Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Good As Cherry Pie

What can be said about Upper Cherry that hasn't already been said about sex...it's pretty much the best thing ever. Well maybe? Anyways this was a trip to be remembered. The hike in was started at 5 a.m. to avoid the heat that has been consuming the entire state of California. It took me 6 hours to get to the put-in, which is longer than my normal 4 to 5 hour trek when I'm in better shape. Nobody got lost and we all dropped in to Wonderland to join Alice for a few days. We had food for 2 nights and 3 days, so we hit all the goods down to Flinstones camp and parked it for a few moons.

Brad and I taking up the rear on the hike. We stopped a few times to shoot some video and enjoy the morning light.

Bradley so skyed to see the putin from the trail...we got there about 11-12 with plenty of time to get through The Bomb to camp.

The Upper section is very wide and beautiful. Low angle slides get you warmed for the steeper good downstream.

Flinstone camp is the best place on the planet! You can either hike your boat 45 minuets upstream or just paddle across your private lake and run laps a huge slide into 6 perfect teacup waterfalls. Then rest your head on a bed of California stars...mmmm that sounds nice now right? Well it is hahaha, you have to get there sometime in this life!

Myself ready to go skipping out of the base of Cherry bomb.

Jared "Saomo" getting his third lap on Cherry bomb.

Hiking up from the Flinstones lake to go hit up some drops.

Hiking up from camp to do an afternoon session of sliding and waterfalling.

Everybody getting ready to have a playful race from the top of the slide to camp.

Leading a massive crew on a madbomb through the jedi-slide.

Busting a freewheel on one of the countless laps I did on this amazing section on tea-cups.

Coming back to the camp lake from being in heaven.

The whole crew getting some late night marshmallows! This one brings me back...

This little guy was waiting for the hiking in crew under a log...lucky he just ate a bird so he could attack!

Anyway back to our run. We did 3 laps on Cherry Bomb gorge, countless runs of the teacup section, and ran everything out to the lake expect the main line on Dead Bear falls...which we seal launched into from the river right. It was my personal first time running "Kiwi in a Pocket" and it went very smooth...what a good drop that is! After an amazing three full days of Cherry Creek madness we finally made it back to Cherry lake and our stinky van...spending that much time out there really makes you realize how fucked up places like Fresno really are! Human kind has built some very terrifying things on this earth and that place is one of them. The Photos are by Toni and Bradley hope you enjoy them there are more coming soon I don't have the good ones yet!

Later E.G.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beast fork of the Kaweah

With a good hard trip of portaging and running gnar on West Cherry we headed to the chillest spot in Cali...Three Rivers. Well it's not the chillest because it was 105 degrees everyday we were there, but it's the most mellow and quality place to lay back, tan, run the shit, and enjoy the real kayaker lifestyle. The Hideaway campground is $5 a night with free internet and showers. The camp is also only 3 miles below the confluence of the Middle fork and East fork of the Kaweah rivers...so it's a good place to be!

This was only about 10 minutes before the Yosemite park rangers came and give us tons of shit for inspiring young kids to jump the bridge. That's what Demshitz do, Inspire the youth to be better people :)

Jamie and Josh enjoying the little things in life!

Standing tall on Double Drop just a few rapids up the canyon from its bigger brother.

Cranking the biggest stroke of calm green water before dropping into the mawl of Tripple Drop.

Flying into Dead Man's Ally of Tripple Drop as most people know it. This is one of my favorite boofs in the world.

Sometimes you just got get a little dirty...Fugly Falls.

This is such a fun little set of drops...the entry looks like nothing but packs a punch and good piton if run wrong.

A nice break for lunch at the cleanest 12 footer around.

Brenden Bayly in too deep on Fugly Falls.

Sanga with a very enthusiastic boof after a small lunch break...got to love the heart.

B-Unit coming hot into the Trippler...he had nice lines both days. He is a school teacher on the North Island on the Holiday break.

Rolling with a van and subi full of Kiwi's I was once again the only American on the trip. This is not a bad thing because these guys know how to kayak and live life. Chill vibes rolled through camp as we did two day in a row on the Lower canyon of the East Kaweah. This run is one of my favorites in the state. When the level is right the rapids are sticky and big, but some of the cleanest best drops you can find. With flows from 900-800 we did my two favorite runs down this river of my life. I ran a new drop for me...I call it the "Toxaway slide" because it resembles a big slide from that river, but with a terrible looking over hanging wall near the bottom. I ran it almost all fine with a flip through the hole at the bottom..."you win some you loose some" they say, but "no harm or foul" as well! Along with that we did a few runs down the huge triple drop and ran a drop they called "Fugly Falls". The East fork was at its absolute prime flow to say the least.

