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California Trip Report '07

Summer '07 is game-time for researching the River Gypsies' Guide - our first stop is California to check out some Sierra classics. Here's the report:

Two more really big rapids follow - "3 Doors" and "4 Deaths".

Greg in the second door of "3 Doors".

Jim running the 3rd door.

Greg in the bottom drop of 4 Deaths.

Jim in the bottom drop of 4 Deaths.

Below there the run became a never-ending epic of scouting sieve littered class V boulder piles for miles. We would often have to climb high up the granite slabs on the sides of the canyon to see if any of the various blind slots available were clean. Many routes were closed off due to the low level, meaning we would sometimes have to hop out above sieves on mid-river rocks and portage over to finish the rapid in a different channel. Time dragged on.

In the end, it was about 8:15 when we arrived at the lake, still facing a 4 mile paddle and then a one mile hike out that we knew began with roping our boats about 50 feet up out of the lake bed. We were thinking this might end up with us camping by the side of the lake and waiting for some light to find the way out in the morning. When we arrived at the lake, we took our first few strokes into the flat when a woman called out to us from the shore: "I suppse you'll be needing a boat ride?"

We were stunned. We tried to play it cool, but we told her that we would of course need a ride. She called out to her sons to load our boats onto their pontoon boat and to mix us up a batch of Mojitos. We had Friday night cocktails on the boat as we cruised away the remainder of our daylight and 4 miles of lake on the boat. The woman was known around those parts as the "Queen of the Middle Fork." She had been through Bald Rock Canyon at low water in summer on a tube. We had a great time getting to know them on the boat, and managed to get our boats hauled up the steep bank to the trail just as the light ran out.

After a steep uphill walk on a faint trail in the dark, we arrived at the truck tired but glad to have the adventure accomplished.

Having wrapped up our last creeking mission in California, we headed over to do some play on the Lower Tuolumne and the Chili Bar section on the South Fork of the American.