Monday, September 18, 2006

Fruit of Labors

into the void
Upon arriving at the trailhead we are greeted by a couple of old friends. Wild B. Walleye of South Carolina and Fuzzy “The Fuzz” Fuzzington of the southern hemisphere, are packing up their kayaks and getting ready to go for a nice little day hike up to I-Finally-Made-It Meadow; the put-in for Upper Cherry Creek. With the sun starting to make its descent, we quickly follow suit. Godwin and Tubes, equipped with fancy Salamander kayak backpacks, are the first to get started, followed by Captain Ralph, Third Reichhorn, and myself fifteen minutes later. Kris Pistopherson realizes he left his precious fishing pole at the lake, just has to have it, and goes with Broyal on a 45-minute mission to recover it. Already getting a late start for the eight-hour hike, we are a little concerned with their decision, but unwilling to risk our asses, we head on without them.
A hundred yards down the trail; I have already had it with my pool noodle backpack and resort to the classic “porter style” of kayaking schlepping. I push ahead of the Captain and Reichhorn until I make it to a split in the trail and a sign that says “Styx Pass” to the left and one that reads “Kibbie Lake” to the right. Having glanced at the map, I know that the trail goes over Styx Pass before dropping into the river, so I take the left trail. Thinking that everyone had done the same, I don’t wait here for anyone, but press on while the feeling has temporarily left my neck and shoulders. Another few miles and my neck starts cramping so bad that I lye down in an ant’s nest beneath a giant burned-out redwood, and wait for whoever will be next.
granite crevasse from afar

The Captain rolls up a few minutes later and we chow on a couple of energy bars, some goo, and the rest of our water while we wait for Reichhorn.
“Where do you think he is?” The Captain asks me in a somewhat rhetorical manner. I respond with a hell-if-I-know shoulder shrug, and ease into the cockpit of my kayak for a little post lunch rest.
“Let’s take a little nap and he ought to cruise on by and wake us up here in a sec.” I say as the warm sun lulls me into a rather deep sleep for such afternoon as this.
The next thing I know, The Captain kicks my bow and I come to.
“How long do you think we slept?” I ask.
“I’m not sure, but I think it might be a lot longer than we planned.” He replies as he looks to the west to survey the nearly sinking sun.
“Still no Reichhorn, huh?”
“Unless he passed us while we slept, and surely we would have seen that.”
“Yah, surely we would have seen that.”
“We best get some miles under us while we still have some light.”
“Yah, let’s get the fuck out of here.”
We awkwardly remount our kayaks to our backs and heads and make a move for the put-in. I pull ahead again, and force myself into a beast of burden mindset: staring at the ground, trying to reach my happy zen place, and hoping with every step that around the corner will be the river. I cross the mosquito marshes of death, navigate through granite kern maze, and finally reach the edge of the ridge and spot a fire in the valley a mile below. Overcome with joy, I make a beeline for the fire and quickly lose the trail. With dark quickly approaching and the mosquitoes still swarming I make it to the river and let out a primal holler to signal my presence to those who built the fire and are chilling across the river. I receive a similar call in return and hear the voices of Godwin, Tubes, B. Walleye, and Fuzz. Totally exhausted, I cross the river, drag my shit up the bank, and dive into the cool water for a refreshing bath. The Captain appears shortly there after, and we crowd around the fire laying on our cramping backs and wondering where the rest of the crew is. Hours later, Broyal and Kris come stumbling down the hill with their two-bulb LED headlamp, bloody legs and a trail of mosquitoes. This means that at some point they have either passed Reichhorn, or he has gotten lost somewhere along the way. Broyal walks up to the fire, looks around and asks,
“Where the hell is Reichhorn?”
Everyone is silent for a moment and then The Captain replies,
“I am not too concerned about him. He has some purification tablets and I am pretty sure he is carrying his own pot. I just figure we’ll stick around till noon tomorrow morning and, if we have to, run Cherry Bomb the morning after. Surely he will show up by then.”
After our first taste of the scrumtralescent bag meals, we sit around the fire staring up at the stars, half-expecting to see Reichhorn’s headlamp coming down the hill, and feeling glad that he had not been carrying Aquafienda. Sleep isn’t a difficult task as we dream of the wild rapids we will ride the next day.