After a few days of chillin' and running this amazing section we still had some time before we wanted to drop into Upper Cherry so we hung around and had one of the best days of my Cali carrer...foreshadowing...!!!!

Later E.G.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Waterfall Chasing 2010

After the North Payette I went back to Oregon and met Pat Keller and a photographer named Lucas Gilman. He followed us around the state as we scouted and ran some pretty amazing big stuff. Candace and I drove them around and enjoyed the high life once again at the Wells House! Big Thanks once again to the Wells Family for being such a huge help this season. You guys are the best...I can't wait to come visit again! Maybe we'll stay in the tree house this time :)

Anyway I got on facebook yesterday and saw that Lucas posted some shots from the trip, so here they are...enjoy them this guy is a world class photographer IE he makes his living and pays all the bills with his camera...pretty cool! Candace's shots with a more stories will be posted sometime soon or maybe seen in Kayak Session later this summer!

Pat destroying Koosah falls on the Mackenzie river outside Eugene, OR.

The oh so massive Sahalie Falls up stream of Koosah...this was the biggest drop of the trip...Pat ran it right before me with a great line as well.

A cool sequence of Jesse Combs running Metlako falls in Cascade Locks, OR.

Same shot of Myself running Metalko for my forth time...Candace's shots from this day can be seen here "Candace's shots of Metlako."

Fish eye shot of my third run of the Upper Lewis Falls near Trout Lake, WA.

Hope you enjoyed checking out the shots as much as we did getting them! Thanks for the shots Lucas...check out his website here at Lucasgilman.com . Have fun and remember just like Biggie said, "The Sky is the Limit".

Later E.G.

Friday, July 16, 2010

West Cherry & Graceland

After a huge run in Royal Gorge and taking a few days off paddling to celebrate 4th of July I was ready to hop back on it and go boating again. The levels of Dinky and Fantasy Falls dropped fast with a few crews hitting both over the Holiday weekend. It was kind of a toss up on what to do next, but over the years it is a natural move to head for West fork of Cherry Creek. It has been two years since I got on this run last. Myself and a group of South Easterners got there and bagged the second descent of the massive put-in slide named "Graceland" after John Grace's ballsy first descent.

This time I met back up with my kiwi boys from Royal and rallied a huge possie down from Coloma to Sonora. Camping in some of the worst mosquitoes I have ever seen we got our boats and carrying systems ready for the big hike in. We left the Box Springs trail head early in the morning and made the 4 miles to the canyon rim in a few hours. From there you have a nasty descent to the rivers edge. Manzanita and steep rocks make the walk very hard and tiring. Once we got to the river we all left our gear and continued to hike up stream a half hour to the monster slide we could see the entire hike down.

The crew walking through the mosquitos and over the granite to the put in.

The first view you get of Graceland slide...it looks so big from there, makes for a scary walk down to the river.

We got up there and the slide looked scary and massive, but there is a very noticeable good line all the way through the drop. I was ready to give it a second go! I scouted the line through the top very carefully so I didn't go off line and hopped in my kayak above the unbelievable horizon line.

Coming into the ski jump going super fast. What a view from there!

Catching some huge air in the middle. The money shot!

After the crux all you have to do is ride down the bottom bouncy slide with out screwing up.

Scrape....scrape....bounce...bounce...speeding up quick...going fast....flying through the air...more sliding fast...boom trany hit...picking up sped again...bounce...bounce....bounce! That's about what it's like to run this drop. I have reached this speed in my kayak a few times before, but very very few times. I was so stoked to have run this enormous rapid again i my life time! I had a good line so it got Bradley ready to go big and run it as well.

Brad going huge of the flake...this is my favorite photo I have ever seen of this drop. It give you an idea of the true nature of the slide.

Brad and I stoked to be at the bottom...ready to watch B go!

Brad looked so sweet through the whole top section...he caught so much air off the huge ski jump and came into the next crux to center. With an unlucky line he caught the only steep flake in the trany and pitoned his kayak a little bit. With a quick roll he was back upright and heading very fast down the bottom half of Graceland. It was good to see some more people step up to this drop because it is so big that I think a lot of people that are capable of running it just write it off as "Too Big"!

Brenden Bayly looking small at the top of the slide...one of the most spectacular locations for a huckfest in the world. Look at that dome.

Brendan Bayly, who paddled with a ton in 2007, was back in Cali for a few week and fired up to get some quality boating once again. He saw our lines and wanted some for himself. B ran a different line at the top. Instead of coming left to right, he started off far right the whole time. He had an incredible line through the whole drop. Going very fast and staying upright he was very fired up at the bottom after about 30-40 seconds of serious class "gnar" boating.

Leaving Graceland with a nice boof.

