The past two weeks have been epic out here in the high sierra country of California. With the huge snowpack and cold weather of the spring, it was seeming like the multi-day season would never come, but alas, it finally did and man has it been sweet.
We kicked off the season with a trip into the Royal Gorge of the North Fork of the American. This run is most known for having a handful of waterfalls ranging from 40 feet to 90 feet, but what you don't hear about as often is how classic the gorges in between those waterfalls are. While I only chose to run the Heath One waterfall, a beautiful, clean, 40 footer and walk the others, I still had an incredible three days inside that amazing place. Taylor Cavin chose otherwise and decided to launch into some of the other larger waterfalls, including 50 foot Rattlesnack Falls and 70 foot Wabena Falls.
Next up was uber classic Dinkey Creek. Having granted ourselves a rest day, and with the level dropping fast, we charged south to make sure we wouldn't miss this special bit of whitewater. This was my third time down Dinkey Creek and it just gets better every time. Because the perfect water level fell conveniently on Fourth of July weekend this year, there were huge crowds on the river. We actually counted 35 kayakers at four different, but visible, camp sites. While at first I was feeling a bit let down by the lack of serenity, it actually turned out to be a great weekend of reconnecting with old friends and making new ones all on one of the best creeks on the planet.
Another rest day under our belt, we headed back north to check one more high sierra classic off the list, Fantasty Falls of the North Fork of the Mokelumne. While we knew the level was going to be a bit low, we decided to put on anyhow having heard the natural beauty of that place was worth going in there. We decided to walk the first mile of the infamous "mank" of Day One and I think that was a wise decision. While Days One and Two were a bit low, they still contained lots of awesome rapids, not to mention spectacular scenery. Day Three however was perfect, and had so many sweet rapids and the scenery even more dramatic. This trip turned out to be especially epic though due to friend and fellow kayaker Ben Blake slipping off of a 15 foot cliff during a portage, breaking multiple bones in his ankle and getting helicopter evaced out of the gorge. He is going to be ok, but will have a long recovery and wont be walking for a while.
Royal Gorge, Dinkey Creek and Fantasy Falls are all runs not to be missed. They have more epic rapids and scenery than I could ever convey in one blog post. To read more in depth stories and see more pictures of these adventures, check out my blog at www.theliquidlifestyle.blogspot.com