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Two Festivals, Three Sports and One Hell of a Time!

Posted: 10.19.2012 by Laura Farrell

Last month I was lucky enough to attend two awesome whitewater festivals, Gauley Fest on the East Coast and Feather Fest on the West Coast. As expected, both festivals delivered with amazing rivers, great friends and fun dose of debauchery. And as much as I love whitewater kayaking, I also love mountain biking and climbing too. So I decided to make the most of both weekends by turning them into multi-sport adventures, taking advantage of the beautiful mountain locations.

I had been to Gauley Fest many times before, and always had a good time so I was excited to be back east in time for the festival. This year, however, I changed up my normal routine by including a day of climbing and a day of biking in the weekend. I rode up with Dagger's very own Chris Gragtmans who was also keen on some multi-sport fun.

We deep water solo climbed at Summersville Lake, road downhill on our mountain bikes at Snowshoe Resort and finished up the weekend with two runs on the Upper Gauley. What an awesome weekend!

The following weekend was the Feather Festival, located in Chico California and tagged the "Gauley Fest of the West." I had never been to Feather Fest before but had heard many stories about what an awesome time it was. Now that I am officially living out in California, I was determined to make it to the festival this year. So after making it home from Gauley Fest, I hoped on a plane and headed west.

After arriving in Cali, but before heading up to the fest, David Maurier and I took a day to climb at Lover's Leap in the South Lake Tahoe area. It was a beautiful spot and I even got to lead my first trad climb, which was both exciting and nerve racking!

Saturday morning we drove up to the North Fork of the Feather, home to the Tobin section as well as the site of the festival.  We spent the morning lapping the Tobin section and trying to dial in lines for the race that afternoon. While I did not have the best race lines, it was still a super fun event that I was stoked to be a part of. After the race we headed downstream to Grizzly Dome, a local sport climbing spot and watched the sun go down high on the rock overlooking the river.

Following the climbing was the infamous Feather Fest party and race results announcement. I won't reveal exactly what takes place there but its definitely worth experiencing one day! The next morning I had to get up early to fly back to NC to start my EMT course, which I just finished and passed a couple days ago (hence the delay in getting this post written).

If you've never been to these festivals you should definitely make an effort to check them out! They're worthwhile for the people, the kayaking, the partying as well as the multi-sport potential!

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Joy and Exuberance on the South Fork of the Kings

Posted: 06.28.2012 by Laura Farrell

Because I think Taylor Cavin is one of the funnier people I know (and his description so well put), I am going to let his post introduce this blog...

"At 4pm on Saturday, June 16th an intrepid group of swash-buckling crusaders, loaded their safety gear, fishing tackle, and ukuleles into their kayaks and embarked upon an episode of "Myth Busters" to de-bunk the fables of the South Kings. What they found (at 800 cfs at Roger's Crossing) was a terrific, spectacularly scenic boof stork sanctuary through a deep, tight canyon with all rapids scoutable, portageable, and runnable" - Taylor Cavin

Taylor and his breakfast catch
What Taylor is referring to here is our recent trip to the South Kings River and specifically a section commonly referred to as "Fear and Loathing."  The guide book makes it sound horrible with class six unportageable, unscoutable and potentially unrunnable rapids. The other very limited beta out there does not make it sound much better. And the name alone doesn't exactly make you expect good things.

Surprisingly, what we found deep in that canyon was quite the opposite of fear and loathing. What we found was joy and exuberance.

After making it through the canyon with good lines and high spirits, the walls opened up and we hit the confluence of the Middle Fork of the Kings. This meant it was time to lifestyle. We quickly found a camp spot and enjoyed the final moments of the day as the sun set in Sequoia National Park.

The next morning we paddled out on the Garlic Falls section of the Kings which at our flow was filled with great class rapids and epic granite scenery all the way to the takeout.

I'll wrap this up with another quote (and response to Taylor's comment on from another one of my favorite burl chargers...

"Never stop exploring, questioning, and charging what you see as magnificent." -Will Pruett



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