2.03.2008

Raven Fork at 7"

Yesterday I had the great opportunity to run the Raven Fork for my first time and boy did it live up to its reputation. I had heard tales of its wonder, but there's no way to comprehend the beauty and uniqueness of this run until you find yourself sliding down its smooth granite formations surrounded by luscious green life.

I woke up early and met up with Daniel Windham, Chris Gragtmans, Rob Thompkins, and Jonathon Shannon. On the way to the river, the consensus among the level forecasters was a prediction of 9-10", but slightly to our dismay, we arrived at the bridge to find the gauge reading 7". We were still stoked and knew it was going to be a solid day anyway. Apparently there is an alternate road up to the top which is not nearly as full-on as the "classic" put-in road. We went for the alternate, and feeling a little jipped on the "full Raven Fork experience," we arrived at the top without even having to put the Tacoma in 4x4.

We walked past huge ice chunks on the hike in, but by the time we reached Lord of the Rings we were all sweating. Lord of the Rings was a super cool warmup. Five clean drops right off the bat, that's the way I like it! We all opted out of Anaconda as the level was well on the low side, but I'm definitely looking forward to getting back in there with more water and givin' 'er.

Here we have Rob bringing up the rear at Headless Horseman. It looks pretty dinky in the picture, but it is quite an impressive rapid in person.

Mortal combat was definitely a highlight of the day.

Good lines were had by all throughout the day. By the time we arrived at the Big Boy, the group was all smiles, and the warm sun was shining bright in a perfect blue sky. Rob and Chris decided to fire up the big one and had super smooth lines.

Here we have exhibit A, Rob showing how it's done on Big Boy. Excessive fist-pumping ensued shortly after this picture was taken.

Chris had an impressive boof of the lip but brought her down nicely for the landing.

Probably my favorite rapid of all time, Mike Tyson's. It's nearly impossible to capture this rapid on video or photo because it's too damn big! Here's Rob somewhere in the middle of Mike's. There are two entrance drops upstream and you might be able to make out Chris's bow in the eddy at the bottom of the rapid.

Chris dropping into the first drop of Caveman.

Daniel Windham and Chris Gragtmans routing through Caveman.

Here's me finishing 'er off on that sweet boof. You gotta love it! Rob was shooting awesome photos all day. This here is an example.

This is a day on the river I will not forget. Mad props to Chris and Rob for showing Daniel and I down for the first time. At the takeout we graciously thanked Emanuel, aka THE MAN, for letting us park on his property. On a sidenote, as we were leaving Emanuel did tell us to park in an orderly fashion next time. Yesterday there were four groups and cars were parked all over the place. Emanuel said that it was cool if we parked in the grass lot by the carport and the RV, that way there's no need to clog up his driveway. Let's all try and respect his wishes!
Cheers!

Reminiscing the Vallecito

This summer, while in Colorado, we were able to get on one of the Colorado class V classics: the Vallecito Gorge. The first day we tried to run it, it was sub-freezing temperatures and snowing. Although it made for a beautiful sight, we didn't have drysuits and we were cold as shit! The level was also a little higher than we had hoped for our first run because none of us knew the lines. Once you're in the gorge you are committed with pretty much no way to get out. We ran the entrance 20-footer and stood, freezing our nuts off, and stood scouting Trash Can. It was decided to ferry across and hike out up a steep gully before we got any colder or deeper into the gorge.

The next day however, we came back with beautiful weather and a perfect water level and got two runs in. We videoed and took pictures the first run and then the second run we bombed down from top to bottom in 15 minutes.

It's a really sweet feeling right after you drop off the entrance 20-footer and find yourself committed in this tight little gorge with crystal blue water.

Here's me lining up for the rapid directly downstream of the pool of the entrance falls. It's called Trash Can because it's the shittiest looking rapid of the run, but despite how it looks, it goes just fine.

Enjoying the better weather of day 2 deep in the gorge. The rock formations were stunning!

Ben Blake stylin the 12-foot boof called "Fuzzy Little Bunny." It's named this because as you go off the lip you're supposed to yell out fuzzy little bunny loud enough for someone to hear it. If nobody hears, then you have to hike back up and run it again. I hiked back up to run it again anyway though because it was so much fun!

Daniel Windham sticking the landing of Fuzzy Little Bunny.

Ben Blake lining 'er up in some Vallecito boogie.

This gorge is just good clean fun! Check out the video I edited for our trip blog this summer:

video