Tag Archives: rafting

Annual Summer Catch-up

I have stumbled upon a trend. Every year, my sporadically updated journal seems to hit an extended period of quiet where I am keeping busy, but have no desire to log it. Then I appear seemingly from nowhere and unleash a deluge of updates. Well, kiddies, it’s that time of year again!

After returning from Yosemite, May was relatively quiet. I went on a few fun rock-and-water-focused hikes, learned to make fire various primitive ways, and released the last few Moodoo Moments episodes online. The end of May brought the beginning of two ongoing adventures I’ll post about in future updates: the shooting of Silver Moon (a Western by Travis Stevens) and the medical probing of my esophagus in hopes of curing my lifelong swallowing problems.

June brought 3 weekends of Silver Moon shoots, further esophageal study, and a really cool hike down the rocky shores of Northwestern Malibu beaches. The fourth week of the month was dedicated to socializing with my parents and two nieces while they vacationed here in Los Angeles. Theme Parks, Outdoor Parks, Eateries, Theme Parks, Erika’s birthday, Chloe’s birthday, Dining with Erika’s family, and Theme Parks. It was a busy and fun week.

July began with a camera attached to a long tube exploring my throat quickly followed by a trip to Kernville. Whitewater Rafting and Whitewater Kayaking in one weekend (more on that later). The following weekend brought us to Bell where we helped Erika’s sister sell assorted dishes and desserts as part of a fund-raising event. And so, we arrive at today.

Sport Chalet offers a free introductory SCUBA class once a month. Erika and I checked it out. My one great irrational phobia is suffocation. This leads to claustrophobia at times—something I have had to push through in a few tight mine caves—and great unease when my breathing is obstructed in any manner. I have had difficulty with snorkeling in the past because of the way the goggles cover my nose. I knew this would be a problem today, but I was not going to let it deter me. We were introduced to the basics of SCUBA diving in the shallow end of a diving pool. It took me a bit longer than Erika, but I was able to acclimate myself to the nose-constricting face mask and the odd breathing apparatus. After toying around in the deep end a few times, we signed up for SCUBA lessons. Hopefully, we’ll be certified ocean divers by the end of the summer.

Over the next few days, I’ll post new entries about Silver Moon, Kernville, the Malibu hike, my medical misadventures, and my visiting family.

Yosemite National Park

Erika and I spent April 26-30 in Yosemite National Park. John Muir and many others have raved about the majesty of Yosemite. Their words are not exaggeration. The earth falls open to reveal blankets of rich green sewn with threads of flowing whitewater; flora climbs huge granite sculptures painted with redwood monoliths. Life seeps from its every pore. Mother Nature is reflected in every pool throughout Yosemite. Her voice in every leaf. It is grandiose, splendorous, humbling. To try to capture its beauty in a photograph is an affront. Photos of Yosemite are mere ambassadors—a tease for future visitors. You cannot capture a star in a telescope.

We slept in a primitive camping area in Hodgdon Meadow where temperatures plunged into the lower 30s at night. All campers throughout the park are required to lock away all food in bear-proof lockers or canisters. A fire was a necessity every night. This is no complaint. You can’t commune with nature by locking yourself away in an air-regulated hotel for large portions of the day. Next time I visit, I certainly want to camp in the back-country and attempt some of the many multi-day hikes… to really experience Yosemite. I want to lie on one of its higher peaks and see the stars unobstructed.

Amidst the trees, waterfalls, rapids, and rivers we saw numerous squirrels, chickaree, woodpeckers, chipmunks, and other creatures. Along the road, we dodged two deer and spotted a foraging bear. We hiked a few trails, felt the spray of a few falls, surmounted numerous rocks, and stared in awe at the sights. Yosemite can keep a person busy for a life time. We’ve barely begun to see it.

Facebook Photo Album

Our last day was spent rafting 16 miles down the Merced River with Zephyr Whitewater Expeditions. This was Erika’s first rafting experience, my second. I can’t wait for the day I get to raft class 5 and I hope to eventually have the knowledge and skill to traverse whitewater alone in a kayak.

The night before leaving for Yosemite we camped atop the little-known Pine Mountain with Extreme Things. The night was cold and the wind was ceaseless. The stars were the most populous I’ve ever seen.

More Yosemite Photos

June Rafting

I never got around to posting more photos and blabber about the Rafting trip in June. I intend to remedy that right now.

I have been on a fair number of Extreme Things activities/trips (probably approaching 20 or so) and they have always been fun and very rewarding (even Strawberry Peak which beat me like a bitch), but the Kern Rafting Trip is likely the most fun I have had yet. I don’t know if the astral bodies happened to align perfectly that weekend or if that combination of calendar numbers ignited my joy chakra; but I was constantly in high spirits, bursting with energy, and having a great time all weekend.

Our camp site was directly in the blazing Sun—that weekend was relentless, but the awe-inspiring white-water river nearby more than compensated. We lounged around on immense rocks, explored, foolishly swam through rapids, and tubed. The next day brought the main event, 3-4 trips down separate areas of the River Kern. I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time. It whet my appetite for rafting. I certainly plan on returning next year, although I want to up the stakes—class 5. I’d love to try out white-water kayaking as well.

The weekend saw the birth of a running gag that may never die—Team Sausage—the best damn rafting team the Kern has ever seen. There were numerous high points to the weekend, but nothing can top the look on Karl’s face after being launched from our raft into a roaring rapid. That’s when my smile was the widest.

More Sausage Selections