Monday, April 07, 2008

Sucking all the Marrow out of Life on the Raven's Fork

Yo Quiero Big Boy

We had one of those days Sunday. A day where you wake up and the first phone call is about water levels and so is just about every phone call that you receive, while you make coffee, and load your gear in the car.

John Grace called while I was driving down to the dam on the Green to see if in fact the Green was running because they hadn't updated and yes, "all circuits are busy" was all you could here on the phone which usually tells you if the river is running or not. John wanted to do the Raven's Fork but he wanted to hike up and over the ridge. I hadn't done that before and I had been dreaming about doing something new for quite a while. I had been unlucky for the past few rains, but this day was all lining up perfectly. Good crew, blue skies, water in the Ravens Fork, and it was warm.

Hyat Ridge Trail Head

Finger Map

So here is where we went. We set shuttle at Emanuel's which is up the Ravens really close to where the dotted line crosses the Raven's Fork and then drove around and up the Straight Fork. We hiked our boats up and over Hyatt Ridge and down into the Raven's Fork drainage. The Hyatt Ridge trail is just off the tip of my finger in the picture and you can see it going up and over to Raven's. We gained around 1400 feet of elevation in 2 miles and then dropped almost 700 ft. Then once on the river its 1300 feet of elevation loss down to Emanuel's house over about 3 miles I think. By doing the hike over the ridge we think we gained more than a mile of more good fun whitewater above the normal put-in at Lord of the Rings. The first 2 miles of the hike were up hill but nothing horribly steep. However the word relentless was used a couple times.

Will Starting the Long Walk

Not Steep but Relentless

Grace Feeling the Heat

We got to the top of the ridge and had a snack wrung out our clothes and then headed down to the river. The downslope felt good after an hour of climbing and before we even came around the first corner we could hear the river. That always helps lighten the step.

Lunch Break on Hyatt Ridge

It really was a perfect day for it. We started off with bluebird skies and 65 degrees. The trees didn't have any leaves yet so there were views in all directions as we got higher up on the ridge. And you could look down into the valley and get glimpses of the river.

Trail Down to the Put-In

Pure Smokey Mountain Spring Water

The Put-In

The Put In itself is an awesome place. A tight creek dropping into a small calm pool with an old bridge across the river. Thats always a strange sight when you hike into a fairly remote feeling place and find a big ol bridge. Our crew was large so we proceeded slowly. Only a couple folks had done the run from the top so that also made the pace slow as we scouted most of the drops on that section. It did settle a bit just above the normal put-in and then as you have seen it gets big, crazy, and fun down on the normal Raven's Fork section.

The First Drop called All Riled Up.

The Dream Boof, Joe Boofing

Toby on the Dream Boof

Scouting Fluff

Left Side Bouncy Line on Fluff

Pat on the Right Side Fluffy line of Fluff

John Grace on Fluff

Grace in Anaconda

Joe Barkley Remixing Big Boy

When you don't run Big Boy you get to see this and comfort your ego.

The Shallow $%#& between Big Boy and Super Collider.

Sub-Atomic Super Collider

Emanuel's House

I know its kind of a funny name for a blog post but I heard that term a long time ago and it
always stuck with me. I used it at the end of this day. It felt like we had indeed sucked the marrow, and last night I tried to remember where it came from I thought I remembered hearing it from a camp counselor when I was a kid. I probably also heard it from a high school english teacher I would bet, but I just couldn't remember exactly what it was from. But its something I have said for a long time whenever I feel like I am getting everything I can out of a situation. We were sucking every last bit of the goodness out of this adventure. We started early, hung out with friends, worked hard, played hard, and when I got home I was that very very good tired. I looked up the quote and it all came back to me.

From Walden by Henry David Thoreau

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life...


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