Tubes, Fuzz, Godwin

We awake to the sun beaming down and illuminating our impressive high sierra camp. I look to the west and see the moon sitting aloft the white granite ridge above us like a giant pale marble about to roll off the hillside. The pool by which we camp is deep and clear, and the rocks provide a nice diving platform for a morning dip.

author, pre-launch

Into the crystal blue pool I flip, finding the water surprisingly warm compared with many of the snow fed rivers I have been on in the past. It is quite the compliment to my morning yerba mate. I keep looking over my shoulder at the hill we had all descended in the last hours of the day before, hoping to see a dot of red plastic making its way down, but every time I scan the horizon, I see nothing. We wait till one o’clock and decide that Reichorn must be terribly lost or already back at the cars, and make the decision to get moving down river towards The Cherry Bomb Gorge.
The top few miles of the river are like riding a little silver ribbon through a white granite paradise. Many low angle slides and a couple steeps ones send Tubes into a state of hyperbolic mania and he laughs himself hysterical as we begin to enter another gorge that provides some bigger, more challenging drops. Around every corner more giant bald domes stand guard to intricate canyons like gates to a goblins castle. It is hard to stay focused on the whitewater at times because of the breathtaking beauty of this magical place.
As the sun is just dipping behind the walls of the canyon, we come to a spot that B. Walleye remembers as the trailhead for the portage around Cherry Bomb. Beyond this point the canyon walls totally commit one to running the entire gorge down to Flintstone camp. B. and Godwin quickly decide to leave their boats, hike their gear around, scout and drop the bomb in the morning.
The thought of taking one more step through that mosquito infested wood sends shivers down my spine, and as I gaze up at the trail going straight over the granite wall in front of me and then back to the river that falls off the face of the earth and into that unknown abyss, I hear Tubes behind me,
“No way in hell I’m gonna hike my shit anywhere right now. I’m going in!” and Fuzz replying,
“Here that, mate! I guess I’ll have a go at it!”
Broyal and Kris quickly follow Tubes and Fuzz off the next horizon line, leaving the Captain and I staring at each other, scared shitless, but not wanting to regret our next decision.
“You want to go?”
“Yeah man, fuck it.”
“Yeah, fuck it. Let’s go. I don’t want to hike my shit around this gorge either.”
So we jump in our boats quickly so as to catch up to the rest of the crew who were about to round the corner and disappear out of our site. We slide into an eddy with them at the edge of the earth, and Broyal laughs,
“Well well well, looks like we got a couple more takers to this after hours party!”
After rolling into everything blind except for Cherry Bomb Falls we come out to see a couple of fellow southerners, calling themsevles Disney Landers, hanging on the rocks at Flintstone Camp. Gotta love it that everyone in there was from the south except one Oregonian, a Kiwi and a pr paddler that decided it would be a good idea to run this river by himself.
“Had any of you guys been in there before?” M. Mouse asks as we walk into Flintstone still high on dropping the C-bomb,
“Uhhhh, I think Broyal had once, but that was three years ago and before his laser surgery so I’m sure it looked completely different, not that he would have remembered it anyway.”
B. and Godwin look at each other as they listen to everyone talk about the majestic inner gorge. I guess the anticipation of waiting through the night was going to be a little too much for them. B. rallies Godwin and Stokesberry to head back up to the top and run that shit while there is still a little light left. The Captain and I decide to go check out the view from the river right side and watch the boys giv’er from over there. All goes well minus Godwin’s scary ass pin and swim in the last slot of the cherry bomb gorge, and everyone heads back to camp for some tasty bag meals. We fall asleep under the stars on the smooth, flat granite as we listen to the teacups quietly thundering just upstream, like a pacifier for the ears.
The Disney Co. are up and out early the next morning after eating everyone’s food and talking about how much more water there was when they came through. The rest of us hang around until noon taking our time and basking in the moment before getting ourselves prepared for what lay in store just around the corner. After a little pre-run scout, we jump into the next gorge, which is highlighted by the “perfect 20” and ends with a big bang called Double Pothole Falls.

would you like some peanuts, sir?

