The Kings was the most symbolic run of my summer as it was the first river I ever paddled in Cali and it marked the last mission of the infamous High Sierra runs. At multiple points in my summer I had questioned my want to continue as the rigors of continuous paddling and hiking wore on my body and mind not to mention the ridiculous amount of dirt bagging that came with the journey. Never the less, I had made it and it felt so good! The Kings is not only the really hard run at the end of the season but it's the BEST! It is more grandiose, longer, more continuous, and more demanding than all the rest. As Tommy Hilleke said in 7 Rivers, " The culmination of all our training has come down to this one point". He was talking about the King's dog!
Myself along with Mike Peacher, Barny Young, Charles King, and Will Pruett made the 12.6 mile hike which accompanies 7,000 feet of elevation change. The hike is one of the hardest of all whitewater expeditions however the accompanying scenery is priceless and motivates the hike the entire way. We quickly lost Charles to a broken boat and he decided it best to turn around and hike out, as we had only covered a mile or so. Man i felt bad as Charles had just hiked off Post Pile, I couldn't believe he was getting screwed again.
With Charles hiking out we pushed on. Now with 4 of us the mission was at hand. Feeling far from anywhere the group began to lay down great lines while intermingling with another group on the river consisting of Taylor Calvin and friends- once again! We camped at Pallisade, Simpson Meadow, and Tehipite. I think these three are the best camping and their well marked on maps. We did a day in between each and this is a reasonable but quick pace.
This years Kings expedition was really great because we were fired up, ticking off a bunch of the big guys and making our way down river with good poise and style. Highlights of the trip for me were running the Big Bad Beaver and the whole group making it through the Bottom 9 (Hardest section on the whole river) in only 4 hours, as well as taking in the scenery as much as possible. After running the Beaver I was so stoked on the rapid and all the other big rapids I had run throughout the season. This moment represented me achieving my biggest goals in kayaking- so stoked! Paddling out of the King's and seeing the takeout rang proud as I had just put together the most epic season I could have ever dreamed of. I felt like I had grown so much through the last few months of paddling and felt elated at what I had achieved.
It was really awesome to do this trip with such a good crew of kids that I had been paddling so much with. We were fired up and chargin hard. Much love to all of the wonderful people I was blessed to spend the summer with- You all feel like family and I can't wait to paddle Cali for the rest of my able life!
King's is the One!
Michael Peacher in the Grandiose (p. Nick Murphy)
Taylor Calvin in the top (p. Barny Young)
Will Pruett on the Money Drop (p. Nick Murphy)
Will Pruett amongst the top 9 (p. Nick Murphy)
Will Pruett droppin in (p. Nick Murphy)
Snow Bridge was awesome! (p. Barny Young)
Only one way out! (p. Barny Young)
Will Pruett on the big slide (p. Barny Young)
Nick Murphy on the big slide (p. Nick Murphy)
Will Pruett on the big slide (p. Nick Murphy)
Nick Murphy @ end of Waterfall Gorge (p. Nick Murphy)
Will Pruett @ end of Waterfall Gorge (p. Barny Young)
Life Style atop the Big Bad Beaver (p. Barny Young)
Myself getting ready to run the Big Bad Beaver. This was a heavy choice, as this is the biggest rapid on the run and is seemingly farther out in the wilderness than any other big rapid in Cali. I had allready run plenty of rapids, I didn't need to run anymore, I didn't have to prove myself to anyone. But what I ended up doing was firen it up and sticken the line. Glad I went for it!!! (p. Barny Young)
Nick Murphy with a lot more Beaver togo! (p. Nick Murphy)
Nick Murphy blowin through the crux- compression hole on the Beaver (p. Barny Young)
Blowin through the crux (p. Nick Murphy)
Post Crux cruisin on the Beaver (p. Will Pruett)
Tehipite Lifestyle (p. Nick Murphy)
Tehipite is a must for camping! (p. Nick Murphy)
Tehipite Dome- So Majestic! (p. Nick Murphy)
This was another reward we received on our drive out! What an amazing summer- We did it! (p. Nick Murphy)
---Enjoy this video Will Pruett put together from the trip---