Saturday, July 30, 2005

the yo-yo effect

After deciding to adventure on our own following the West Cherry Creek Expedition, Shanna and I set out towards Ventura, CA to start some preliminary odds and ends work for Naturalist at Large. Although our jobs don't start officially until August 25th, we called in to the office and were granted some work in the warehouse--restacking, packing, and resupplying for the upcoming season.
Ventura is a small town far enough outside of LA that the town hasn't assumed the hectic insanity which cities of LA's size inevitably have. The cool sea breezes move in to drop the day and evening temperatures to very comfortable mid 80's highs and 60's lows.
Our time in Ventura was enjoyable, the work not too mind numbing, but we were on the road again as a late night call from Amos Shuman changed all plans with the words: "Middle Kings is dropping in."
The Middle Fork of the Kings river is an epic trip: a day-long 15 mile hike in to LaConte Canyon over 12,000 ft. high Bishop Pass, followed by five days of continuous whitewater.
Polk Deters has joined the usual crew of Mefford, Robin, Toby, and Amos with Shanna running ground support, and Mr. Deters is more than fired-up as he has been pursuing this particular river unsuccessfully for the past eight California whitewater seasons.
The unpredictability of the river's fluctuating flow that has resulted in Polk's frustrations until this year has the crew chilling and killing time in Bishop waiting for our adventure to drop into the perfect water levels.

Until those levels are reached we will be pursuing all possible mischief in the area.

photo by Robin Betz

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

south silver

Left off the blog completely we didn't tell our story of the often paddled south silver creek.
The put-in slide, Autobaun. Shanna enjoying her ride down in a borrowed boat.

photo by Mefford Williams

Still sliding.

photo by Mefford Williams

Still Sliding

photo by Mefford Williams

Further down the river we found our way into the tea-cups. Shanna enjoyed the tea-cup section more than Amos, Toby, or myself. (Upside down in the wrong spot is always ; ) fun.)

photo by Mefford Williams

The day before we hiked-in late in the evening to high water levels, which ended in a hike-out immediately following autobaun, the put-in slide. This day the water was still a little high, but we pushed through 'til past the portage after sky scraper rapid(not pictured).

Stay tuned for more adventures. Same blog time. Same blog channel.

Monday, July 25, 2005

success monkey

After a long and hard fought struggle the photos are once again working.

photo by Mefford Williams

Saturday, July 16, 2005

shanna's epic south fork merced adventure

Happy to be back safe and sound! The South Fork Merced proved to be an epic overnight adventure. The crew (Robin, Mefford, Amos, Toby and I) put in on July 7 for what would prove to be one of my lifes most challenging adventures so far. July 7 was a typical California summer day...Freekin Hot and sunny. We put on and paddled 8 miles of the most challenging whitewater I have experienced with everyone boat scouting. It was an awesome day with lunch on a beach a really long slide called superslide and an eddy I couldn't paddle out of. After drying and organizing gear, eating dinner and setting up home for the night Mefford and I called it a good day and slept comfortably on our little sand dune. Bright and early the next morning we awoke to a feeling of tension and stress. Three of the 10 or so kayaks that were parked neatly behind a rock, had floated down stream in the night when the water came up. My brand new Jefe was part of that band of fugitive kayaks and had taken all of my gear with it. This left me with one option. Have myself a pity party, grab some supplies(chosing not to take a sleeping bag) and start hiking the 8 miles upstream to the put-in. I hiked, climbed, scrambled, jumped, cried, swam, yelled and fought my way as far up stream as I could until it got dark. I encountered 2 rattlesnakes, 1 lizzard, 2 piles of bear poo and some bear tracks before building a fire to keep warm by at night. Should have taken the sleeping bag.
Mefford and I ended up resting about 200 meters away from each other for about 2 hours before dawn broke when Mefford found me and walked with me back to the put-in where we called the forest service to call off the missing person search that would begin for me at 6:30am. I was well other than being exhausted, aching, and knowing I had romped through lots of poison oak. It was a challenging adventure in that I performed many feats without gear that I would have been scared to perform with gear and I spent a cold night in an unfamiliar place by myself. Very invigorating and confidence inspiring in afterthought. I would like to thank Robin for her generosity of letting me borrow her Nike ACG booties. I couldn't have done it so safely without them. Thanks Robin, I love ya girl! I also want to thank Amos for paddling my new slightly modified Jefe out of the gorge and the crew for also recovering my sprayskirt and an elbowpad. Don't have any photos of this time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

south fork of the merced preview

Adventures have been left and right since the Royal Gorge, from vacationing at Ed and Suzanne's in Sacramento on one end of the comfort spectrum to our epic on the South Fork of the Merced.

The Merced River drainage falls west out of Yosemite on it's way to the Pacific Ocean. We drove in to the area and spent an afternoon swimming and playing around in Bear Creek, the site of my epic adventure earlier in the summer.

Smiles had by all:

photo by Mefford Williams

photo by Shanna Powell

The much lower water level allowed us to literally crawl into the waterfall and climb up inside a pothole behind and to the right of the veil.

photo by Toby MacDermott

On July 7th we set shuttle and drove into Yosemite to put-in at the only legal put-in within the park's boundaries, leaving one car down at the take-out: the confluence of the South Fork and the Main Merced.

Our trip down the South Fork would turn out to be quite an adventure. Stay tuned for Shanna's version of this overnighter turned double overnighter extravaganza.

disaster monkey

Unfortunately we are currently experiencing technical difficulties with posting photos. We've been hesitant to put up the stories we've finished writing and photo-ing but have decided to post sans photos until we solve our problems.
Just think of it as extra incentive to read. Thanks for staying tuned-in; we have our best staff working 'round the clock to bring only the best to you dedicated subscribers.

Friday, July 01, 2005

royal gorge-the paddling perspectives

The Royal Gorge of the North Fork of the American is not the section most California map readers know; we put-on far upstream in illegal territory.
Robin, Amos, Toby, and I have just finished our three day river adventure which featured among other excitements: trespassing, boofing, plugging, seal-launching, and general river schinanigans.

photo by Mefford Williams

Our first day featured beautiful box canyons in dark basaltic rock in the early morning cold, emerging into white granite and the hot California sunshine by mid-day. Around two-o'clock we arrived where Shanna hiked in: Rattlesnake Falls, and set up shop for the night. After putting on at 6:30am, we were ready for some serious chillin' time.

photo by Toby MacDermott

One of the previously mentioned river schinanigans included a first day broken boat. My well traveled blue GUS had seen better days and needed to be held together with duck tape and zip-ties to handle its eight inch crack in the hull. With good impromptu repair skills and a little imagination we held her together for the three day trip:
Here I am breathing some life into the old girl:

photo by Toby MacDermott

For the second day we had some quality rapids with a clean twenty footer for breakfast and a mandatory twenty foot plus plugger for brunch, that we each enjoyed greatly.
Amos, brunch:

photo by Toby MacDermott

Robin, same:

photo by Toby MacDermott

Stopping for a group photo to signify our first multi-day river expedition, we set the timer on Toby's camera:

Goofing off, of course, was impossible to avoid as we mocked an IR add by another south eastern local:

photo by Toby MacDermott

That's the love for now. Look forward to more adventure stories and pictures later.