Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Jefe and Gus on the Raven's Fork. What an amazing river.

These two shots are of Nate Elliot in Anaconda.
Photos by Tommy Hileke

Got the call yesterday morning, Tommy Hileke had checked the levels and Ravens was going to be a perfect level. Its 65 degrees outside and the team is coming together,Tommy, John Grace, Nate Elliot, Riley Cathcart, and I finished out the group. We gathered up and headed up to the Smoky's up near Cherokee on the edge of the Indian Reservation and parked at Emanuel's house. He lives right on the edge of the river and lets paddlers take out at his place if you know him. We loaded up the back of Tommy's truck then and started up the road to the river. This is no ordinary shuttle road. We are dealing with a very steep river so therefore you are dealing with a very steep road. It was every bit of class five. In fact it was so fun I made a video of it.
Click Here
After driving to the end of the road its still a good 30-45 minute hike to the put-in. Its was a perfect day. We had bluebird skies and we were way up in the mountains. When you get to the top you definitely feel like you are very close to the top of the mountains.

Thats me in Mike Tysons. Photo Tommy Hileke

The river gets on it right away. We started with a few small 6 footers and then got right into it. This was my first time down so its still a little of a blur for me. The rest of the group had been down a bunch so the trip was really smooth everybody had great lines. There was some wood out there and it definitely felt like the kind of place that I would usually scout everything because there was lots of wood involved in several of the rapids. We portaged a few drops and a few of those looked good to go but had the wood in the wrong places. After the 2 hour drive to the river, gnarly 4 wheel drive to the top of the river, the 40 minute hike in, several semi-tough portages, my body felt like I was doing something. The gem rapids were Anaconda, Mortal Combat, Mike Tyson's, Wet Willie's, and Caveman. I probably have them all mixed up but it was sweet. Anaconda was the first of the major rapids it was two boofs in a tight, tight rapid, the second one putting you right into or next to a rock wall. Its in the video at the beginning. The next drop I remember is Mortal Combat I think. It was a multi-leveled rapid with an awesome slide at the bottom. Things were getting big down here. We walked Big Boy which looked like maybe a 30 footer which had a new log in it right in the landing zone. Mike Tysons was super sweet. It had a nice little 8 foot boof entry then a brief pause to get it together then down a big slide, bounce off a wall pillow, curler thingy, after that you are pretty much blind and boofing at the same time off a 10 footer or so. That was definiteyl a highlight. The rest of them all started to run together in my head and then we were back at Emanuel's having a cold one, it was perfect. I will be psyched to do it again. Here is a video of a few of the rapids.
Click Here

This is Riley on Caveman. Photo Tommy Hileke
Couldn't have been a better day. Well, we did get Riley back to work a little late. So we will have to work on that.

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