Monday, July 26, 2010

The chronicles of California and Side lined for the summer

The past 50 Days I have been doing absolutely nothing. This is a result of dislocating my shoulder on the little white earlier this summer and having to get surgery because of it. It has been a rough 50 days but I will be back in my boat hopefully in a month or so. Thinking of the Past two years as a kayaker is what keeps me humble. From my first day on a river, May 16th 2008 to 50 days ago was truly the greatest period of my life. I cannot put a number to how many stoked, terrified, breathtaking, content, and adrenaline filled moments kayaking has provided for me.

Enjoy some of my photos from my kayaking adventures this summer.

The day after graduation several WCKA buddies and myself road tripped from Missoula to Bozeman where we chilled for a week. We didn't paddle any stouts, however we enjoyed getting out on the river and not dealing our teachers, classes, or being on the river ever day with 15 people.

"The Bull truck charging down the highways of Montana"

After our weeklong excursion in Bozeman, I headed back for the homeland in Jackson's Hole. In Jackson I didn't paddle much due to low levels. Nonetheless I was lucky enough to catch a rare release of the Black canyon of the Bear River. It is a fun and classic river run in eastern Idaho.

Risto about to sail a boof

Austin Rathman Charging down "boo boo"

Risto Surfin' Kings wave On the Snake River

After spending a week at home I embarked upon the biggest Road trip of my life. My buddies Griff Griffith, Erik Johnson, and I had been planning a trip to Cali since this past fall. So with a few Phone Calls, purchasing a Subaru, and packing all my essential road tripping gear I was off to Cali. With a quick pit stop in Rock Springs Wyoming to pick up Griff, We rallied twenty straight hours to Yosemite California where we meet up with Johnson,Davis Gove, Evan Garcia, Candace Sanders, and Nate Klema.

Driving Through the middle of no where Nevada

On Day one we explored the South fork of the Tuolumne. It was a pretty fun day a side from being denied from running a 30 footer we came to run and Almost totaling my brand new camera lens.

Here is The 30 footer we came for. Unfortunately it sat uncomfortably close to BURLY 40/50 footer.

The Crew scouting the run. There were some Giant frothy drainage's flowing in to the creek.

Johnson boofing a fun drop at the put in.

Sadly on day one the filter on my Lens shattered and the filter ring was stuck to my lens. Wrap your camera in as much foam as possible while in a Watershed Bag! So with that, my camera was out of commission for the moment. With no back up camera I wasn't able to take pictures for the remainder of the trip... Luckily, Candace Loves taking Photos and has mad skills with Her beautiful Cannon 7D. So all hope of documenting The Chronicles of Cali was not lost.

To conclude Day One, Evan spread the word that the levels of Big Kimshew and South Branch were dropping. So it was off to Big Kimshew! I could not believe it. We were in pursuit of arguably the two best day runs in California. It was hard to do anything but smile to thought of the Stouts that neared. We slept at the put in and prepared for the day to come. We woke up and grilled up a grand feast of eggs, bacon, and pancakes. After fueling up we headed for the river and began the hike. It turns out the put in for Big Kimshew can be a tricky place to find, so we ended up hiking little extra to get to the goods.

The whole crew getting in to the thick of it after paddling a few miles of class mank.

Nate flying of Frenchys 40.

Evan Sending it on the 40 footer.

The Day ended with a beautiful 20 footer at the take out. Big Kimshew had proved to be the sickest river I had ever paddled. The concentration of clean runnable drops is amazing! With a great day on Big Kimshew we headed for the infamous South Branch Of the Middle Feather. I couldn't wait to paddle the river, which I had heard so much about.

Griff crankin' a boof on the South Branch

Nate is one of a select few kayakers to perfect the rock plant to free wheel. Sending it off 99 problemz.

Me on the take out 50 footer. This section of the river is absolutely insane. The last mile of the river you run probably run a good 200 feet of waterfalls and take out above a triple set of enormous Water falls. All of which are 200 feet+.
Photo by Candace Sanders.

The South Branch was the shit! Paddling Big Kimshew and South Branch back-2-back was un-real! I cant wait tell I can return to these beautiful rivers.

So as it turned out every river in the western United States began sky rocketing at this time. With massive gushing brown levels all through out California we decided to head north for Hood River. Along the way we stopped in Mt Shasta to check out Mccloud falls. Generally this water fall has no more than a few trickles dropping from the lip but with hot weather and lots of snow pack it transformed to a majestic 45 footer.

Evan crushing yet another line on round 2
Photo by Candace Sanders

Check out more photos of Mccloud falls and California stories from our trip on Evan's blog at More of Candace's photos may be seen in Kayak Session later this summer! Which would be awesome!

So with a few added miles on the trip we made it to Hood River. Hood River holds a Memorable and special place in my heart. Much of the progression and improvement of my kayaking can be traced back to the wonderful rivers of the Colombia gorge. Check out my past missions to Hood River, West coast winding down, and Spring break hood river hucking. So after meeting up with local and close friend Todd Wells we headed up to Summit Creek.

Todd Wells huckin skate park drop. Todd and his brother Brendan were the first kayakers to discover this creek and the goods it holds.
Photo by Candace Sanders

Evan running the Well
Photo by Candace Sanders

Summit Creek was Dope! I was honestly in state of euphoria after running Skate Park drop. That day and the whole week before it had been un-real! We decided to make the day even more of an epic by topping it off with a lap down the good ole L Dub. Things were going great. It was my 4th time down the little white so I was pretty familiar with the lines and with Todd leading we were cruising'. With no stopping aside from the occasional eddy to catch our breath we raced down. When we reached S Turn Todd went first and sailed a boof off the classic drop. I swept the group and peeled out the eddy feeling good. I boofed the drop as I had 3 time before but landed a little too much on my left edge. I quickly braced which turned in to a high brace. The recirculating current combined with the downward force ripped my shoulder back causing it to dislocate. Being in a sticky situation I had to immediately take a right stroke to avoid getting chundered in the sticky hydraulic. Luckily it popped back in with this motion and I was able to safely reach the shore. With a long hike out I made my way back to the road and hitch hiked to the take out. I was crushed. I knew that my season was over and that temporarily kayaking was no longer an option. So with A trip to the hospital, 4 doctors appointments with 3 different doctors, and a MRI later, I found out I had to get surgery... It has been a rough recovery. Every day I dream of kayaking and amazing things that go along with it. I strongly recommend every kayaker to go out of their way to keep their shoulders strong, avoid high braces at all costs! And don't be afraid to take days off even if you miss out on a kayaking or else you might end up taking off a few months or more...

So now I am Back in Jackson taking it easy for a while and doing a lot of physical therapy. It has been an incredible two years of kayaking and I can’t wait to get back in my boat. It sounds like I will be back kayaking by September. So I am side lined for the summer. Take care of your body!

Photos by Candace Sanders, Nate Klema, and Me

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