Tuesday, January 29, 2008

An EPIC and Possible First Decent

On Sunday (Jan. 27th) myself and Justin Patt decided to explore the waters of the Arroyo Mocho by Livermore, hearing of a 35' waterfall and some gradient. We located the creek pretty easily but due to our college style wake up at 11am we didn't put on until 2pm. From a previous "ducky" expedition we read that the landowners at put in were not so friendly, so we hopped the barbed wire fence and quickly made it down the hill side in our bright boating gear. We came upon the waterfall within 1/2 mile and took some time to scout. At first the drop look very intimidating due to the stout lead in which had a 10' boof at the top, into a pot hole 8' boof that lead straight off the 35 footer. After scouting for a half hour or so from both sides of the river we both decided it was good to go. A quick game of rock, paper, scissors decided that I was the victor to go first. J-Patt set safety for me at the lip of the waterfall just in case something didn't happen as planned, even though we both knew that the gorge walls were too steep to help if anything really went wrong. We both ended up with perfect lines and were both fired up for the day, but little did we know what lied in front of us. Due to our time concern we opted not to take camera (dumb move) but here is a shot of the waterfall from Bill Tuthill's ducky expedition from cacreeks.com.

This could have been a first and second decent of this drop but we aren't sure and haven't heard of anyone else getting in there and firing it up. The rest of the run was continuous class IV and III+ with wood, bushes, and barbed wired fences across the river (Landowners out there must not like kayakers). With numerous portages, Justin losing his paddle twice and the last miles of the run going straight through bushes the day was getting late. After finding JP's paddle the second time it was officially dark. We chose to rally in the dark since we were sure we had to be close to the take out. This was some of the most sketchy boating I think we both have ever done. Justin ran into one of the wonderful barbed wire fences in the middle of the dark crossing the river, but lucky didn't get hurt. Both of us were on edge at this point and a little hesitant to keep boating down this river we didn't know in the dark, with bushes, wood and barbed wire fences everywhere. Justin was leading through the bushes after the barb wire incident and once in a clearing the water quickly rushed in a pile of logs across the creek. With no eddies, he got pined underneath the logs and I pined on top of his boat. I held on top the log so I didn't go underneath it but my leg was pined in my kayak by the nose of Justin's boat. After a very long 30 sec. Justin came out flustered and glad to be alive. Once he gathered his head he helped me push my boat up-stream so I was able to get out and climb the log to shore. With both of our boats pinned underneath the logs and the multiple near death experiences, we both decided that once we got our boats out we were hiking out. With some snazzy rope work and lots of tugging, with water up to our necks, we got the boats out and got ready to hike. I was lucky that I brought a head light to hike out but the rain had made the steep hill sides very soft and challenging to climb. Once at the road we saw that we were only a quarter mile from take out so we got a quick ride in the back of a pick up from a local and recapped on the day. It was a great adventure and we were stoked to get in there even though it was such a mission. We got off the river a little after 7pm in time to get some burritos and start the drive home.

You gotta' love the epics...

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