Saturday, June 2, 2012

The South Merced

Since arriving in Cali, the flows have been awesome and are holding out well. We went straight from the Yuba to Upper Middle Cosumnes. The UMC is a great run - small volume (500 cfs) and steep. Tyler and Taylor both knew the lines so showed Jess and I down it. Lots of very fun rapids and a great warm up.

From the UMC we decided to go to the South Merced. It was flowing at 800 cfs and not fluctuating too much.  Jim Bob, Chris Madden and Mark Shackleton joined our team of Jess, Tyler, Taylor and myself. 

We tried to leave Coloma nice and early. Tyler, Jess and I packed one vehicle and drove to Taylor's place to pick him up but he hadn't quite started to pack yet. After a long drive we finally made it to Yosemite National Park - the South Merced begins at Wawona and finishes outside of the Park. This meant the last part of the drive was stunning.

We were at the put-in at 3pm and ready to put on the water by 4pm. It was definitely a later start then I was keen for. 

At the put-in, gear everywhere!
Wawona, Yosemite National Park 
(Photo//Tyler Fox)

From the put-in, we made good time down to where we camped. We didn't hop out of our boats much so photo taking wasn't a priority. It was also cold which motivated us to stay in our boats and keep moving.

Our campsite, river in the background.
 (Photo//Daan Jimmink)

We had a great campsite with lots of wood around. Taylor made everyone very jealous when he pulled out steaks from the back of his kayak. We passed round some honey whiskey and told stories till it was dark.

In the morning we were greeted by another team. They had paddled the river a week ago, and were back for the one-day mission. We tried to keep up with them for a couple of minutes before deciding that paddling in a group of 11 wasn't a good idea. 

On day two the rapids kept coming, lots of awesome slides and clean drops. 

Super Slide 
(Photo//Daan Jimmink)

 Taylor Cavin on the entrance to Super Slide
(Photo//Daan Jimmink)

 Mark at the bottom of Super Slide
(Photo//Tyler Fox)

Taylor Cavin pointing the Green Boat where it needs to go 
(Photo//Tyler Fox)

 Chris Madden on the entrance to Super Slide
(Photo//Daan Jimmink)

Taylor on his forth attempt to leave the eddy 
(Photo//Daan Jimmink)

 Mark on a clean slide
(Photo//Daan Jimmink)

Tyler on the same clean drop
(Photo//Daan Jimmink)

Mark on line in a manky rapid 
(Photo//Daan Jimmink)

The run took a lot longer that I thought, but this was mostly to do with the size of our group and the fact that only Taylor had done it before. Taylor had done the run once about four years ago but his memory had faded. We got to the take out at 5pm. We still needed to do our shuttle which took an extra two hours. This was the last thing that I wanted to be doing at the time. I think the 800 cfs was a great flow in the South Merced and meant that everything had good coverage while still having a bit of push. 

Thanks to everyone for a great trip.

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