After dealing with the entire hike in and huge slide we set off downstream towards camp. There is a great/mank section of whitewater that comes next. This time around I didn't portage any drops in this section! I was stoked on that, but did take a few unusual hits in there...it maybe the steepest mank in Cali??? After that we conducted a few portages around some terrible sections of river before paddling maybe a mile more to camp. It was a long day and had plenty of action to make us very hungry and sleepy.

Bradley boofing at the top of a nice set of drops on day 2.

Day 2 starts off good with lots of fun warm up slides. Then the classic West Cherry drops come. Some nice tiering slides and huge boofs lead you to the terrible 30 foot pothole. Which I always walk after my extraction from the pothole in '07. Then come some big mank slides that lead to the "Charlie Beavers Mega Rapid."

Charlie Beavers Mega Rapid!

B and I gave it a go and had good lines taking some hits and running the rest of the stacked up huge gorge well. It goes like this big entry slide, 15 footer to 25 foot slide, nasty curler slide, and a mank boof to slide. The whole drop comes together as one of the biggest pieces of whitewater in Cali, good shiat! After getting through the next few miles we arrived at the huge portage to Upper Cherry Proper. It take a while and it was extremely hot as we walked our asses off. Once in U.C.C. we enjoyed high water through some of the lower gorge of the creek. There are some huge slides, huge holes, and a few portages in there. It is one hell of a section of river at these levels!

Arrival at Cherry lake ends the adventure of West Cherry. It is not everybodys favorite run, but to me it is insanely beautiful, has one of the most massive slides in the world, great camping, and hard whitewater...what more can you ask for?

The back of "Mum" we got it all Demshitz'ed out!

Gringo driving shuttle.

The LVM guys called it..."The best kayak assisted backpacking trip in the Sierras."

Later E.G.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Royal Flush

For a long time people have recognized The Royal Gorge on the North fork of the American to be one of the most hard core and committing runs in Cali. Big water fall fiends have come from all over the globe to test their skills on these sets of massive drops. For a good reason...running 80 foot drops is one thing, but to do it with 3 days of gear in your kayak and out in the middle of no where, is a whole different game.

For this post only, I will type the approximate height to each falls in parenthesis like so...(?) to clarify any questions.

I myself have done this Multi-day High Sierra trip three times before this year...each time I went in I ran something bigger. My first trip in 2006, all I ran the first falls of Heath Spring gorge (40) and then walked every other big drop out there. I still had an amazing trip. Then in 2008 I ran Rattlesnake falls...a drop dead gorgeous granite 50 footer half way through the main gorge. Then returning with my Demshitz homies last year I ran Heath 1 (40) Heath 2 (60) Rattlesnake (50) and Wabena falls (70). So there is a natural curve here, the problem is that once you have gone that big before it's hard to say you wanna do it again.

This year I had just returned from a huge huckfest up in the Northwest so I was already in the right state of mind to go big. I was also really excited to get in the gorge and see what I felt like falling off. So after a bit of waiting and getting a group together, I met up with some great friends to run the Royal Gorge once again.

The run started off going well. We didn't get hassled by the land owners, and made it through all the mank with ease. After the mank clears, about a mile of good class IV-V drops come before you get to the big horizon that marks Heath Spring Gorge.

Getting to the first big thing of day 1 exciting as heck and ready to go...scouting Heath Springs Gorge.

The first drop, Heath 1, has quite a long stout entry that you can choose to run or walk...a few of us ran it with some good lines and off the infamous fall into the wall we went...

Turn out of the eddy and hold a long stroke to set your angle. This drop is the one that always gets run, but that doesn't mean it's easy.

Stomping her down for a nice angle of entry...

What an epic way to start off a huckfest this truly is...so money! Then if you are feeling up for some craziness you have a 60 footer that lands in a box canyon only a few feet below you. This drop is the most committing rapid of the whole run. If you decide to go, you are faced with a huge freefall into a locked in small, with a 15 foot exit slot immediately below. The level looked good and I had a partner in crime to join me for some lemming style safety. Fire in the hole!

"Heath 2" The line to run here is far right against the and get buried by two nice curlers, making for a soft landing and keeping you on the right side of the pool to exit far from a nasty looking cave. My line was good and I went pretty deep glad to see my spray skirt stayed on! Drew wanted to run it as well so I stayed in the small eddy and waited for him to drop in.

Drew Duval running the 2nd Heath fall...Big time!

Drew's skirt did not stay on...so with luck he made the quick move in to the eddy so Will Pruet and I could help him out of the river. A quick empty and off we went to rid ourselves of the burden of being so locked in.

Exiting the second Heath falls with a big late boof stroke to free your self of this dark place. This is a bad ass move that puts you in a calm place before the "Crux Gorge".

