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 adventure...next time.