Thursday, October 4, 2007

Like kayaking on the moon only...

...there's still gravity. Which is fortunate, since I'm not sure how kayaking would work without it. Would you boof and then keep hurtling through space like so much astronaut ice-cream? Hmmm... When I was curled up in a crater and looking around the bare granite expanse of our put-in camp on the West Cherry Creek, kept wide awake by the full moon's bright light intensified in the amplitheater gorge, I couldn't help but draw the comparison between the celestial body up there and the earthly one on which I found myself. Next time I'll pack in a golf club and an American flag to re-enact Niel Armstrong's tomfoolery. The first whitewater pics are from West Cherry with a crew of Sean Gerlach, Sam Sutton, Brendan Bayly, and Josh Nielson of NZ, Evan Garcia who has a keen river memory once he finds the river, and Devon and Garrett from Northern California who we met at trailhead. Upper Cherry ended up as Sean, Sam, Brendan, Evan and I met by some of the craziest weather I've ever seen... read on.
Evan stomping.

Brendan charging the same rapid, shot from downstream.

Josh recovering a spin on the Charlie Beavers rapid.

There IS in fact a kayaker here, Evan Garcia buried in the flow of the 30 ft. pothole drop on West Cherry, en route to a vertical extrication... kind of a theme with this crew, but it's all good, set safety and charge hard!

Snow fall in June on Upper Cherry (Christmas at the Cherry Bomb!), but no one got the memo in time so no one had santa hats, much less adequate layers or sleeping bags.

The cleft of granite that dropped the jagged jumble of boulders that creates the portage immediately above the Cherry Bomb Gorge and juxtaposes horrid mank against oh-so-clean!

Sam Sutton kick-flipping his way to the first ever swim in the base of Cherry Bomb Falls proper! The holes in the Cherry Bomb are being claimed quickly, with Robin's hole, Riley's hole, and now Dylan's hole and Sam's hole having been named, so snap up some of this prized real estate by taking a terrifying swim while you still can!

editor's note: Getting Sam out of the pothole where he swam was one of the scarier rescues I've been a part of mainly because we couldn't SEE Sam until Brendan fished him out. He ended up in the pothole that is partly cut off by the edge of the picture. We were only guessing that he was still in there and had not flushed downstream or behind the falls. Something like three and a half minutes that Sam was chilling in there (head above water but completely out of view) while we decided that Sean should run the falls and wait downstream in case Sam flushed or had flushed, figured out how to get down to the base of the falls, and then picked our way through the spray-soaked boulder jumble to where we could rope him out. Moral of the story: SET safety in dicey spots, don't improvise it while shit goes down. There seems to be a rumor that you can't set safety on the Cherry Bomb; this is just a rumor. Then again, somebody has to be the one to run sweep...

The author drops it like it's hot while a crew of A-teamers huddled on the scout rock do the granite paparazzi thing. (thanks Josh Nielson of for the photo)

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