Monday, June 14, 2010


The last week in Cali has been the best of our trip so far. We started off with a sick day in the Arches national park in Utah on our way home from Vail, then we had a pool party at a mates place.
We then got a little lap on the Slab creek section of the South fork American river - a cool little 4-5 mission.
Thursday saw us back in the UMC (Upper Middle Consumnes) for a sick day of creeking. Unfortunately Josh took himself out of the game trying to plug V-Slide upside down - we had to nurse a very sick, very sore little man out of the rest of the run.Me running what we dubbed 'no lookee' on the UMC (apparantly it has a name but it's way more fun making up your own)

Friday started slowly and we finally made it to do the summit run on the South Yuba which culminates in a sick drop called East meets West which got the hearts going nicely. Mr Neilson organised another party for us to go to down in Clear lake which we did in style and then Saturday dawned.....
The crew scouting east meets west

I pretty much got to live out a life dream - ride behind big mean wakeboard boat and try to huck myself until I blow an eardrum. Turns out Josh's friends came equipped with a sick house, a sick patio boat and an even sicker wakeboarding boat. We hung out all day cranking dance music and watching Wes and Vince throw down some savage tricks behind the boat and even getting to ride a little ourselves.
Me throwing the fronty, pic - Neilson

Vince packing a tantrum, pic - Neilson

We finally managed to drag ourselves away from paradise (it was a tricky decision) and rally to meet B1 and B2 (Barny and Jordy) in Oroville. They had just got off South Branch and were broken so the next day we found ourselves once again in the very capable navigational hands of Mr J Neilson winding our way into the hills once more for one of the runs we've been waiting for all season.... Big Kimshew Creek.
This thing gets talked about in reverent tones by all of the locals and semi-locals alike as being one of the 'big 5' - the five best day runs in Cali. So it was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that we put on at the island portage for a day of adventure.

Josh showing me how to use the go-pro (I didn't really succeed)

The run kicked off in style with the first real rapid having a pushy lead in, to 15 foot auto boof. We then got stuck into a few hundred metres of pretty full on boulder gardens before another set of stacked rapids, some more boulder gardens, some more rapids, some more boulder gardens.. you get the picture??
Then the character changed and went all slidey which was super fun, low stress creeking. After a wee while of this we came to the first big one and the signal of the start of the stouts.
Kimshew falls is a pretty rowdy looking 40-ish footer with some reconnects etc which looks like it might air you out or send you over the bars. We were pleasantly surprised to find it goes a lot better than it looks and all had nice lines.

Kimshew falls from the top - check the stacked gorge below it, swimming would be awesome...

J-dog lining up first and greasing it

Me doing the same - I hit the water at the dream angle and came screaming out upright - soft as bro!!

After the falls was the sick gorge which had so many clean moves - It looked and felt like what I imagine the high sierra runs are like.. fingers crossed.
We portaged around triple drop which is super burly but goes - we didn't have enough time to set up the elaborate safety we thought we needed. After triple drop the river changed character and went 'cracky' - several slots and tight drops led us into the next big one.
Frenchies was named for some dude who bombed in and ran right and got punished as the drop is 30+ feet onto rocks on that side. It involves a portage of the entrance, a seal launch into a pothole and then a strong ferry across to set you up for the line. I was feeling fired up about it and decided to send it. Pulling out of the eddy I set my angle and rolled off a little left of centre. I saw the left flake go past and started to tuck - just as I felt my tail go a little past vert.. Big hit, semi over the bars but I rolled up fine with just a little sore head.

Geting ready for the hit

After Frenchies it was just rapid after rapid after rapid, everything went, hits were taken, rolls were had in dubious spots as we all lost energy. Finally we made it to the take out drop.

As is often the case - J-dog probing the line. In this case finding a rock in the bottom...

Jared buried in the curtain.

Me tired and just falling off. And yes I found the rock too.

This creek was the sickest thing I have ever run and also the sorest I've been at the end of a days boating. I can't wait to go back next time. Hopefully next time won't include the 10km walk out up the locked takeout road, but it's ok - the rose tinted sunnies have pretty much erased the walkout from my memory...