So, in the process of training for our trip, we have adopted a unique regiment called “Criss-cross training”. This is a highly sophisticated, scientifically proven method of training that consists of beach volley, water skiing, kayaking, summer snowboarding, and surfing. Abe has been taking care of the volley ball, the water skiing and the snowboarding and I have been taking care of the rest. While both of us have been on our bikes, rallying over 100 miles per week, we have made sure to enjoy the sun in other capacities. The main objective of our training is to remain stoked on everything, stay in shape, and keep adventuring. For me, kayaking has been an essential element of this plan!
Several weeks ago, I posted an update about recent kayaking adventures including Pauley Creek, the North Fork of the Yuba, and the Merced. Since then, I have been hitting the rivers hard (literacy I have a bruise), and have been making more and more friends!
Two weeks ago, my friend Allen and I rallied the troupes to go run Giant Gap on the North Fork of the American River. This is listed as a California classic in the California Kayak bible “The Best Whitewater in California: The Guide to 180 Runs” and was high on my list. In the late afternoon Allen and I drove off with the gas pump still in our car, almost passed through the toll both without paying, hit a gopher on the road, barely avoided the dreaded San Francisco Traffic, and just made it to Sacramento before 5 PM to rent a boat for Allen! After grubbing down on some tacos, we hit the road for grass valley and up to the North Fork of the American. We shredded some dirt roads in my Tahoe and ended up on a bluff, sleeping under the stars. In the morning we woke up with a beautiful view overlooking the Giant Gap, which is a magnificent gorge with huge rock walls towering above the constricted river.
We met up with Nick and Bryan, two fellow California boaters living out of their cars, and began the two mile hike down to the put in! We were warned about the steep hike down, given that a friend of a friend dropped his boat and sent it sailing off a hundred foot cliff. Opps! We arrived to the put in and started boating, cascading through a series of class III-IV rapids before the river narrows into the gorge. The gorge was amazing with three standout rapids, Nutcracker, Locomotive, and Dominator! Locomotive was hard to scout, so if you see a big log jutting over the river about ten feet up, you are getting close, so head far right to skirt the sticky hole at the bottom! After running dominator, we enjoyed the rest of the day, sailing through a series of fun boofs, and boulder gardens! Super fun day!!