August 12, 2011

Keith's Bachelor Party

The theme for my friends' bachelor parties is an excellent one: go on super fun outdoorsy adventures with a now geographically dispersed group of close friends (mostly from Oregon State).  Since this was Keith's celebration, we opted for rafting the Main Tuolumne River near Yosemite National Park.

Five brave participants started a day early and boated Lower Cherry Creek, a burly 5th class run that ends on the Main Tuolumne.  Phil kayaked this while Keith orchestrated a paddle boat with Garrett, Graham, and Graham.  Since I wasn't on this trip, it's all heresy, but evidence suggests that the following story is true.  As the boat went over the drop on the very first rapid on Cherry Creek, the back end kicked a little more than expected.  As the paddle guide, Keith was in the back.  He was bucked forward violently enough that his face hit a paddle, breaking off the lower half of one of his front teeth.

The rest of the Cherry Creek run was not without excitement.  There were a few swimmers, a temporarily wrapped boat, and more faces hitting paddles.  In the end, they all made it down (safely?) to the Main Tuolumne put in just below Lumsden Falls.

Lewis Falls (make sure to watch Keith in the back of the boat toward the end of this one)

Meanwhile, a group of five from the Pacific Northwest was driving south, packed into my Honda Fit.  To be fair, Dane and I drove from Seattle to Corvallis where we spent Thursday night before adding Jason and Deverton to the car and driving to Sacramento, where we added Ian.  Three hours after picking up Ian, we arrived at Buck Meadows.  From Buck Meadows, it was a 1 hour hike down into a big canyon to the put-in for the Main Tuolumne run.  Normally one can drive to this point, but the winter wreaked havoc on the road, rendering it impassable.  We met up with the rest of the group that night, including Greg who ran shuttle for the Cherry Creek group, and 11 of us proceeded to drink 2.75 bottles of whiskey (and several beers to ensure that we didn't get dehydrated).

Over the following two days, we rafted about 20 miles of river with lots of Class 4 rapids and one class 5-.  I rowed our gear boat most of the way and found the water to be a perfect challenge for me: a great next step after rowing a couple of big water rivers.  I botched a couple lines, but styled many more.

Clavey Falls, the Class V-
We camped across the river, and above the class 5-, from a tree that looked to be ripe for a rope swing.  A large portion of our group ferried across the river to set up a swing with the throw rope and managed to get the bag stuck in the tree.  After failing to get it back down, they proceeded to swing on it, never knowing if it pop.  When the swinging fun was over, they realized they still needed to get it down.  Various attempts were made, including Graham M. putting on his wet suit in attempt to climb the tree like a bear (and he actually looked like a black bear).  Eventually, the successful attempt was made by Phil, who ascended the rope via prussiks attached to his rescue PFD.  All the while, Dane and I were drinking maté and being entertained from across the river.

That night, a couple of female raft guides came over from their camp across the river to entertain us in a very PG way.

Yes, that's a bowling ball and chain (we figured Keith could use some practice)
Late on the last day we found a great jumping rock!
Great trip, good times, but it's sad to be loosing Keith to the married world in three weeks time.

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