Solar Eclipse on Fantasy Falls, CA

 Darcy dropping into the actual Fantasy Falls
Last weekend Don and I met up with an awesome crew which consisted of Macy, David, Chris and Nathan.  We headed for the Fantasy Falls run on the North Mokelumne River.

Don running a tricky falls on day 1.  It was hard to avoid the right wall at the bottom, but both he and David made it look good!
We spent 2 nights and 3 days on this beautiful run, and as a bonus, we got to watch the solar eclipse from our 2nd camp.

Chris, looking for the tongue through a good sized hole just above camp #1 (he found it)
Fortunately for us ill-prepared types, Macy’s wife–Amanda–was smart enough to send him out into the wilderness with a sweet pair of Made In China sun-watching glasses.  That way, we didn’t have to totally ruin our eyes to see the eclipse.

View upstream from camp number 1.  Gotta love the California weather.  Definitely a BIG change from the 48 degrees and raining that we experienced on our last day of paddling in Washington!

However, due to some improper care of said glasses by a kayaker who will remain nameless, the glasses did not make it to camp 2 in mint condition.  They were full of scratches; and even though the warning label advises against using scratched glasses, we all had to take a few peaks at the unique astronomical event.  Even though we were too far south to actually see the “Ring of Fire” we did get to see about a 5/8 eclipse and it was pretty darn cool.

 Darcy dropping into the slide in “Big Boy Pants Canyon”  There is a pretty nasty hole in the middle/river right on this thing that you definitely want to avoid
Much to our delight, we all woke up the next morning still having our vision!  Bear Trap, Fantasy Falls, Island Drop and The Thing sure would have sucked had we not been able to see them!  But the lake paddle out might have been better if we couldn’t see how far we still had to go…
 Don looking good and staying left on the slide

I’m not going to do a blow by blow description of this run because there is already a great one on Darin’s site.  But the photos are in order of the drops so you can a good idea of things from that.  Our photos aren’t quite as pretty as Darin’s…we are still working on our photography skills

 Nathan avoiding the giant rooster tail at the entrance to the slide, which will also help him avoid the very sticky hole in the middle of this slide

But I will tell you that Don was super stoked to be carrying the camera!  Especially on the long portages.

Nathan on Big Boy Pants.  Sadly, I forgot to pack my Big Boy Pants so I portaged and volunteered to take photos

Macy boofing the Mushroom boof while Nathan finishes the run out

Don, Mushroom boof with sweet granite hill sides and blue sky in the background

Darcy entering the “crux” rapid of Rifleman’s Gorge

David finishing the crux.  The final move around/over the rooster was pretty hard to “nail” but we all had descent lines and came through with no problems as David is doing here

The gang in the middle of Rifleman’s.  Nice scenery, eh?

While you are enjoying our fine photos, I’ll take a minute to remind you to sign up for SWA’s summer gear giveaway.  We’ve only just begun to give out sweet kayaking gear so you still have the rest of the summer ahead of you to win great stuff!

Macy launching yet another sweet boof a little ways below the “I Want My Mommy Gorge”

Coming up on June 1st, you can win:  1.) A pair of Smith Sunglasses.  You’ll get the Smith Tactics; with these glasses you can look cool and still get your business done!   2.)  a $50 gift certificate to Colorado Kayak Supply.  Need do to some spring shopping, this will help you out!  3.)  a 1-year subscription to Kayak Session Magazine.  Stay up to date on what’s happening in the whitewater kayaking world.  4.)  a copy of Forge Motion Pictures’ Wildwater–the best damn kayaking movie out there!

Macy was super pissed that we were making him take a group photo while he was watching the eclipse.  In the end, he agreed to sit with us but refused to take his eyes off the sun.

Star Gazer–oops, I mean Sun Gazer Extraordinaire, David Taylor Maurier

Day 3, after a quick portage around the “Untouchables Gorge” Macy, David and Don fired up Bear Trap.  Here’s Macy boofing the crux hole just before charging to the right side of the Bear Trap feature itself.

Don about to launch over the Bear Trap.  It’s a really sweet rapid!  It was especially sweet watching the boyz style it!

Chris enjoying a little air time on Fantasy Falls
Nathan, David, Macy found a natural couch for a nice lunch break below the falls

David, probing The Thing.  This photo isn’t too awesome but I think you can get a sense of the complete chaos that he is dropping into

Don following on this crazy, big rapid

 Don in the middle of The Thing about to go flying down the ramp into a very sticky hole
This is all we saw of Don for the next 60 seconds or so as he battled it out with the hole at the bottom of the rapid…I’m proud to report that Don prevailed in the end and made his way out of this hole still in his boat.  It was a damn impressive ride!

Macy, thinking that he didn’t really feel like revisiting his old rodeo days decided not to try to top Don’s ride

Thanks to our awesome crew for such a great trip.  I couldn’t have asked for a better group of dudes to paddle with.

Who knows, if you win the Smith Glasses, you just might end up looking as cool as Darcy.  It’s hard to do though, so don’t get your hopes up too much!

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