Crux Gorge is the tail end of the Heath Springs gorge...this has terrifying boulder drops all locked in a tight Colorado like box canyon. We entered with caution and made out way through the powerful maze of stout sievey drops. This was a big part of the run already behind us and in my opinion the scariest section of the Royal Gorge. After that the river changes into some really nice smooth granite and falls into a great set of drops before Rattlesnake falls and camp site number 1.

The famous turn and burn slide above the hikers bridge.

Bradley getting some Royal Treatment in the box gorge above Rattlesnake.

All the homies rallying down a serious tight spot in the river.

After Heath Springs and getting our groove on in the nice smooth section I was just as hungry as when I put on. The level was perfect to launch of the Rattler! 4/6 of our group ran the drop in the evening with a slightly higher flow than in the morning. The other 2 people ran it after breakfast as well. This was the first trip I had been on where my entire group ran Rattlesnake!!!!! Good Stuff!

My personal best line out of three runs off Rattlesnake...I ran it in the afternoon when we got to camp...letting the fire roll downwards from Heath gorge.

Camping at Rattlesnake is one of the best place you can ever find yourself... sleeping with the roar of the falls, beautiful scenery, granite chairs, and pre made fire ring make it a top 5 Cali camp on my list. The next day starts off mellow for a while before making it down the perfect 20 and some quality granite stashes. Next up and the drop I had been thinking about for too long...Scott's Drop!

I didn't get any photos of me running the Scott's, but great video! I scouted it for a while, but already knew I wanted to run this thing. I sent all of the group, but Drew, down to the bottom to run safety and take media. After a lot of thinking I sat in my kayak and focused on the task at hand. A very powerful and extremely hard 40+ foot falls was the first move...quick aerated water moved into a cascade that rivaled any manky big slide out there. So I paddled hard hitting my line off the top falls and landing about 70 degrees with a boof stomp quickly entering the hall way above the next slide in control and fine...with a slight mis-calculation, I boofed the big hole more middle than I wanted slowing up on a rock hanging off the left shore, taking my right to left momentum...I hit the big flake near the end and was bucked vertical. What I didn't do is scout the whole drop! I thought the last drop was into a clean pool...wrong! There is a small ledge hanging out into the pool from the right wall. I landed slightly hip checking the rock. The impact was big and my right knee and ass were out of my kayak before I knew what happened. I swam! Dam!!!! But I was still very pleased with my line and made it through the drop in alot more control than I thought...A big thumbs up to Drew and we all watched as he fired it up as well.

Celebrating life after completing the crux move of The Royal Flush...Scott's Drop! Maybe 100 feet tall???

Drew had a different approach and took two paddle strokes off the top falls...his righty took his boof away and put him way over the bars off the top falls. He went deep and rolled up far left in the hallway. Getting his shit together quick he paddled hard and droped into the center of the hole only to get pushed hard right and hit the same flake that took me. With all his angle he kicked over sideways and landed face first on top the ledge i hit the side of. A kiwi buddy wrote on his blog "He got the equivalent of a curb stomping." We were scared he had K.O'ed himself until we saw him swim. All 6 of his front teeth were either gone or terribly crack and broken. Ehhhh!!!! Yeah we got our shit together and started heading down stream.

After running a few miles including a great 20 footer...we arrived at Wabena falls. This is the final drop of the Royal Gorge proper. Drew wanted to get out of the river to safety that night, so him and Will just rallied down stream to take out.

I had a mission...to become the first bastard to run all the big drops on the river in one the same trip. This drop was now the only thing in my way. I scouted it and looked at my line for a while. I knew at this flow it was not as easy as last years higher water. The flake 15 feet down the lip was kicking a bit more and the pool looked like a harder hit. But all and all it looked good to go...

Getting to the pool above Wabena falls, this rapid is scary due to the fact your above a wilderness 70 footer.

Lining up down the boily ramp, please don't hit that flake weird!

Elbows out ready to huck the paddle away...trust me you don't want your paddle here.

Yeah grab that cockpit and tuck it up!

It was perfect! Handsroll and all I was fired up as it gets!!!!! My excitement turned into down stream progression as we did need to paddle 25 more miles of whitewater before we were all good. Once we arrived to camp, I was sore and one happy happy little boy. A huge goal of mine was accomplished over those two days and I don't get proud of my self very often, but this night I was flying high while eating my mashed potatoes and pre-cooked brats!

Camping in Generation Gap once we finished off the Royal Gorge...we still had 25 miles of paddling to go. It was a long 3rd day like normal and we got to the take out to see our cars waiting for us just as we left them!

When I got home and sat down with my lady and little dog we watched footy and saw pictures of an amazing few days of there. Thanks to all my paddling friends that made this mission possible and Toni for shooting the photos of the trip. Thanks to Drew for firing it up with me...I hope you are all good and happy with you new teeth! You the man Duval! I decided that I would call running all the big drops and canyons of the Royal Gorge..."The Royal Flush"

Later E.G.