Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Upper Cherry Creek Trip One “aka The Greatest Sneak of the Year”
(Main River)

Days 3
Miles 12 river, 10.5 hiking on Kibbie Ridge Trail
Vertical Drop 2800
Level Perfect
Portages 2-4
Peeps Nikki Kelly, Toby MacDermott, John Grace, Fred Coriell, Daniel DeLaVergne, Nate Helms, Tommy Hileke, Drew Refsauge, Caleb Copeland, Polk Deters, Reiley Cathcart, Josh Bruckner

Fun Facts: When we took off the West Cherry Creek and had just barely managed to survive the lower section of the Main Upper Cherry, we gave it almost 8 days before the level would be right for paddling through all of the upper gorges on the river.

Upoun inspection of the approaching cold weather, talk of a sneak into the river during a short piece of potentially low water sprang up. The gamble was huge, if we hiked our loaded boats the 10.5 miles to the putin and the level was high we would have to portage the main gorges.

Feeling that our prediction of a major level change was accurate we took off for the putin.

Fred, the forerunner, made the hike with loaded boat in just 5 and a half hours. Others spent time lost in the huge fire pit of the recently burned forest along the ridge, some dragging in 7 hours after starting out. The physical exhaustion of schlepping our 100 pound loads up and over the ridge was apparent on everyone’s face.

A view of the upper reaches of the river, a gloomy cast just before a bit of precip. The low temps made the hike ideal.

photo by Nikki Kelly

The speculation of the flow at the put was varied, but the general feeling was that we were gonna be paddling through the heart of the gorges, one of the most special places a river runner could go.

We awoke in the morning to an even lower flow and set off with beaming smiles. The first 3 miles are some of the most spectacular granite settings one could hope to paddle through. As we began to drop into the upper gorges some of the group began to predict that we would be able to paddle through the Cherry Bomb Gorge with our loaded kayaks. When our group made the first descent of this pit of gorge 2 years ago, all of the overnighter gear was walked around the falls and a comprehensive scout was made from the bottom.

This time we chose to drop right into the Cherry Bomb, locked and loaded. After some stellar lines and some hairy surfs the crew cleared the other side of the gorge and dropped into the “Money Potholes” gorge and right into camp. The sense of big accomplishment was evident on everyone’s face.

Amped by the shear committed and mystical feeling of being so deep in a granite buttcrack, Tommy Hileke and Daniel DeLaVergne made the hour long trek back up and over the big dome and ran the entire set of Cherry Bomb gorges again.

Here is a sequence of the second run that day, sans gear.

photo by Nikki Kelly

photo by Nikki Kelly

That day the level began to rise and the crew was faced with a bit of action when they hiked up to run the Bomb again in the morning.
The following morning Reiley Cathcart became the first man to swim within the inhospitable Cherry Bomb Gorge, with his boat pinning in the horrible looking rock rapid at the bottom of the gorge. With assistance from Fred, the Salto was removed from the sieve (looking more like a Kendo than a Salto) and Reiley paddled out of the gorge, successfully completing the first CBG swim.

John Grace preparing to film tghe gorge, high on the "Media Ledge"

photo by Nikki Kelly

The remainder of the big gorges treated the crew well and the various 20-40 foot falls and pothole gorges were enjoyed to the utmost.

Toby MacDermott in the Double Pothole drop

photo by Nikki Kelly

We headed out to the border town of Groveland where residence was taken in the M2 mobile home rental unit. There we ran into Scott Lindgren and crew who were headed into the gorge to film a HD TV show. We offered warnings of potential rising water levels, but the warnings were not heeded.

All of our pictures were taken by Nikki Kelly, look for more great shots to come

photo by John Grace


At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guy's are awsomely crzzy


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