Monday, August 11, 2014

South Fork of the Little Wind River Expedition


Adventure.We all seek it,one way or another.Some people need it.It becomes a lifestyle and,when one adventure is over,our minds eye instantly begins to visualize the next.The Wind River mountain range in Wyoming has been my venue for adventure for the past few years,and a whitewater kayak my vessel.This is the story of my 2014 South Fork Little Wind river expedition.
The Winds are some of the most magical and majestic mountains I have seen.After a 28 hour drive,it was an amazing feeling to wake up in Lander,Wyoming knowing that we where about to get in deep.We met up with the Pyrahna team van in Lander,acquired our reservation permits,and camped in the town park that night.After a stout breakfast,we set shuttle at washakie reservoir and loaded up in the Pyrahna van(a.k.a. Orange bitch)and drove up to moccasin lake.Here,we would begin our 8-10 mile hike the river.The team consisted of:
                                      Matthew Beauchamp
                                              Bren Orton and Matt Anger
                                                          Mike Patterson
                                            Ben Bernhard 
                                        And myself,Chris McCoy

We arrived at Moccasin lake around noon and got our backpack systems fired up for the hike.We set off single file and within 10 minutes we were sweating and grunting up the first pass on the trail to Mary's lake.

Ben and I reached the top of the pass first,along with Mike.He waited for the rest of the boys while Ben and I went on ahead.Unfortunately,we went the wrong way.We descended a few hundred feet on what we thought was the trail until it disappeared.We sat the boats down to wait for the rest of the crew to descend.We waited,and waited,and waited for 45 minutes with no sign of them.I hiked back up the "trail" to the last place we were all together and no one was there.Hmmmm.......I walked a bit further and saw an obvious trail going down the other side of the ridge and instantly new what was up.While Ben and I were waiting,thinking we were ahead,the rest of the group was on the real trail thinking we were ahead of them and charging to catch up.I ran back down to Ben and informed him of my realization.We cross country'd it and ran into the real trail and started hauling ass to catch up.Fortunately,the boys lost the trail when it crossed a meadow,and stopped not knowing where to go since I had the map.We reunited and took a break to soak it in and check the map.
The trail was hard to find,but we managed to stay on line.Demshitz attitude was stellar as I led them blindly into the Wind river wilderness.We struggled on to Gaylord lake,and eventually to moss lake.I found the Onion meadows trail junction at two rock cairns and went ahead to scout the trail to make sure we were still on line.I went down a good ways and new we were in the right place,so,I jogged back up to the group.When I reached the group my exhaustion caught up with me and I proceeded to puke my guts out.At that point we realized we were not going to make the river that day and started looking for a camp.We camped at 10,000 feet near moss lake and fought the hordes of Mosquitos till the sunset,and passed out after a nice freeze dried dinner.
                                                                  Camp one

We woke to a beautiful alpine sunrise and began to hike some more.We had made approx 6 miles the first day and had maybe 3 to go.Doesn't sound that bad,but the trail was extremely difficult to follow and had many downed trees which were a pain to cross with loaded boats on our back.A lot of pain and suffering later,we reached the river around noon on our second day.
At the river,the setting was so sick.To my relief,it looked like we had good flows and,there was a nice horizon line at the end of the crystal clear,moving pool we where about to slide our kayaks into.A few folks did a quick scout and reported a decent boogie rapid over the first horizon.
        It's amazing how the river gives you life and strength.The hike in beat us up pretty badly.It was about a nine mile hike with only a few big climbs,but the trails on the reservation are unmaintained and often times very hard to follow.I still felt sick from the altitude,dehydration,and exhaustion combo of day one.Bren had a long,cold night of shivering in his summer bag when the overnight lows got down to 30 degrees or so.The team was just taking a beating all around,but by the time we ran a few rapids and a small slide we were all smiles as we floated through Onion meadows.12000 foot peaks dominated the view over the continental divide in our background.Trout jumped in the stream all around us.We all agreed that the suffering was already worth it to be in this beautiful,wild place.

