For the third consecutive year ORT rolled down to the Marble Mountain Wilderness Area in the Trinity Alps of Northern California to test our skills and take on all comers in the 6 mile California Salmon Race. The Nordheimer to Butler Creek section of the Cal Salmon represents one of the most beautiful free flowing river corridors in the world.
Paul Gamache started his monsters vs porn-stars race with an unsuspecting Go! which sent all types of crafts careening and clamoring into the first corner. We had decided to "dress up" as porn stars yet our thongs were hidden beneath our new Immersion Research splash tops and pants http://www.immersionresearch.com/.
This year the race was especially fun as the kayakers started behind the pack and had to try to get past us throughout the entire course. Rubbin is racin as we bounced off two yakkers who had hesitated to see the line dropping into Bloomer. We were finally able to pass a certain "local paddler" just 3 rapids above Freight Train, the finish, after chasing him for at least 2 miles. Next Adventure http://nextadventure.net/ had again taken a van load of boaters down south from Portland so they could enjoy yet another great event in the Western Whitewater Championship Series (WWCS) without having to worry about paying for gas.
In the end we were able to defend our title as Pork Chop, Professor, and Skinny Fat Kid proved themselves worthy just their second time as Red Team paddlers. Our R4 finished less then a minute faster than an R5 team of guides from Ashland who had reportedly gotten some good advice and possibly even a little training from a former national team paddler. It's great to see other teams becoming more competitive and enjoying this great sport!
It rained all weekend so on Sunday we bit off the upper section of the South Fork of the Cal Salmon. A stout, tight little Class IV-V gorge just 12 miles or so upstream from the Nordheimer Campground. Portlanders Chris and Paul accompanied us as we dropped an R2 Puma and an R5 Super Duper Puma http://www.aire.com/aire/ into this brown watered technical and at times quite ledgy section of water. It became clear by the end of the day that a boat just a few inches wider would not have squeezed through some of the slots. The highlight of the day might have been after we parked midstream just 30 meters or so above a huge horizon line. We backed down through two big boulders were still spinning the boat around as we dropped off a 10 foot ledge just in time to square up to a huge reversal.