July 20, 2006

Exploring California

The last two months in the california have been a blast. A quick stop in Taihape to pick up a new Mystic thanks to the boys at bliss-stick and north to the plane. Into San Francisco and straight out to Coloma to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

My first six weeks in the States saw many rivers paddled with most of them being personal first descents. Some of the highlights been a two day mass descent down the Rubicon which would have to be one of my favourite rivers of all time. Three days in Generation Giant Gap and an almost all Kiwi trip down the Devils Canyon of the Feather with Graham Charles, Zac Shaw, Dave Richie and new friend Dider King.

photo: zac shaw

Zac and I managed a high water trip down the now infamous South Silver before we headed south to Yosemite to get on the South Merced. A mixed team of unknows and high flows at the put in had the alarm bells ringing but our enthusiasm overrode our better judgement saw us putting on late in the day. We overnighted about 6km downstream and watched the river spike about 10cm while we set camp. The morning saw the river drop but leaving it higher than we first put on. One hour in, two swims from team members and the threat of rising water levels had the team chosing to tackle the walk out rather than the 30km of class 5 that remained. Seven hours and over 1000 vertical metres of hiking, dragging, crawling, hauling, dehydration and lost team members had us back at the road and thinking that class five couldn't have been that bad.

July rolled around and Margot came and spent 8 days in the States to shop, tour and escape the winter down in eNZed. We (she) shopped San Fran before heading north to the Salmon river to chill, relax and see through numerous Seirra Nevada Pale Ales. After hanging out with the crew at Otter Bar we headed out to the California coast and back to San Fran via the redwoods (very cool) and the drive-thru tree (very american).

Currently I'm back up north hanging out at Otter Bar with Zac and Jess Brown and loving life. Have fun and be Safe.