Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chewanakee Gorge of the San Juaquin

This stretch of river might be one of the beautiful places i have traveled in my kayak. The san Juaquin River has been plugged and stuffed with at least 8 dams that have broken this river up into small sections of what once was a long free flowing river with some of the most amazing canyons in California. Fortunately, this particular stretch was left alone, but due to generating issues of upstream dam projects, it rarely sees enough water to come alive and show its true powerful nature. Thankfully, we were in line and on time to get to experience this rarely run stretch of amazing scenery, challenging whitewater, and committing granite walls. The level was high, and the water unrelenting. I felt humble in this place, grounded to a bigger purpose, but so small in the grand scheme of it all. Leading the trip, i had to use intuition, confidence, and humility all at the same time. The rapids were flowing with such intensity it was awe inspiring. Smooth polished granite walls went up 1,000ft on both sides. Feeling so free, but so locked into the river, we began to pick our way down charging massive swirls and currents. Embracing the swirl was our only option and we made it safely back to the car with a feeling you could only know if you had been there yourself.

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