This year while planning for our two month cali season one thing that was a disappointment was that we were told "upper cherry is closed this year". The reason behind the "closure" was the rim fire in the fall of 2013, closing access to the cherry lake and the normal hike in and take out to the famous run. Lucky for me my brother Jim doesn't take no for an answer and found a legal access to the creek.
We hiked in from the normal west cherry hike in at bourland meadows and over into the upper cherry drainage a few miles below the normal putin (totally 4.5 hours). Our hike out was the bad part, we hiked out from the west cherry confluence all the way back to our hike in spot (7 hours in brutal heat=not fun, but great middle kings training).
Our reward was to have the whole creek to ourselves at a great flow, with the popularity of upper cherry it is a rare instance to see no one.
Overall I will probably do the west cherry hike in normally and take out at the lake. For more of a write up check out jim's very in depth blogpost.
Jim checking out the map on the ridge between west cherry and upper cherry, this is looking back into west cherry and to the start of our hike high on the opposite ridge
Fantasy Falls is arguably the best multiday run in California (which says a lot), it has no hike in and has about every kind of rapid you could ask for all in an amazing wilderness setting.
Jim and I were lucky enough to get 3 separate runs in on fantasy falls this summer all at a variety of different water levels. The camping is amazing and the rapids are incredibly good and if you want to you can go HUGE on this run. Enjoy the pics and video below and check out this blog post.
Sam Grafton on and early drop
Sam Cheasly on the mushroom boof
Me dropping into the riflemans gorge on our low water trip
Our plan was for Jared Johnson to pick up shuttle drivers and meet us at the put-it, unfortunately JJ couldn’t find any and was able to get a text to us half way up to the put-in.
We had to divert back to the takeout and jam into one vehicle but luckily Rolf was able to get us a shuttle driver saving us 2-3 hours of driving. We made it through the maze of backroads to the hike in spot just past ross crossing at 4pm and down the hill we headed through a nicely groomed trail thanks to Darin Mcquoid.
We were geared up and shoving off at 5:30pm, all of us had done the run and felt good bombing most of the first big drops. Jim got out to scout the biggest drop on the run since it had been 5 years since he had been down but besides that we stayed in our boats and made good time down to a big drop called spike. I had walked the drop my two previous trips and really wanted to run it but my body was telling me otherwise after 2 hours of sleep and it being 45 minutes before dark. The rest of the boys fired off the drop with varying degrees of success with JJ having a swim into the calm pool below. We camped on a big granite slab for the night after only 2 hours on the water and went to bed early to try and recover some of our lost sleep from the drive out.
Jim getting ready at camp with a great sunset behind him
The 2nd day of the trip was amazing and we all were feeling good and ran lots of big drops throughout the bottom half of the run with everyone having good lines and the only swim coming when Jim broke his paddle and got surfed in a hole but no damage done as he swam into a nice pool.
The boys trying to figure out how to work the chainsaw to cut up Jim's broken paddle, gotta pack out your trash! (we ended up not being able to work the chainsaw and just snapped the paddle)
With the lower water level I walked anaconda and the final large drop of the run named Nicky Kelly’s slide. Last year one of my good friends partially tore one of his nerves controlling his right arm giving him numbness/weakness for 8 months after running the drop upside down. His tough recovery was messing with my mind to much for me to run it and I carried my boat around as Rolf, JJ and Jim ran the drop with everyone coming out unscathed.
Rolf on the good morning slide
Rolf on a great drop just below camp
Rolf blasting through prison love
Rolf sending the nicky kelly slide
Dinkey Creek was a great way to start our 8 month kayaking binge, it has amazing whitewater that for the most part ends in pools, classic California scenery with sunny granite wonderland and was with a great group of friends that I love paddling with. Enjoy the video short of the trip and thanks again to Dagger for all the support!
My Brother Jim and I hatched a plan last year while hiking into the middle kings to take a leave from work and travel to the places we have always wanted to paddle. I was so excited this spring to team up with Dagger as our primary sponsor of our amazing trip. We are planning to paddle in the Western US and Canada for the summer then head to Peru and Nepal in the fall and early winter.
The trip stated with a bang and Jim and I drove from Colorado through the night after my last day of work to meet with Rolf Kelly and Jared Johnson the paddle Dinkey Creek. We didn't put on until 5:30pm but we knew the run well and were able to make it to camp by 7:30, the next day was a great reminder of why we came to California big clean whitewater with amazing weather.
Next we headed south to three rivers, fellow Team Dagger paddler Darin Mcquoid has been showing us his local runs, have been able to get on 4 different stretches of river that have all been amazing. The highlight has been the upper middle fork that has only seen a few descents last being Darin and Ben Stooksberry and few years back. The river contains great whitewater in an tight gorge, we had a great day with smiles on all our faces.
Thanks again to Dagger for the support on our dream project. Enjoy the pics below and keep and eye out for video of these runs.
Darin Finishing off a super gorged out rapid
Me Dropping into "Rusty's Rampage", there is an eddy at the bottom left that took me 5 attempts to make it out
For more pictures and more details head over to our blog.