Saturday, April 4, 2009

Weekend Warriors by Ben Dann

Danny Doran styling the 20 footer on the Tule. photo by LJ Groth

Here at World Class Kayak Academy, a two day weekend on a “real world” weekend is almost unheard of - saturday and sunday free!?! Generally we use our days off for paddling longer stretches or for travel. With a little break from classes and homework we finally get to relax a little and experience some new paddling. What more could a world class student ask for?

On Saturday we were able to drive further and take more time exploring a new stretch of river. The run of choice was the South fork of the Middle fork of the Tule river. The first mile of the river is clean granite bed rock that created some of the best drops we have seen on the trip so far. Some of the rapids consisted of fun s-turn slides and some decent sized slides and water falls. Due to the small amounts of water there was lot of portaging involved but still entirely worth it. Eric Johnson said “We have water falls, portaging and poison oak. All we need are rattle snakes.” And sure enough, at the take-out we spotted a remarkably large rattle snake slithering between rocks of the river bank. In one day we saw everything these amazing California rivers had to offer.
Eric Parker boofing a sticky hole. photo by LJ Groth

Since we were near Sequoia National Park we thought it would be a prime opportunity to go check out some of the monstrous Sequoias that grow high in the hills of the park. The drive started from camp at the banks of the Kaweah and continued 40 minutes up a windy California road. We found ourselves surrounded by some of the biggest trees in the world. The further we drove the bigger they got. We finally pulled in to a parking long that had a large sign that said General Sherman. After about 200 yards of walking we found ourselves staring up at the worlds biggest tree. It stands at 36.5 feet in diameter at the base and is 275 feet tall. If the trunk was hallowed out and filled with water, that would be enough water for some one to take a bath every day for 27 years. It was one of the most remarkably large things I have ever seen. Later that day we headed back down to the Kaweah and had yet another great day of class IV V white water.

Site-seeing in the park. photo by Jason Cohen

Food here at World Class is quite the sacred thing. We had the privilege to go out to dinner to a pizza joint in the town of Three Rivers. We chose our pizza buddies and got a 12 inch pizza for each pair. Everyone crowed around a couple of tables and waited anxiously for the amazing food to come. I started to feel really bad for the waiters and waitresses because every time they called out a pizza every kid in the room tried to beckon them over to their table. About 10 minutes after all the pizza had been brought out each platter had been licked clean. Every student left content, full and satisfied with their weekend.

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