If you ever see a red neck ask a hippy to explain Karma, sit back and open a beer.
One of my favorite things about kayaking is exploring new areas that are fairly inaccessible by any other means. I just got off a trip that exemplified why I love kayaking. Also, the trip was a showcase of things just working out.
Likely tens of thousands of folks have passed by the take out to the creek, but as far as I could track down beta, very few teams had ran it since its first descent years ago.
On my way in I tried to track down some local guides to run my shuttle. Nothing was happening so I figured I would just figure it out latter. On the way to the put in, I saw some folks running a river I was driving alongside. I did a lap with them and after we were done, Mikkel (who just did awesome in the Northfork Championship, and is the fastest boater through class V I have ever seen) and his fiance Lianne volunteered to drive my truck to the take out.
They departed and I was left with 4 days of food, my kayak and maybe 40 miles to go to the put in. So, I stuck out my thumb. After only a few hours I made it to the nearest town. Luckily I brought some money and I started drinking some beer at the bar (where everyone was drinking key ice?!). Lo and behold after a few beers, I had a ride to my put in. The driver says I probably need to bring some beer, and I did.
Well, after a hour or so we get to where I will start hiking the next day. Luckily the hot springs there is hosting a Red Neck bachelor party. The incongruity of the hippy hot springs operators, and red neck revelers was excellent. I proceeded to drink a lot of beer, recreate and retired to my sleeping bag.
(insert image of a bunch of lifted trucks with atvs on trailer behind them with he early morning clouds hanging low in the valley)
During the night I managed to convince one of them, Eli, that I wasn't a hippy and he volunteering to drive me in as far as he could. (I thought I had a photo of the rhino with my kayak on the back, but apparently not) After more morning beers, we romped the Rhino into the hills. However after only a few miles we were stopped by a tree across the trail. Time to start hiking.
The hike was beautiful and took maybe a half a day.
The rapids picked up after a few miles with some SSV style low volume steepness.
Then the first gorge came up. Supposedly through here it is around 400fpm. It was steep for sure.
There were some fun micro gorges below (wish I could put in the photo, but it says I have too many)
Then it mellowed for a few miles before a beautiful camp
Then came the crux gorge. It started with this:
I walked. The run out had some goods though (note the height of water behind the ledge in the forefront, it did this for maybe 1/8 mile):
Then I hit the second V+ and decided to walk that too. However I choose the wrong side. I ended up going up, and up, and up, trying to get around a cliff band. The walk was sort of unpleasant.
Here is where I wish I had someone else with me. I have a bad habit of putting my head down and just plugging onward. A partner would have said, "WTF are you doing." Had it not been 80 degrees out, I probably would have walked up and over into the next drainage. I retreated, ferried across and did the portage in thirty minutes.
Then the miles of goods followed.
And continued (The scale seems weird in these photos, but that's an 8 ' ledge)
And then I floated out to my car. I was pretty stoked to find that even in the days of the go pro beta reals, adventure can still be had on a 40 mile wilderness run.