We make our way down the next beautiful set of teacups and then unanimously decide to walk the infamous kiwi in a pocket, which spits one out at the base of dead bear falls. Fuzz is feeling the go-go juice and walks back to the lip of dead bear, and aces a nice 40-foot alligator entrance. The rest of the day is filled with high quality rapids and a few portages due to low flows. The river has really dropped since the day before, and according to Disney, even more since the day before that. Most of everything goes off without a hitch until we get down to the last gorge before the lake.
We approach a river wide horizon and before anyone has a chance to jump out, Broyal drops over the edge. B. remembers the drop and gives a short description to Fuzz while I blindly follow whoever was in front of me off the lip. Turns out to be an easy, near vertical twenty-footer, and I surface at the bottom thrilled to have just plopped off such a nice drop. I turn my boat upstream to watch the surprised faces of the next few probes, and turn back around just in time to see myself floating into the next rapid.
Tubes, Kris, and Broyal are in the pool below giving a confusing paddle signal; wildly waving them back and forth. I am not sure what to think about such a signal (cause everyone knows “stop” is a paddle held horizontally above the head), but it is too late to eddy out, so I wait till I am at the lip, see an upside down blue Gus in the hole, and barely get enough rightward momentum to punch the hole and avoid a cave on the left.
As I land directly on the hull of the boat with a thud, I dig in with the turbo thrusters and pull myself out of the backwash and into the pool. Turning to survey the situation, I see Godwin’s upside down boat surfing a nasty hole backed up by a giant boulder and feeding into a burly, sieved-out cave.
Tubes says,
“I haven’t seen Godwin in while, I think he’s...”
And Captain replies,
“ I am pretty sure I landed on top of him, and the way that boat is cart wheeling, I know that was no rock I landed on. I thought that fucked up paddle signal meant go left; luckily I started out driving right.”
The Captain paddles around the giant boulder just in time to see Godwin swimming out from under the cave at the back of the sieve, and turns around again to see just another kiwi in a pocket.
Fuzz is taking a ride like no other I have ever seen. After The Captain and I land directly on top of Godwin’s boat, B. Walleye and then Fuzz come through and do the same, except Fuzz gets stuck in there too. Apparently he mistook the fucked up signal to mean go left also, and drove straight into the meat. As he surfs, Godwin’s boat is disappearing and then surging from the depths like a great blue whale coming up for air and aimed straight at Fuzzy’s face. He flips a few times, but manages to get back up right, and continues to fight like beast that knows he has met his match. He screams,
“Rope! Rope! Throw me a fucking rope!”
We frantically look around, and see that there is no place to get out and attempt a rescue. I think about popping my skirt and throwing a rope from my boat, but then realize I will be pulled right in there with him. Finally after a good minute, B finds some slack water on the river right, manages to claw up to a tiny ledge, and starts throwing a rope at him. After the fourth or fifth try Fuzz really begins to dig in trying to pull himself past the boulder, and we hear a loud snap. Tubes yells,
“Oh shit, there goes his paddle. His paddle is broken!”
His paddle breaks, as well as his teeth, but he is still holding on for dear life. Finally B. hits him with the rope, he flips again, and everyone grabs the rope and pulls him out. He comes to the surface looking like a wet vampire with his newly augmented grill. Somehow, B. manages to lasso Fuzzy’s boat and we help collect the rest of the yard sale. After catching his breath Fuzz exclaims,
“Fuck, mates. This bitch is hardcore till the very end!”
He opts to walk the last few drops due to his broken paddle, and we make our way over the last few horizons and into the big blue lake. After a thorough safety de-briefing we head across the two-mile lake paddle as dusk is setting in. Upon arriving at the boat ramp on the other side we are greeted by none other than Reichhorn, patiently waiting with the suburban. He had taken the trail to Kibbie Lake, hiked an extra eight miles, survived testical cancer, and spent the night by himself in the mosquito hell fuck near the top of the ridge, before giving up and heading back to the car. Unlucky bastard.
It sure doesn’t take much of that warm beer to get us drunk, but then again, maybe it is the single malt. We camp on the lake, build a big-ass fire, and recount the past three days adventures as the bottles are passed around.
We awake the next morning with stiff hangovers, sore muscles, and ravenous hunger. The other boaters in the area are headed to Cherry Creek “proper”, but we decide to drive into Groveland, get some breakfast “proper” and check levels at the library to see where our next destination will be. The word on the street is that everything is too low, except maybe Hell’s Kitchen, and even that is questionable.
As we wait for the library to open Broyal says,
“Three years ago, when we did West Cherry, Upper Cherry Creek, and The Middle Fork of the Kings in succession, the level on Cherry was higher than it is right now. We headed straight for the Middle Kings after we took off Upper Cherry. It seems we might be in the same position...”

mighty horizon

(Photos courtesy of B. Wallace and B. Meadows. Unauthorized use of anything on this site will result in pain in one form or another. Better ask somebody.)

