Monday, June 22, 2009

16 who dared: Tuolumne River 2009

16 who dared, tuolumne river 2009

Pictures at


Tuolumne 09

complex logistics, but i can handle it, 17 oops 16 (namomis dr wouldnt let her go after surgery) gathered with a mountain of gear , food, kitchen, camp lumped down the rocky putin path. overhung from great party, gathering the night before next to the river. the river is up, 22-2400 cfs and promising higher, strap down, rig to flip, and off on the raging tide. johnny and greg are on board, after tying down the load, greg is backup rower boatman in training, never done class 4, but hes a great guy and capable, just needs experience. just what i need to have him take over on the easier stretches.

good runs, lotsa room with the water, way left at nemesis, never done that before, i just follow bcs red kayak down the slot. sunderlands is huge, monster side curlers coming off the right cliff, i climb high on the left, turn and hit them head on and we plough thru, not the fate of steves trip, one of their boats is upside down in the eddy,
they looking forlorn on the shore, picking up the pieces.

Aside from a surf of ramshead hole, the rest is great fun, lunch at clavey and hike to the fossils, swim in the creek, mellow out. beer and premaid sandwiches fuel us for the clavey drop. it is steep, i hit a vshaped hole and get knocked off my seat, and lose an oar, but the paddlers keep paddlin, keeping me away from the wall, and i see dinosaur rock far away and relax, running the last drops backwards. "all upright, at the bottom of clavey, all ok."

Grays is really big, riverwide hole stops us even tho we are full steam ahead, and i land on johnnys head and crick his neck, hes ok, but that took us by surprise. On down the rio, easy runs at high water, and into camp on the sandy beaches downstream of north fork. set up camp for a day of rest and fun hiking.

Monster ravioli meal, salad, wine, beer, margaritas, 2 pies for dessert with whipped cream. oink. tom is doing his thing, has 6 burners going, 2 tables for prep, one for booze and a king size bbq for the dutch ovens. I rig a fish flag and the led solar lights and we are ready to party. Ben sings some of his great songs, i do a pancho and lefty performance on his guitar, and fade away.

coffee early, im after the fish, hook one on a fly, but he gets off. we prep for the brushy rocky hike and take off up the canyon. dings are happenin, blood shed, i have a gouge on my forearm from rowing clavey, but it stops bleeding fast, just looks bad. we enter the gorge and swim up through the pools to the upper falls, vertical walls up 50 feet on both sides. people hanging out in the sun, the water is cool, canyon goes down to get a wet suit. i hang in the jacuzzi with cathy and we revel in the beauty of it all. bash back down, taking it slowly and carefully to pizza lunch at camp and long snooze, more fishing, still no keepers, and long conversations about important things under a 20x20'tarp blowing in the wind. friends drop in, bcs wife wanda with 3 kayakers, and jeff and adam, sierra mac guides on a field day kayaking, they are going to redo the gps locations of rapids on the cherry creek run for me. i lost the original notebook. always duplicate critical field information.

dinner is an heroic bbq with 2 salmon fillets, 4 tritips, potatoes, salad choch. cake for dessert with whipped cream. more songs, im wiped and crash out, cathy comes to visit and it really hot to do more of this kind of stuff. i fade to drunken fools staggering by me on the way to camp.

great bkfst, fathers day, whoopee. biscuits, gravy, eggs, chicken sausages, more coffee, a beer or two to wash it down. now we get organized, and pack it all up, load it on the boats and off to more glory downstream. a cabin, donkey engine and mining debris occupies us for a while, then the pull of turnback creek, to no avail, the creek is dry, out onto the lake and the tow and the ride up from the bridge for the drivers late, we derig and hang on the beach at moccasin for 3 hours before they show up watching the scene, huge boats, drunk mad people, end of a day with lake people.. Tom has done the money calculation, and its 90$, man what a deal, Marty helped greatly sporting us the shuttle.

Sad farewells, cheers and good feelings all around. we did it, i did it,organized the whole thing and it came together in one coherent whole, everyone working towards the same goal. fun on the river. We run to smoke, my fav restaurant in Jamestown with Canyon and the next order is margaritas and fish tacos, then the long run to santa rosa where johnny takes off for the gfs, ready for it.

1242 words, copyright terry wright 2009

1 comment:

brthomas said...

Rafters definitely travel the backcountry in deluxe style. You should make a hyperlink to the great photos you took on the trip.
Tuolumne09 photos.

I've added your blog and photos into my directory
Rafting Blogs Directory.
Photo Blogs Directory.
and added your trip report on my river guide page
Guide to Tuolumne River Whitewater Boating.