We spent the rest of the day running amazing drops and slides with only a few short portages.The bigger stuff was manageable class five with a few stouts thrown in,but really fun for the most part.
This was one of the best rapids of the trip.A good lead-in set up this drop,which required a good boof and a strong finish to avoid some sieves on the right.Classic.
                Bren airing out the boof

After kayaking for about 5 hours we came to a spot I recognized from my google earth research.It was a pretty big slide with a huge cliff coming out of the river at the end of it.I made sure to remember this spot because soon after the river gorges up significantly and the gradient excels for about 2-3 miles.We made the call to save that for the next day and to set up camp.A few of the boys went to scout the first gorge while the rest of us set up camp on some nice granite.The boys came back with reports of a tight walled in gorge with 5-6 rapids before the next place you could exit the gorge.We ate,drank,and enjoyed relaxing with one another for the evening, knowing tommorrow will be a big day.
       Camp slide.Not really any good lines on this one but a few folks did a short portage and ran the bottom of it.The rest of us just got out on river left before it and found camp.
  The top part of what we called the breakfast gorge.Better than coffee for sure.
This is the bottom of the breakfast gorge.Such a sick way to wake up.Bren,Manger,and Ben had done the scout the evening before ,so to save time, the rest of us went in blind on the beta they had given us.I normally prefer to scout anything class 5,but,the boys assured us we could just follow them blind.We dropped in,and everybody had sick lines and re-united at the bottom to go for the next scout.

