Thursday, September 11, 2008

Middle Kings Mission


The Middle Kings is truly "a river trip of a lifetime". Undoubtedly possesses some of the greatest scenery, rapids, magic, inspiration, and burly-ness I have ever experienced, and I don't think I'm all alone in saying that. Check it out.

Shuttle warriors, Dru Duvall, Joe Barkeley, and myself, beginning our epic 4th of July trip around the Sierras.

We ran out of veggie fuel quicker than expected, and hoped to find some at the Kern River Brewing Company only to find out their brewer was now harnessing the veggie power in his own rig. Forcing us to buy the fossil powered, $5.00 a gallon diesel, which would fuel us to Bishop.

We slept in the South Lake parking lot, after waiting on Joe for an hour to decide what kind of Peanut Butter to buy, only to awake to a swarm of burlers arriving to charge the Kings as well. Demshitz, Jed Selby, and Chilean bro opted for the Mules, but ended up having to carry TheirShitz like the rest of us due to a rock slide at Bisop Pass, which is where the above photo was taken, using a Ansel Adams autographed disposable camera, at somewhere around 13,000'

When you think of the MK hike-in, you immediately think back-pack. I'm here to tell ya'll, you don't need one! I carried my 90lb Jefe the entire way on my head, Sherpa Style, and can honestly sat it was good to go. I actually made rather good time, despite the viscous swarms of skeeters attacking my well-being. Don't forget OFF.

The 7 rivers cover drop being completely styled by our main man Dru Duvall.
Johhny Kentucky fires up one that one else decided to run because it lands on a shelf, and there are plenty of other rapids that don't.

Simply stunning scenery leaves one with a feeling of oneness with the universe.

Joe is a baller, in a pimping pad. We were serenaded to sleep by a giant slide right next to our camp site. Now this is living.

On our second day, we awoke early to get our Charge on, and passed Ryan Casey and Fred Corriel crew at Sik Camp, then caught Team Demshitz at the classic 200' slide. Heres Graham Seiler dropping into the waterfall gorge. They were in a hurry trying to get back to Colorado, but we just kept catching them. This is not a place to be in a hurry.

A nice scenic shot with the paddle that would later break in the Bottom 9, what a suprise... Not! However, the ever-trusty Jefe would stand the test strongly, and keep me safe and dry. Plus, I beleive at my weight of 160lbs, the Jefe performs better with the added weight in the back.
Dru Duvall charges the Big Bad Beaver. Dru flipped when he hit the compression hole in the middle, but it didn't hold him, and Dave Fusilli styled the whole thing. Props for charging it.
Jed Selby models in front of the magnificant Tehipiti Dome. Fantastic place to camp, but paddling 13 miles the day before the Bottom 9 is not the best idea.

After paddling 13 miles our second day on the river, Dru cracked his Nomad, and had to weld her back up with a camp stove. You do what you gotta do to get through.
Johnny Kentucky shows a warning sign of what was later to become, a bad swim in the Bottom 9, which resulted in a lost boat and hike-out after paddling 2 of the bottom 9 miles.
Typical sight on the Bottom 9... long, continuous, boulder-clogged, steep, unforgiving rapids, which I enjoyed the most out of the entire run. I guess I just love read and bombing type rapids.
Good morning Middle Kings! We made it through the Bottom 9 and set up camp to find Kentucky emege from the jungle looking like a brutalized Tarzan.
We opted for the Garlic Falls run instead of hiking out at Yucca Point, which Kentucky had to do alone, without a ride, and no cell phone. The Garlic Falls section proved to be a killer section of river with big water style waves and holes. Dru led us into this rapid above blind and he got worked like Freddy does in 7 rivers, but luckily I boofed the middle rock by intuition, and pointed for Joe and Jason to do the same. However, Joe read my signal as far river right, and boofed the rock in front of the spray in the top of the picture, but Jason got pulled back into the wicked pocket hole, forcing him to wet exit. Now 3 out of the 5 us had swum on the Kings, including myself due to the broken paddle in the Bottom 9.
The site of my car never looked so good after 5 days of Middle Kings Full Throttle style action.

Luckily, Kentucky found a ride out of Kings Canyon to Fresno, where we, by intuition, found him trying to hitch-hike back to Sac at this McDonalds.
As you can see, we were stoked for our 300 mile shuttle ride back to Bishop, having just completed the Middle Fork of the Kings at a "high side of good" flow with some stellar bros.

Until next time. Charge on fellow brothers and sisters.

Peace-- Will

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sierra Surfing

Greetings fellow earthlings,

I hope you all have had a wet and wonderful summer, as I have. Here are some photos from my kayaking adventures in California. Big thanks to Kevin Smith for taking the sweet shots. I also want to add that the title of this long post comes from the book I've been reading called Surfing the Himalayas, and has some amazing insights on how to become one with your board, kayak, or whatever you find yourself doing. A very good read indeed. Basically, to become one with your kayak, you must stop thinking about kayaking and just do it... or thats what Enlightened Master Fwap suggests.

Gittin me some in the Gus on Dry Meadow.

Squeezing through the crack.

Stomping her down into one of the Teacups.

Local BA Eric Giddens charging it whilst his wife Rebecca films... Nice view Eh

Rebecca Giddens shows us some fine olympic caliber form.
Sure are alot of peeps at a creek most haven't heard of in the Kaweah Drainage... Clover Baby!

Haven't seen anybody run these bad boys. Although they look super good to go... more water would be better.

Slippin sliddin down a sweet slide on Clover at around 9000 feet. The water is frigid!

Finishing the day with yet another super smooth slide on Clover.... get this bad boy early in the season when Hospital Rock is too high. Its up near the Giant Forests of Sequioa. Park n´Huck.
Heres Eric boofing through the 420 gorge on the fine Hospital Rock of the Middle Kaweah.

Kevin from Mammoth...our photgrapher.
You can barely see Luke from Mammoth going Zero to Sixty on middle Kaweah.
Me, myself, and I staying High and Dry on the Hospital Rock.

Here we are on the not-talked-about-much Cataracts of the Kern. Can't beleive this thing is roadside, damn released, and Class V and not many people hit it. Except the Giddens of course.
I dropped my HD camera in the river moments before this... hence, not much footy this summa... what a bumma.
Dinky Creek has some stellar rapids!

My boy Tim Collins firing up Wet Willy on Dinkey!

Nice 20'er followed by a not-so-nice seive... I probed and set safety for the boys. Sketchtron...

Heres Luke recovering the boats after the classic portage on Dinky. Note: not the only mando porto... watch out for an almost landbridge, followed by a knarly unrunnable... I almost ran.

Tim Collins getting some breakfast slide action.

El Jefe doing what it does best... Charging!

Stomping is so much fun... even on small drops.

I led the boys off the perfect waterfall in the background blind, and they loved it. All smiles :)

This is the moment I live for... dropping into a perfect 20'er completely blind yet fully awake.
As Kevin found out, the river left side of this falls is rather sticky.

Nikki Kelly is one bad mamma jamma, and she got worked in this one, so I decided to sneak her. Still Fun though.

Hope you enjoyed these captured moments. Can't wait till next time. See you on the river.

Peace, Love, and Enlightened Kayaking-- Will Pruett