Tuesday, May 11, 2010

and da Winner izz.... WET River Trips !

Over the past three seasons, WET River Trips has enjoyed a variety of accomplishments as a whitewater race team. The latest string of victories started with the race held in 2008 on our fav run, North Fork American River. In that race , our team dominated from the start and we finished in first place while representing commercial outfitters.

wet river trips at northern california cal salmon race

One month later, our team took on a first-ever world record attempt by running American River and its three forks under 12 hours. And we did it ...in just a few minutes over 11 hours, we ran North Fork American Chamberlain Falls run, Middle Fork American Tunnel Chute run, and South Fork American Gorge run. No one had ever done it before, and no one has done it since the beginning of the infamous American River Triple Crown! We have tried to organize another competitive race for the Triple Crown; however, not a single outfitter will commit a team to race....hmmm?

birds eye view of race participants

This year the team entered the Yuba race and we not only dominated the field by over three minutes in the raft category; but, Wolf, our head guide, also won the kayak division.
Last weekend we had another opportunity to compete on the Cal Salmon. Paul Gamache organized the event as he has for the past four years. The race was moved from the Nordheimer section to the Butler Creek section due to the Salmon road closure at Freight Train after a massive slide on March 4th. We were in and we made the 8 hour drive Friday night after loading up at our Lotus warehouse in Central California.

carry rafts to the shore for the race

On the way up we purchased our race shirts at an all-night gas station in Weed, California (the race had a theme of 'Hippies' vs. 'Nascar' and we chose 'Hippies"). We picked out black shirts with Rainbow Peace Signs on the front and the slogan: " Peace, Love, & Weed, CA". The shirts were perfect.

waterfalls on rivers in northern california

We rolled in to the Oak Bottom Campground just a mile or two up the Salmon Hwy from Somes Bar at 1:45am. Paul Gamache was still up and a party was in 'moderate' session. We exchanged good-natured insults and greetings before setting up camp. 5 hours later, I had hot coffee and huge breakfast burritos ready for the crew as everyone got up and got ready for a quick morning practice session. We rolled up the road and stopped to see the damage from the slide and to check out "Freight Train" before launching five kayaks and a raft at Butler Creek.

wet river trips race crew winners

The session went well except Heffe guided the practice crew into "Double Hole" (class 4) off angle and without momentum...they flipped. No worries, everyone held onto the boat and they continued on to takeout in a great mood and we had a giant lunch.

wet river trips team for 2010 race

The race put-on at 1pm and we had a 5-man crew in the raft and Wolf and Little Alex (girl Alex) kayaked. At the start of the kayak race, Wolf got the holeshot, and battled Dan Minten for the lead until the last 2oo yards when Dan pulled ahead giving Wolf second place and Dan his 4th consecutive victory. The raft team also got the holeshot and never lost the lead winning the race with over an 8 minute margin.

winner's wet river trips

Apparently the fun happened upstream when the ORT raft flipped in Double Hole and two of their team members walked out of the canyon. Interesting to note, the ORT crew is sponsored and trains year round for whitewater racing. Our team used standard commercial gear and didn't train as a team... we just paddle!

Paul Gamache had a bad finish as well when his raft recycled 3 times in the last lateral above Wooley Creek (in plain sight of the spectators, and he swam to the takeout wearing about 80lbs. of wet hippie clothes. It was little Alex that kayaked to Paul and dragged his sodden self to the shore. (side note: in February we ran into Paul while running the Smith Rivers and he let the air out of one of our rafts while we had breakfast... we never paid him back. So, maybe someone else did?! karma patrol!!!)

kayak at the 2010 northern california race

At the end of the race, WET River Trips saw an opportunity to continue on to the main Klamath and to run the section below Somes Bar referred to as the "Ikes" (a series of three huge holes, waves, and wave trains...especially at the 15,000 cfs that the river was flowing). No one else stepped up except our team and Dan Minten (an old friend of all of us).
The Ikes were huge and the team wasn't tired in the least...they were fired up from the win, the whitewater, and 10 foot waves!

wolf, wet river trips headguide & best loved!

That night the party was huge with Team WET River Trips leading the charge first in our camp with a round of "So, there I was..." followed by Booty Drinks (drinking a beverage of choice from your own dirty, stinky, bacteria-ridden wetsuit booty as homage to the river deities for swimming and having another 'incident'). From there, we moved our expanding crew (with Jon on the banjo and Dan on guitar) with us to the main camp for the awards, raffle, and hi-jinks!
The next morning we up by 7:30 and we had another massive burrito pile for breakfast and we packed up to head to the Scott River dragging Dan Minten with us.

there really is a cool, california

On our victory lap through the campground, we woke Paul up and we waved goodbye using "all" of our fingers. Just as we were heading out of the campground a streaking figure appeared clutching a branch of poison oak, it was Paul. Paul then ran to the truck and he rubbed the poison oak over our gear,and then stuffed the branch into Wolf's helmet. Again, Paul has yet to receive a payback ... sadly, it will happen!

freight train on california salmon river

The crew then ran the Scott River as a first-ever run for each of them... they loved it and that capped the weekend of winning: two days and three rivers ... so, how could there ever be a loser? The weather was perfect, the flows were great, and a California Whitewater Rafting Spring is incredibly beautiful everywhere you turn!

Get out and enjoy it!

Update: this weekend North Fork American Chamberlain Falls run will be at optimum levels!
and there really is a Weed, California... and a Cool, California, too!

Spaces still available this Sunday only; Sat is sold out!
Rafting Online Store or call 1.888.723.8938 for phone reservations!


Shan said...

Every Rafting adventures sure does offers something unique and exciting experience on your river journey.

W.E.T. River Trips - raftWET.com said...

Woot! Yes, yes, yes!
Every rafting trip, and especially whitewater trips bring a sense of excitement, adventure and adrenalin rush to the participant.

No matter where you are in the world, try to get on a river trip! And, in California... da best is with WET! heh

Check out our new videos here:
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Lots of water in California for 2010! Woooot!