"Poorly Planned... Badly Executed"

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Royal Gorge

Chris G getting his plug on

The last week saw us get skunked by the combination of weather, weather, and weather. The cold snap in Cali which we endured (not by choice I might add) not only made camping uncomfortable but also ensured that Dinky Creek dropped out on us and stranded us in Kaweah land with not a lot to paddle. A quick check of internet river levels revealed that Royal Gorge, a sweet three day trip, should come into a good level the next day and so we rallied north to where we had just been… three days earlier, dam this driving all over cali chasing water.

Chris K at Heath Springs

Evan same

Still at least we were going to get to paddle Royal Gorge… or were we?!? Waking early in the morning we rallied to the put-in but never quite made it. With persistent rain and temperatures hitting the high thirties (Fahrenheit not Celsius) we turned back at the top of the pass on the premise that camping in the cold and rain would be horrible, plus actually being able to start a fire was up in the air.

Royal Gorge has some cool box canyons and funky holes but Evan wasn't even going to give this hole the time of day.

However only the car I was in did so… Justin and Corey let determination get the better of them and decide to go paddling without us, rain or no rain. They even managed to rope Lizzy in on there shenanigans and so they started paddling while we drove back to Justin’s place and lined up an Indiana Jones adventure night out to make up for the lack of real adventure. We were not to make it to the movies… instead Corey’s girlfriend Aim arrived back at the house with news they had put on. Well we certainly weren’t going to be upstaged, “looks like we’re going kayaking boys!”

Lizzy getting her sideways boof on

Chris G deifying gravity

After some Colin McRae rally driving (in which we lost the boats not once but twice) we were putting on Royal Gorge at the crack of three thirty. Moving quickly to try to catch up with the lead group before dark we arrived at Heath Springs few hours later to find Corey with a massive crack in his kayak and Justin without a kayak at all. Although Justin he did have some very sore ribs from running a 50 foot water fall without much elegance. His boat got stuck in on a log in the gorge just down stream from the horrible boiling pool Justin ended up swimming in after being ejected from his kayak. Lucky Justin was able to climb up a crack to get out of the gorge although I’m sure he would have a different take on how his luck was going.

Lizzy heading to the lip of yet another waterfall

Over night the river gods were nice to us, gracing us with stars instead of rain and so we were all in reasonable shape the next morning. Justin without a kayak had no choice but to hike out while the rest of us continued on our merry adventure. Evan and Chris K fired off some sweet waterfalls while the rest of us were happy to walk… crazy basted Corey managed to put two new cracks in his kayak and Lizzy, Chris G and I ended the day at about par.

Evan taking his time to scout Rattle Snake

But while he wasn't looking Chris K snuck in and beat him to it

Evan was happy with Chris' line but past on his landing (and bloody nose)

The final day was not to be Corey’s favourite. His boat repairs barely even made it a mile leaving him to limp down to Giant Gap and hike out while the rest of the tired kayakers straight lined it for the finish. All in all it was a pretty sweet trip even if the river was low and two members didn’t make it all the way. Time for beer food and merriment I reckon. “Here Here”

Oh my... (photo Lizzy English)