Friday, March 31, 2006

buena vista

things come and go
like sanity, babies, and snow
you never know
when the blade swings low
and next your ear
you might hear
the swish swash of death
drawing near
what will a person do
hide in boxes
and run from blue
that'd be as near to dieing
as swallow to chew
it impossible to know
the sun, rain and snow
without the truth
that all will come
and all will go.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Want Not

For breakfast we had tequila, trout, and transcendental meditation.
This was a happy time with friends and without the cares of the normal bullshit one must deal with in order to get the trinkets that modern society presented us. I now believe the only thing that one really needs is medical insurance (unless you have reproduced sexually of course or are on the dead beat dad list). Why should we want to not work when we are old? You are too old to do anything cool, so why not work?
Why do people care? Why do people think their ideals are so right. Do they think they are special...get melted down to the bottom of a river in a creek boat about three fathoms, see how special you feel.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Meet my left and my right

Babel Tower before god intervened and invented different languages:

The level was 2.9. Babel to bridge in four hours.

The real men of the day doubled up on it. They know who they are.

Two roads diverged in a wood...

Turns out they both ended up in the eddy.

Prophetic Words

This is the first entry by yours truly Kristopherson Vegas...Don't be alarmed I have been lurking in the shadows watching what has unfolded in the last year. I have escaped from the evil prison run by the turbine testers. A new era shall begin; one fraught with exploits not yet seen be the common man. Point being...I don't give a good damn shit about anything anymore, fuck you. The cursed year of '05 is gone and it should beware the monster it has created.

A band of pilgrims will be gathered and the exodus will soon begin. Save your pennies and look to the horizon. The world of kayaking has seen what a small group of Hamiltonion descent can do in its arena; soon others will too. The world has not yet known a force comparable in academic, cultural, and all around bad-assical heroes as the mythical band known only as TJ.

The call of the lunar influenced sinusoidal rhythm of H2O + NaCl in the liquid state calls, as does the pure form of the blessed polar molecule in the frozen state, piled in crystalline form, atop formations created long ago before the time of man.

...stay tuned and prepare...don't be afraid; our time is short and must be utilized

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Narrowly Escaping The Clutches Of Satan

Ted post horror trip-out sesh
During the dryer days of December The Captain and I went on a scouting mission to the elusive Brush Creek into Roaring Creek. Dubbed "Morgan's Ugly Cousin" by Councilman Cumnock, Brush is a typical plateau run chocked full of sieves and undercuts of mammoth proportions. The investigation revealed some promising drops, spaced between series of gnarled boulder gardens, whose runnabillity would only be known with a full juice bar. The Captain returned with his Rancho Rumbla for some maintenance a few weeks later, and prepared the ditch for its first decent in quite some time.

Jason running from his own demons

With the rains of a few weeks ago, the time had come. I met Ted H. and Jason M. at the Boot around 1:00 pm and we headed to the Seventh Day Adventist compound atop the ridge. As we approached the gates of this impenetrable fortress, I sensed a disturbance in the force. The Great Beelzebubbler had forseen our plans. Realizing that this might be the last day the prophet Aquafienda had seen in her most recent orbit of Landerhoff, we quickly dug a great tunnel under the Adventist's armour by which to access the holy land and where we would bury Ted's vehicle. There would be no use for combustion engines on this tour. As we donned our water suits, I heard a noise coming from the dark void behind us. We gathered our wits and means, and made a dash for the surface. As the light of day again pierced our crania, I turned to take one last look at Ted's mighty four-wheeled stallion, but it was gone. In its place, rising out of the darkness, a mono-winged, wolf-dragon was hobbling toward us at a not-so-alarming rate. He jumped, and batted his wing wildely and came crashing down a few feet further. Again he did this, and as he landed a great thud resonated through the tunnel. Fractures in the earth branched out from his position like growing snowflake arms reaching for the light. He sniffed, snarled, and reared back to stand on his hind legs, flatulating as he did so. From his butt, a plume of black smoke emerged. The dark cloud swirled about his feet and from this nebula miniature flying skulls, with firey eyes and sword tongues, came at us laughing shrilly. It was apparent the Great Beast had shat himself, and as he looked down to asses his mess, we siezed the moment and made a run for the water with the fear of Hades coursing through our veins...

