Like Fantasy, the Devils Post Pile or Middle fork of the San Joaquin was another one of the California classic High Sierra runs that had managed to elude us in 2010.Despite tales of epic portages and locked in gorges, after chatting to Taylor Cavin and Dave Maurier decided I would be silly to give it a miss. Luckily our boy Preacher was easily convinced to drive the put in shuttle and as Jordy was injured he offered to pick us up from the take out saving a 10hr drive to set shuttle and making logistics easy – Cheers Boys!!
Smurf at Rainbow Falls (p. Barny)
Putting on below the 100ft rainbow falls just out of Mammoth the team consisted of myself, Nick Murphy and Snarley Charly. After a late start we paddled a couple miles of whitewater before portaging for about an hour around 2/3rds of the first gorge. Putting back on we were quickly treated to a classic 15footer followed by a couple of sweet boofs.
Snarley making it look good (p. Barny)
Barny ... CHARGING (p. Smurf)
The next rapid was a manky wee line through some boulders and after running it first I eddied out at the bottom to wait for the boys. Sitting at the bottom I looked back to notice Snarley pinned sideways in a manky shoot. Running back up the bank with my throwbag Snarley was easily able to climb out of his boat however his boat was not as keen to budge as he was. After close to 2 hours of trying to get his boat out setting up a range of systems we were broken and it was getting on so we opted to remove whatever we could from the back of his boat. By now the force of the water had caved in the whole rear of his kayak making it impossible to grab his split out. Snarley made the tough decision to walk out and with daylight hours now dwindling myself and Smurf got back on the mission quickly knowing we had a lot of miles to cover if we were to meet our rendayvue with jordy 3 days later.
Morning light... Smurf (p. Barny)
Devil's PP looks amazing (p. Barny)
Tired from yanking on a rope and weary of now paddling what I believe is Californias most committing class V run, we portaged and paddled our way to the end of the 2nd gorge where we set up camp planning on getting an early start with the intentions of catching Taylor Cavins group who we figured were about 7miles ahead of us. The next day we set of at 8.30am, a California early start record and made quick progress down stream. Entering the Boof-a-matic gorge we were under the impression that it all went so followed each other closely. This gorge turned out to be a lot more stout and committing than we predicted with some wide eyes from both of us after immerging from some big holes. Making it through boofamatic with no portages after an hour or so of great boogie and a couple of portages we were stoked to see what looked like a green boat in the distance, Luckily for us it was Taylor ,Daan, Dan and Shannon. Happy to catch them our nerves eased a little linking teams and knowing that now we did not need to run the infamous crucible with just the 2 of us. The rest of the day involved some more classy rapids along with some inventive style portaging requiring some rope work and some crazy in/out of boat action by myself and Daan. That evening we camped before the crucible with the boys laying out a buffet of fresh fish. The following day we got on the water at 9am envisaging a big paddle out.
The Crucible (p. Smurf)
Entering the crucible gorge the commitment factor was more of the style of the Mungo on the 2 day Hoki as opposed to anything I had paddled in California. I guess the reason why I had never seen very many photos from in here is because people are always so focused on doing the job and in awe of the surroundings to think about getting the camera out. Arriving at the Crucible Myself and Daan decided to paddle a high water sneak line down the right before setting safety for the other boys to run the conventional line. The next drop broken arrow was a pretty straightforward boof down the middle. With Taylor discussing the idea of paddling a new line down the centre on the third drop, nick quickly put an end to the confusion firing up the double boof down the right line, I was quick to follow with the rest of the boys firing on down and providing a couple of nice tail stands to wall smears as they emerged through the final hole. At the bottom Taylor charged straight off the 4th drop and we were free.The rest of the day had plenty more amazing drops, coupled with spectacular scenary and a few more intricate portages. This run was action packed and committing with sweet whitewater right to the reservoir.
Barny on some lower boofs (p. Smurf)
Arriving at the lake myself and Daan set about charging the 7mile paddle out with the boys following behind. I did my best to draft the powerful Daan while hitting up every passing boater for a ride. Before long my persistence paid off and a couple of jet skiers set about trying to give us a tow, this wasn’t as efficient as it could have been so they upgraded us to the luxury of the boat.
Lifestyling... golden! (p. Barny)
Arriving at the take out in style Jordy and Snarley continued the trend with cold beers and Chipolte waiting!!! Five hours of driving later and broken we were at the take out of The Middle Kings, setting shuttle for what would be the final run of this epic season!!