I spent countless hours pouring over maps and doing internet research before we came to the south fork.I kinda new what to expect from the river for the most part, but the section we had just entered was pretty unknown territory for the next 3 miles.Canyon walls were huge and the gradient was steep to say the least.I won't give away too many details,just be prepared to run stout class 5 and do stout portages if you come here.
This was a huge double drop that Bren ran.Super nasty wall/cave siphon on the right wall was alI I needed to see to walk this one.
This is the bottom drop.You can sorta see the cave,it was nasty but Bren killed it.
Bren also ran this thing.Pretty sure it was a first descent,and he called it "gingervitus".Absolutely killed the line on a drop I initially didn't even think was runnable.It was pure sickness.
After several hours of kayaking and difficult portaging, we finally floated in the meadow at the end of the canyon.The 3 miles since camp took us 4-5 hours to navigate and was one sick section of river.
The meadows were just as epic as the canyons.The river snaked around for a mile or so with granite walls all around us.Occasionally, I would catch a glimpse of some of the far off ridges and peaks we had walked over or around to reach the river.The scale of the place was almost too much to comprehend.The south fork was giving us all we could handle,and downstream progress had been slow due to all the scouting and portaging.We had hoped to finish that day,but we began to accept that we would néed another day since we still had 11 miles to go,with 2500 feet of gradient,and at least on major portage at the final falls.
We paddled out of the meadow and the river picked up right where it left off.Every rapid seemed to have at least one feature that made an otherwise beautiful drop kinda sketchy.This characteristic kept me portaging pretty often, but at least one team member ran pretty much everything that was runnable.Mostly Bren and Manger,who had been on tour for Pyrahna kayaks, and had been running the shit for 3 months straight.I had paddled 3 times in the last 3 months on good whitewater and was there more for the adventure than to test my kayaking skills.The first team to come kayak the south fork named many of the rapids in this section.I think this one may he called astro orbitor,and I think that is valentine peak in the background of the photo above.
  Excluding the brief float through the meadow,we had been charging hard since breakfast gorge and decide to take a little lunch break at the next scout just downstream.Ramen noodles taste so much better when you are eating them in a remote wilderness like the Winds.Although the constant decision making was stressful,The group was still in good spirits.Now re-fueled a little bit,we headed on down stream.
  On any true class 5 expedition,almost everyone has at least one "oh shit" moment along the way.Not too far after lunch slide,we came to a horizon line where guys up front all got out on the right to scout.I eddied out on the left, so as not to crowd the small eddy at the lip.The horizon line was fairly ominous so I wanted to get to right to have a look for myself.As the last person pulled their boat out of the water, I began to ferry across to the other side.As I went for the move, I totally blew my ferry and had no choice but to either run the drop,or,find another eddy even closer to the lip.We had encountered so many drops that would be certain disaster if you entered  in the wrong spot that I was terrified to just run the drop blind.The entrance dropped over a 4ft ledge with a good hole. There was a small eddy on the right beside the hole at the lip of the drop.Survival instinct took over and I dropped into a side surf in the hole and deflected straight into the eddy.My heart was pounding.I immediately apologized to the boys for my near miss.The drop turned out to be a clean 15 foot falls that probably could have been run anywhere,but I didn't know that.Almost used one of my nine lives,and I've only got a couple left!
I honestly can't give an accurate description of the river after this.We had kayaked and walked so much shit,it was all starting to run together.Eventually,as the evening approached,we knew we were close to the last gorges and the 3-400 ft falls near the end that required a long portage to reach the river below.Ben and I went for a long scout,with high hopes,only to find several ridiculous drops back to back that would have to be portaged.Group morale was low.We decided to camp above this last section and deal with it the next day.At our camp was a beautifully clean rapid that consisted of a long boogie rapid into a stout hole,then over a gorgeous 6 ft ledge.After the ledge it charged into a sick double drop of maybe 25 ft.Everybody saved it for the morning except Ben and I,who only ran down to the ledge,taking out at camp above the double drop.
     We found the remnants of a fire ring at our chosen camp spot and rebuilt it.Dark clouds rolled over the horizon as the sun went down,and it began to thunder a little.As I lay in my bivy,lightning lit up the sky,the wind blew hard and it began to rain.I tucked in tight to wait it out.
  After a restless night in the rain,I awoke feeling fatigued.I weighed my options.My anxiety got the best of me and I decided to portage the entire last gorge and the big falls in one long portage.I announced my decision to the team,and told them I was fine to walk alon, but Ben came along while the other 4 dropped in.
We portaged high,while they ran some sick drops and portaged a lot at river level.The above photo shows one of the nicer drops,but it still had a nasty log just above the lip that Bren and Manger both got uncomfortably close to.
  To my surprise,the portage route I had chosen wasn't bad at all, and Ben and I were on the ridge partway through the mandatory  portage in 30 minutes,waiting and watching from afar to see the crew emerge from the gorge.
After a good while,we finally saw them get out and begin to walk around the falls pictured above.Half an hour later the crew was together again,and we made our way around the big falls to the valley.
  This was the view downstream halfway through the big portage.So epic!
   After some route finding issues and a little rope work,we made it back down to the river.A short bit of continuous boogie water flattened out into the incredible South fork little wind valley.It was 6 miles to the reservoir and our takeout,and we knew we still had one major obstacle left:a short limestone gorge a few miles above the reservoir.We entered the gorge and ran the first bit and got out to scout.The first descent crew reported running this blind in the dark,so we had hopes of being able to route it.Unfortunately,some rocks must have moved from high flows or something,because the whole thing was horrible looking and we all decided to portage.The portage was very difficult.After a long scout,we decided to portage at river level and do a delicate ferry to finish the portage on the other side.During the scout, I got involved in some of the sketchiest vertical dirt climbing on earth looking for a high route around the gorge.I clung to roots and bushes for dear life in search of a feasible portage route,but saw nothing good.Ben had found a route we could take at river level and led the way.Bens portage was a thing of beauty in some sort of sick and twisted way.He made the delicate ferry move and got out to grab any bitches that needed grabbing,and one by one we got to the other side of the river and finished the portage.
We paddled the final bit of river into Washakie reservoir and battled the white caps for a mile or two across the lake.The South Fork of the Little Wind river is a magical and brutally rugged place.As I have said before,"For the best whitewater,go to California.But nothing in the U.S. beats Wyoming for adventure".The Wind River range holds a special place in my heart.I have now completed 3 expedition runs in the Winds: North fork Little Wind from Twin lakes,first descent of the upper gorges of the north fork of Bull Lake creek into bull lake proper,and now South Fork Little Wind from Onion Meadows to Washakie reservoir.
    I have had the pleasure to paddle and travel with some very good paddlers and could not have been successful if not for all of them.Matthew Wallace,Dalton Creech,Mason Robinson,Jordy Searle,Nick Murphy,Jim Janney,Bren Orton,Matthew Beauchamp,Mike Patterson,Matt Anger,and Ben Bernhard,all though none of you may ever want to paddle with me again after the hell missions I have gotten you involved in,I'm down any time I can make it happen. Thanks. CM

