Sunday, December 4, 2011

Upper Cherry Creek

With some time off we made tracks for Cherry Lake to see what the flow was doing. There were a lot of people in the car park who looked like they had been there a while. One of the down sides of kayaking is that the sport involves a lot of speculations: will the weather be good, what are the levels and who has been in there already. These factors sometimes blur judgements. People were saying that the flow was still too high and that it would be at a good flow in three or four days. I wasn't keen to wait and hear from the first crew down as to what the flow was like, so decided to paddle West Cherry Creek (which flows into Upper Cherry Creek) and find out what the flow was for myself. I easily convinced Matt Coles and Shannon Mast to check it out with me. 

Shannon Mast on West Cherry Creek

The flow in West Cherry was low but as soon as we joined Upper Cherry it had a lot more flow. It was quite a bit higher than when I did Upper Cherry last year. We made good time through the lower gorges, I remembered most of the rapids. I thought that we needed to be going into Upper Cherry Creek the next day or the day after. When we got off the river we tried to rally a few other people.

Cherry Lake in the back ground

The next day was spent with Shannon, Jess and Matt shopping in Groveland, picking up some shirts and doing a bit of emailing. We went back to the lake to do a bit of swimming, packing and carbo loading while we waited for more people to arrive. At 9.30pm Lou Urwin, Tyler Fox and Josh Neilson turned up. We drove up to the put in to wait for Tera Muir and Dave Maurier who were turning up late. 

Early the next morning, six people started walking while three of us did the shuttle. The plan was to start walking at 5.30am but we managed to lose one of the vehicles during the shuttle which cost us an hour. The walk took around five hours this time, which I was happy with. This time the differences were walking fast, eating lots of energy gels and only taking my boat off my back when I needed more water. 

When we arrived at the put-in most people were shattered so we spent a good couple of hours in the sun. At the put we found Taylor Cavin and Tom. The first day was going well, lots of fun whitewater and great boogie water. We camped a bit earlier than we thought, but fading light and a few cold people meant that it was the best thing to do. We camped just above Cherry Bomb Gorge.

Jess on Breakfast slide

Tera on the same rapid with a different line

Matt draining the "Pitonicon"

Looking at our camp site

Boats and gear everywhere

Tyler Fox on Cherry Bomb

Me on Cherry Bomb

After paddling Cherry Bomb Gorge, we decided to stay at the camp just below. Flintstones camp is one of my favorite places in the world, quiet, scenic and it has rapids right there. There happened to be a group of Italian nudists who were camping there as well. When they noticed us heading their way, they did manage to put some clothes on quickly. Lou, Tyler, Josh and David had to get back to work so they kept on going so they could finish that afternoon. We spent the rest of the day doing laps on the Jedi Slides. 

On the morning of the third day Shan and I went back up to run Cherry Bomb Gorge again. We managed to team up for a world class rescue below Cherry Bomb Falls. Someone managed to drop into the weir sideways and have their sprayskirt ripped off. We did a live bait rescue of the swimmer, got him to the side then jumped back in and grabbed his kayak.

Me on the Tea Cups, bottom of the Jedi Slides.

Back at Flintstones, we grabbed the rest of the team and our overnight gear and set off to do the rest of the trip. There is still a lot of white water below Flintstones. 

Matt Coles styling Double Pot Hole

Me on Waterfall Alley (Photo: Kristof Stursa)

Almost at the end of Waterfall Alley (Photo: Kristof Stursa)

Already looking forward to getting back in there next year. Thanks to everyone who I paddled with down there. We were pleased to get out safely.

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