Tuesday, February 26, 2008

California Salmon in February?

UPDATE about a recent W.E.T. River Trips Rafting Adventure
Country Mike wrote:

I hope all went well and everyone came home fine. As long as you did not have Mogely (spelling) splitting his thumb into pieces I am sure life was good! Is Sollie still ambiguously hetero? When we hitting the NoFo!!!!???? WHITEWATER!
Country Mike
Here's Sollie's first webcam from the helmet... I got dizzy watching it!

DAY 1:
Sollie arrives at Sacramento International Airport at 1:00 PM
Meets Heffe at warehouse to load after picking up the W.E.T. rafting truck
Bird goes Frisbee golfing with Wolf (freshly back from Ecuador)
I ride my motorcycle home from Oakland to beat the traffic
I lane-split the entire ride and arrive at Save-Mart at 5:15 PM to meet Sollie for a food buy
Final pack and load
We then meet up with Bird, Wolf, and Heffe at my house
Waited until 7pm for Justin and his Bro stuck in traffic coming from UC Berkeley
Little Alex was stuck in the same traffic so Justin stayed back to wait for Little Alex
(He was carrying Bird and his Bro Brian as well)
We agreed to meet at Petro on I-5
Petro became an opportunity for Heffe to drink a 32 oz Miller High Life
We had ample opportunities to shop the wares at Petro...

Sollie bought a fluorescent orange fleece "Elmer Fudd" hat. Justin showed up at 9 pm and he off-loaded Bird to my truck after Bird power-smoked at least four cigarettes and bought his body weight in candy. We rolled out of Petro with Sollie, Heffe, Wolf, and Bird in the Dodge and Justin, Brian, and Little Alex following in the shiny, Black Toyota (important detail for later). We drove Hwy 299 to Hwy 101 (with an obligatory stop in Willow Creek and the tempting prospect of buying the only piece of Chester-Fried chicken: a cold wing). We arrived at Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park at 3:30 AM... stoked.

Day 2: I roused the camp up with some coffee
(hot water for Heffe & Sollie...Metro-tea boyz)
We head to the Oregon Hole Run

After the boys did the run twice with multiple swimmers and a near flip at the Hole, the consensus dictated a quick run on the South Fork and a chance to run class 4+ "Grandma's Pantry." All went well and smooth except for Big Poppa getting in the grill of a local "Game Warden" who thought it prudent to educate our guides on commercial operations and permits. He left by telling me to "talk to the tire" under his breath. He refused to clarify his comments as he loaded into his navy blue Silverado. (nice, Big Poppa... bite the hand that feeds us...)

That night we had a fat-feast and Little Alex and Wolf played guitars while Justin and Brian drummed along. Heffe was sick; however, he made a run at the Early Times until Bird thought he was at a Rave with Disco Eric and he dropped a glow stick into the bottle. Before shutting down, we all agreed to get up early and make a run to Nordheimer to put down a river run before dark through class 5 Freight Train.

Sun: Out of camp by 8:45 AM without a problem
Headed south to Orick
Took a Wolf-inspired Short cut to the Klamath River via Bald Mountain Road (why oh, why does anyone follow Wolf on these short cuts?)

This is an incredible road. Views of everything and everywhere unfolded of huge redwoods, amazing meadows, and the bonus of an un-tracked snowfield on the summit that Sollie made a first D on in Heffe's kayak with a last ditch bail-out 10 yards from the tree line at 30mph. Well done. We continued on a single track dirt road lined by snow fences getting both trucks filthy...that's why I go with White (remember the shiny new black truck). We hit a detour about five miles from the end of the line (we knew it was a possibility) and we took a detour through Hoopa and back out to the Klamath.

The boys put in at Nordheimer at 2:30 and made a run to "Freight Train." At "Whirling Dervish" the newbie-rookies opted out and Sollie, Justin, Little Alex, and Wolf took on new "Freight Train" and nailed it. Camp was awesome with a great fire and a tepid scuffed bottle of Early Times floating a dark-stick.

Monday: Woke up to find everything covered in ice
About 20 degrees Farenheit
Butler run on Cal Salmon with a put-in at 35 degrees

Everyone nailed it and we were on the road by 11:45 AM. We delivered Sollie to the Sacramento International Airport at 5:15 PM in time for his flight back to Newport Beach.

About 950 miles, 3 days, five different river runs, sunny skies, and a quarter full plastic, half-gallon bottle of Early times for the warehouse refrigerator. A great Winter rafting trip that will be hard to match or beat. We'll try.

Trains hittin' Berkeley... next stop Emeryville... see ya. North Fork American in 2 weeks puppies!

SHINY NEW BLACK TRUCK UPDATE: When we made a quick stop in Orleans for gas on the way to the California Salmon... Sollie, writes into the muddy side of Justin's truck. "I wish my girlfriend was as dirty as this truck!" in 6" letters not knowing (because Sollie rarely is in-touch with the pragmatic, real property aspects of life and the respect for possessions that was ruined by his upbringing in a hippie commune) that his letters would be etched into Justin's formerly shiny new black paint... uhmmm ... Justin was stoked, yet calm.

I'm fairly sure that Justin washed his truck Monday night.

Posted by Big Poppa w/ whitewater photos, rafting video and side notes by crew of W.E.T. River Trips

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