Friday, December 7, 2012

Expedition summer report


Sunset on The Milky lakes
A fine evening at hotel California
Mason Robinson takes his second plunge into the depths of the Cherry Bomb
Upper Cherry was the first trip I took this summer,with plans to also do the Middle fork of the Kings again if levels worked out,which they didn't,but all was good in the immigrant wilderness of Cherry creek.While flow was low,group morale was extremely high and we had a great trip routing 6 people(5 first timers including myself)into cherry bomb gorge.A great trip even though we didn't get kings.Easily one of the best class 5 rivers in the world.I'm sure there are other trip reports on this river far more comprehensive than I could be, so I will move on to my next adventure.
Myself at Double Pothole
From left to right:Jim Janney,Chris McCoy,Jordy Searle,and Nick Murphy.Photo by Emily Powell
Suffering for the love of it
It was just another great day the takeout for Little river in AL,a few years ago,and we were talking about summer plans for our first trip to the Middle Kings river."If we are hiking that far for kayaking,we might as well do Bull Lake next year!",someone said.Bull Lake?I had never even heard of this Bull Lake creek.Little did I know that this moment would stick with me and eat at me until I went to BLC myself.A dismal snowpack in Cali had the crew back to the southeast by the end of june from the upper Cherry trip, and though it was a great trip with great people on one of the worlds great rivers,I was hungry,starving if you will.I got word that Knoxville TN paddler Jim Janney was trying to put together a crew for an expedition to BLC,and I contacted him instantly.I soon found out that Jim had an audacious plan to hike in to a set of glacial lakes,known as the Milky lakes for there grey silty water,that lie almost at the source of the north fork of BLC to do an exploratory run on the upper gorges of the north fork.The plan was to get dropped off by a 4wd shuttle bunny,hike 8,10,12? miles over an 11,000 foot pass from Kirkland park,then straight to the lakes thus avoiding a horrible jungle like descent through pine forest that a prior group had expierienced.This path would also allow us to access the upper gorges of the north fork and make for a shorter approach than the 18 mile slog into the south fork.Shuttle options had became thin when our original plan fell through after much negotiation with those living on the rez, and we conceded that we might be hiking into the south fork if we wanted to get on BLC this year.Though many calls and invites were made,only 2 people really showed interest in joining us for this one:former SE boater Nick Murphy and Kiwi paddler Jordy Searle.Nick and Jordy had been eddied out the NF Payette for a few weeks and somehow Jim talked them into joining us for this mission.Jim's brother,Tom,had completed a run from the SF side 2 weeks prior at HIGH flow,so we had good beta from him for the hike,as trails can be non-existent in the Winds at times.Jim had spent a lot of time and effort on the beta for the NF mission and hadn't given up on it just yet even though we were planning to put on the next day.The phone rang,it was Jordy."We have a beautiful blonde with 4wd and a shotgun that is willing to do our shuttle,lets meet at the Rez at 6am!"The plan was hatched,it was about to be on!
 
 
 
Jim soaks in the heart of the Winds
The next moring,sure enough,the boys showed up at 6am with a beautiful blonde shuttle driver named Emily who drove us at least 20 miles of dirt roads into the backcountry until the road became impassable.At this point we gathered our backpack systems and said goodbye to Emily knowing that we were now in it to win it,as they say.The crew embrassed the solitude and the silence of remoteness as we followed what was left of the ATV path to an open alpine meadow labeled as Kirkland park on topo maps.We had entere the "roadless area" and soon after the meadow there no more marked trails or paths to follow,only faint disconnecting fisherman and game trails used by Indians long ago.Jim led us flawlessly across Kirkland lake to the base of the pass where we found an ok path to the top of the 11,200 foot ridgeline that guarded the Milky Lakes and the NF.It was brutal,but the views were breathtaking and made us quickly forget about the climb.We took a nice break here then began the downclimb to the lakes.An hour later, after some route finding issues,the pass was 1500 feet above us and we were trudging through swampy forests occasionally finding a path,but mostly just bashing through the woods.After 2 lakes,10ish miles of carrying loaded boats over difficult terrain at altitude,an 11000 ft pass and alot of soul searching,we had made to the Milky lakes.
The glacial mirror reflects the granite as I float across Little Milky in the late evening

The paddle across the lake to our camp was surreal.Alpine summits of the Winds surrounded us in a place few others have been.We made camp in the pine forest next to the first rapid of the Milky Lakes gorge amd had the treat of seeing the most epic double rainbow I have ever seen tower over us and the mountains and eventually form to complete arches adjacent to one another across the sky,sorry no photos.It was a good night despite a little rain forcing the boys to set up a late night tarp shelter.
Jordy fires into the first rapid right out of Little Milky lake
Day 2 was to be our exploratory day and it started with a nice class 4 ledge drop right out of the lake.We hoped to make it to the confluence with the south fork that day,we also hoped to find some amazing runnable whitewater.Niether of those things happened.
 After the initial rapid,we ran 2 out of 3 of the remaining drops in the lake gorge.Nice 4/5 led us into big milky lake,a truly spectacular place to be.

