing down some big stuff in there!
Scouting Heath Springs with Skippy!
Jared enjoying some Royal on Royal!!! He had a few sips before his first run!
Graham Seiler and Ryan Lucas tandem effort on the Rattler!
Nothing quite like a California sunset...its all the nasty pollution that makes it so pretty, but at least it has one pro.
Ben Brown running what I like to call the steepest mank in Cali...this drops continues for another 500 meters!
Ian Garcia in some very nice granite slides on Fantasy Falls!
Our Crew on good juicy high Fantasy! We had a Eff'in blast...all the boyzzzzzz!
Jared leading off with a pretty descent of Fantasy Falls Proper! The cleanest easiest drop of the run.
Myself on the Fantasy Falls...the wide make the drop look small...it's not :)
The stout gorge above Rattlesnake falls is one of the most unique parts of any river in Cali.
Can't wait till next time!!!!