These two drops are in succesion, the one on the right is followed by the one on the left. That is because I have dislexia.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Chucky's Revenge

Back on the blogging scene like a fiend.

Spirits have elevated due to one of the wettest Januarys in a while.

Within the first three days of the new year some Jibbers got out on the shit.
Even New Years three day weekend i should skip work another day to go falling. So el dudes showed up at work to load boats in front of all my coworkers, I told the boss that he was in charge for the day and we were off.

Upon arriving at Raven Fork the level was 16" upon leaving it was 15.5" About halfway down Tubes and I decided the level was optimal and that we didn't think you would want to do it any lower. A few rapids later the third member of our group, Big T, mentioned that the level was a little on the high side of good but he said he didn't want to get our juices flowing too early by telling us before we put on. At any rate the level was fantastic and we had a great day on the water. Only two boats were broken when we decided that we should seal launch in around Mangler instead of sliding into the tree. Tubes said, "hey look how long he is in the air." It was much higher than we expected and much more shallow than expected and everyone had a good laugh as my bow went about three feet into the water before I pitonned and resurfaced with a bent bow with a big stress crack. But I think that was better than Tubes's back jarring boof and Big T's boat breaking launch into the pool below. Next time I'm sliding into the trees. The ole' back can't handle that kind of fun anymore.

Then just last week the Plateau area was greeted with a bit more rain and it awoke the great one from its slumber. A very long slumber it was indeed.

The Bear was running on Wed. and once again I skipped work, or at least most of it, and made way for Lookout Mountain. The gauge was reading 11" but with all the tributaries and ground water coming in it was more like 12" which means Stairway has enough padding for a good run. I was supposed to meet Randy R. for a run down "Brush Creek Proper" but by the time I was done with the first run it was too late to make it to Graysville, so I opted out and went for another run on The Bear. Notice how it is called THE Bear. Very few creeks recieve a The in front of their name and the Bear definatly deserves it. It has big drops and a great boogy section. After the second run I headed north and hiked up Roaring to the confluence with Brush and got footage of the crew running the last drop of Brush. Maybe Randy will give you a report at a later date.

Before, after and during all this Suck Creek was running which is nice because it is so close to town and its roadside. I believe it drops around 245 to 260 feet in its mile that typically gets run. There's always a party at Suck. I think I got burnt out on Suck though I skipped going over there for a couple of days with no regrets. I'll be ready for it to run again but at that time it was getting monotonous and it was helping my skills improve about as much as reading about kayaking on the internet.

Well I guess I'll sign off until next time llueve de de, maybe Randy will tell you what he done did.

Captain Ralph

Monday, January 02, 2006

Welcome to the new era

What the hell do you think is going to change? Maybe your calendar ran out of pages, but I'd say that is about it, otherwise your still fucked.

The polls are in and only one good thing came out of '05- CA trip(2 river sexpedition) Maybe you'll read about it... "Meet my left and my right. Keep it real; represent what? My Nuts!"

All those that matter hope to see a change in the way of things for '06. I hope that today's journey down the trail of tears is not indicative of things to come. Give me a second to refill my vodka.

Got to get the bug fogger out in the morning. Let those little buggers start out a new in '06. The cabin is set to blast at 7:30 am. Everyone has had a little bit of blood letting on there minds. If that's what it takes then so be it.

Here are a few things to not forget in '06 WMDs?, Scooter, Abromoff, Enron etc., The right wing blogger posing as journalist, Please tell me the last time the USA went into a country to spread democracy and was successful?..(i.e. did not result in some form of backlash; examples support of Taliban in war with Russia, support of Pinochet and Noreiga), free speach zones..., ohio/FLA elections, rendition, no bid contracts in Iraq and New Orleans, Abu Ghraib, amount of money vowed to fight AIDS ahh but do not be deceived the liberals will try to fool you as well. Oh, time for more vodka already? Dawgs are on too. As I was always told its not what is reported in the news, its what is not reported that is important.

oh shit I almost forgot this was supposed to be a kayaking blog. Well, don't be a (!) go kayaking if you can. If you think reading about kayaking on the internet is going to make you a better kayaker you are sadly mistaken. If you suck then well, you suck.
Since you clicked here to read about kayaking here is some real old school, illegal, shit to whet your appetite for destruction...

Look forward to Randy R.'s more positive posts