Jim in the Milky lakes gorge
Jordy exiting the first gorge
Jah Murphy dropping into Big Milky
Sick landscape shot by Jordy      
The glamour was short-lived and we were quickly reminded that this ain't california!Right out of the lake was a beautiful 35er,but the lip was all jacked up so we portaged left on granite slabs.

beautiful falls we couldnt run
We put back in to some manky stuff that we boat-scouted through until the walls starting boxing in around us.We knew there was a large falls around the bend that we had seen from miles away the day before on our hike in.After an extended scout we decided our best way around the falls was to go up and over a dome on river left.Jim had scoped this out on sattelite imagery,and was confident it would be passable.We dubbed this the "Jim Janney portage".We climbed straight up the granite dome and over the backside for a solid 45 mins before reaching river level below the massive falls and runout.
Epic drops on the north fork
Jim Janney portage aka Cougar canyon from river level
We put back in to more manky boulder gardens which led us to a super steep section.2 nice drops that were very tempting unfortunately led into a very unnrunnable 50-60 footer.We portaged again down a nice granite slab on river right.The portage was easy by bull lake standards and put us back into some decent boulder rapids until the next big portage at a wood filled,sieved out canyon.We were able to portage at river level into the next section, which finally yielded a few good drops and dished out some carnage as well!A good lead-in put us at the top of a stout triple drop that I walked.Nick declared it good to go and had a pretty good line through the rapid.

Murphy on the first d of a nasty triple drop
                                                                                                           
Jim followed suit with a good line and sold it to Jordy.Jordy had a little trouble after flipping into the left wall,some bad rocks forced him out of the boat but Jordy is a bad mofo and basically just self rescued himself.We pulled the boat out but the paddle was gone.Jordy got out the breakdown,we portaged some wood in the next drop and it was back on.Next thing we came up on was a rowdy boulder garden into a box canyon like Daves chasm on the Clarks Fork, but mankier.Nick ran first and cleaned it up.I went next and tried to go over a shallow flake rock that kinda threw nick off line a bit.The incredibly manky texture of the rock stopped me,spun me around and I flipped into a deep brace/roll.I got back up just in time to bounce of the large pillow rock in the center of the river.I was now back in control but on the wrong side of the river and headed straight into a sieve.Luck was on my side as Jordy had elected to portage the entrance and was able to pull me out of the siphon without me getting out of my boat!A few more portages on riverside scree around horrid mank deposited us into another small lake.The lake was sick!It was locked in by cliffs forcing us to paddle out of the lake before we could potentially exit our boats again.The walls subsided just enough to allow the crew to check out the next drops by climbing down the bank through thick pine forest.The scout revealed a sick walled in canyon that ended in a 60fter with a huge Runout rapid at the bottom.Portage options seemed non-existent.We were faced with the hardest situation we had come to so far.                                      

