Saturday, May 30, 2009

California Trip Report: The Dinkey Creek

After driving all day from Vegas, we finally made it to the takeout of Dinkey Creek Wednesday night and spent the evening preparing our boats for the two day journey down the Waterfalls section. It was there that we met up with our team for the the expedition- Josh Bruckner, Matias Nunez, Josh Workman and Adam Hunter.

Thursday morning we were up early loading up the vehicle and starting the 2.5 hour drive to the put in. Finding the put in was an adventure of its own, but making it down the river was even more exciting. The trail was unmarked, about two feet wide and covered in thick brush and poison oak. It eventually opened up to steep, exposed, slabbed rock that made your calves and thighs burn the whole way down.

Gearing up at the start of the hike

Me after finishing the hike

While the name "Dinkey Creek" might lead be to believe that this river is not too full on, trust me when I say that this river is far from dinky. It is 6.5 miles of class V-V+ creeking filled with beautiful clean waterfalls, many of which are mandatory. It is far from any form of civilization and help could be days away. All that said, I think it is probably one of, if not the best, section of whitewater in California.

There's not much warm up on this creek- the section starts off with a rowdy 40 foot slide that sets the tone for the trip.

Me at the put-in slide

Gareth at the put-in slide

Fairly quickly into the run you reach the Willie Kern Rapid- a 15 foot drop into a low angle slide into 40 foot steep slide. It is big and it is mandatory.

Gareth running the entrance drop of Willie's Rapid

Josh Workman on the low angle slide part of Willie's rapid

Josh Bruckner firing off the final 40 foot drop at Willie's

That's me at the bottom of the drop

Following Willie Kern's rapid there is a series of waterfalls and big rapids back to back. It would be impossible to capture every rapid that we ran considering there were just so many of them, but I've tried my best to show the best ones.

Adam Hunter in one of the 25 footers

Me running the sieve waterfall (if you go right of the flow here you end up in a death sieve)

Gareth in the same waterfall

The rattlesnake I almost stepped on

Josh Workman doing the big 40 foot jump in portage

Gareth dropping into the meat

Gareth admiring the amazing Dinkey Creek scenery

Me hanging out below one of the steep sections

Gareth dropping into one of the biggest rapids on the run- Spike

Josh Bruckner showing the group how its done at Spike

After a very full on first day on the river we were all excited to make it to camp all in one piece. The camp spot was on a big slab of rock right next to river and in between two steep sections of whitewater. Upstream you had a beautiful view of the Spike rapid and lurking downstream was the Good Morning slide, a huge slide that immediately starts off day two.

Our camp spot

Gareth doing some fishing at camp

Waking up on the river

Matias strutting his stuff and scouting the "Good Morning Slide" seen just behind him

Literally the first rapid you run on day two, and the entrance drop to the Good Morning Slide

Gareth running the Good Morning slide

Josh Bruckner once again showing us the perfect line in one of the big drops

Josh Workman at a random drop

Gareth coming through a tight spot

Josh Bruckner boofing big

Another Josh Bruckner shot

Gareth coming through one of my favorite rapids of the run

Me entering one of the bigger drops of day two

Josh at the bottom of the same drop

Gareth boofing over the next hole

Me hitting a big boof

Gareth at one of day two's many waterfalls

Gareth doing the still very full on sneak of the Niki Kelly slide

Josh Workman at another waterfall

Adam Hunter at one of the slides on day two

Gareth styling one of the final big drops on the Dinkey Creek Waterfalls section

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

California Trip Report: A Pit Stop at Oh Be Joyful

Crested Butte, Colorado

This summer I decided to take a little hiatus from the Southeast and head West for a month of steep California creeking. Gareth and I left Asheville May 23rd with the intention of getting to California as soon as possible in order to begin checking off the many rivers we hoped to get on our trip. But after a long, hot, miserable ride through Kansas we decided to make a quick pit stop in Crested Butte, Colorado to run one of Colorado's most infamous creeks, Oh Be Joyful. The water level was on the high side of medium and the slides were even steeper than I had imagined.

Blue angeling one of the big slides

Gareth finishing off a slide above a big log jam

Gareth entering the last big one

Me and the guy who joined us (can't remember his name) flying down the last slide

After a night out in Crested Butte we made one more stop on our way to Cali in the sin city of Las Vegas. With a 20 dollar hotel room and 50 dollars lost at the black jack tables, we were satisfied with our Vegas experience and guickly got out of there first thing in the morning headed staright to our first California creek- Dinkey Creek.

The rig loaded down in Vegas
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