What to do?
I was worked both physically and mentally,perhaps a bit more than the rest of the crew.They went out and searched for our best options while I recovered a bit.They decided it would be best for us to go high and try to use a tree line gully to get back to river level.I was getting left behind on the portages at this point,just getting worked.I was pushing hard,just not a lot of fuel left in the tank.As we climbed straight up,I stopped for a rest and saw Jim coming back down.He informed me that he thought we could go down where I was at.This lifted my spirits some as I was now back with the group and going down instead of up.Jim's route went well as usual,and after a ferry or two and another portage we made camp in a short section of flats.8-9 hours of brutal descent had only yeilded us about 3 miles of river that day.Our legs were a mural of cuts and bruises from the numerous hell portages,and the boats looked the same from the sharp,nasty rock found in the north fork of bull lake creek.However,our spirits were good.Even though we didn't make the confluence of the south fork,we had made it to the point where a prior had put on thus completeing the unknown portion of our trip.We had a wooded camp that night that just oozed grizzly.I had a mountain house and passed out quickly,bear spray by my side.It rained again that night,and another late night tarp set up ensued. 
Lakes section of Bull Lake proper
Day 3 started of nice.Good boulder gardens and slides with a few short portages mixed in put us at the confluence within an hour of putting in.We had little flow coming in from the other side,but downstream in bull lake proper we had a healthy medium flow.The 1st part of Bull lake proper is the lakes section.The north fork put us in below some of the drops in this section,in particular the waterfall on the cover the colorado guidebook.We stiil got some great bedrock that culminated in the largest drop of the run,Haagen Daazen.
More Lakes section
Haagen Daazen the grand finale of the lake section
Haagen daazen is huge,with the lead in being the crux.I was feeling good but wanted no part of this thing.Nick seal launched in below the lead in to run the main drop.The rest of us portaged down the right.The next section was filled with stout eddy-hopping and boat scouting that led right to the entrance of the forked tongue gorge.The river split around an island with most of the flow going right through a huge 5+ rapid.We ran a sketchy sneak down the left channel to a short portage and took lunch and reflected on the morning.The 2 channels came back together and the walls closed in after our lunch spot,and we entered an awesome flurry of powerful 5/5+ boulder gardens with big holes.We all walked a nasty 10ftr and then set safety for Jim as he ran the final rapid of the gorge.A long lead in to a huge sloping ledge hole required the best of lines and Jim crushed it.
Jim was the only one to step up to this massive hole in the forked tongue gorge
Same drop in the forked tongue gorge
The river let up for a short moment,we did another portage,then paddled to the start of the first of 2 named portages on the run,the Jim Bridger portage.
Jim Bridger portage
As I suffered over the house-sized boulders and loose scree for 45 mins or more,I thought of the hardships Bridger himself must have faced while pioneering trade routes through these rugged mountains.Perhaps he had stood at the same place I now stood......Each step forward was increasingly difficult.I had reached total exhaustion.If my balance waivered at all,I no longer had the strength to right myself,I would just have to fall and get back up.After the first part of the portage,We paddled a short distance and began the 2nd part of the portage.Part 2 was much friendlier and offered a nice double drop at the end of it.We started bombing again.After a 1/2 mile or so I had to call in my camp card.I was fatigued to the point of liability.The group was supportive of my decision.They led through one more rapid and we made camp.
Rapids leading into camp
I consumed as much food as I could spare in an attempt to recover for the next day.Jim managed a few trout that he and Jordy shared.We watched the sun set behind the high walls all around us until the darkness put us to sleep.Day 4 I awoke feeling comparitively fresh.It was a good thing because right out of camp we had a mile or so of high quality class 5 boulder rapids.Jordy took the lead and we followed his example right down into bull lake itself.Out of the lake we encountered more 5+ boulder gardens that were more marginal than the ones above the lake.Next was the 2nd named portage of Bull lake creek,Bull Lake falls.
Bull Lake Falls
Bull Lake falls portage was not as hard as the bridger portage,but epic none the less.
Absolutely epic!
A nice 30ftr and the end of the 400ft cascade called to Nick and Jim,and they fired it while I set rope and Jordy took photos.Good lines led us to the next challenge.
Cleanish 30ftr at thr end of the cascade
After the falls we entered the rocky mtn mank section,3 miles of continuous boulder garden style rapids that gradually mellow out treated us to some of the best paddling if the whole trip.We took lunch so Nick could do a quick boat repair after this intense section of whitewater.We all enjoyed some sunshine and food in the now open canyon.Back on the river,the scenery had shifted to desert like features.We ran a good stretch of 3/4 boulders gardens for a while until we came upon the last canyon of the trip,the Limestone gorge.The gorge started off with several powerful drops that no one in our group fired up.A few good rapids put us into the main part of the gorge which is essentially a mandantory portage on some of the most unstable rock and sand I have ever been on.Although it short,I felt this was the sketchiest portage of the whole trip.A couple of close calls later and we had made it around the sieve pile and back to river level.Solid class 5 started up again.We knew we were close to the end,so we bombed hard,boat scouting most of the way.Then the boulders dissappeared,and we ran a long low angle slide down into the flats above Bull lake resevoir.We floated through the flats with 1000 ft cliffs all around us.Each buttress was like a giant statue overlooking and protecting the sacred canyons of bull lake creek.
From alpine to the desert.Always huge walls around you at Bull lake.
We considered camping before paddling the resevoir,but the bugs and heat got to us and we made the call to hammer out the lake.The next 4 hours or so was some of the hardest paddling of my life and it was all flatwater!Soon enough though,I reached the takeout 30 mins after the rest of the boys and we were loading boats like any other river day,except this was not any other day,it was a special day.For whitewater,Cali is def better,but for adventure nothing beats wyoming.Is bull lake wyoimings version of middle kings?I don't think you can compare the 2 beyond the numbers.Each is so special in there own way and so different in character from one another.Bull lake was a sick adventure,but just to top off the summer Myself and Jim rallied to the Clarks fork of the Yellowstone to do our 2nd run on one of the classic multiday class five runs in north america.It was a great trip and a great end to my expedition summer.