Middle Kings 2018

Eventually every whitewater kayaker hears of the Middle Kings. This epic hike in, days and days of California whitewater, and the beauty of the high Sierra. I first heard of the Middle Kings long ago and eventually in 2006, a year after graduating high school, I finally managed to make the trip happen. 12 years later I had still not returned to this California classic. Then, Scott Lindgren called. 

After about a five minute pep talk like I’ve never gotten in my life, I started the van, and pointed it South. After 45 minutes later I was driving by the put-in to the North Fork of the Payette and did a double take. Was that Clay Wright and Nick Troutman standing in the pull-out? So i turned around and true to some very fortunate luck the boys were just getting ready to put in for the top 10 miles on the North Fork. 12 hours and two laps later I was back on the road. Sometime late the next day I arrived at Scott’s house and began packing up for the trip. 

I was really wishing Aniol wasn’t delayed leaving me with a full two days to pack because by the time we finally hit the trail about 7 am, June 30th, I realized I might have over packed a little. The 12 miles in front of me were about to be challenging to say the least. Galen had tweaked a shoulder during the North Fork and in exchange for some fun tickets offered to carry some food for Scott and I. Even without food weight 13 miles of a 12,000 foot pass with a loaded kayak is not an easy task. 8 hours of suffering later we arrived to the put in swatting mosquitos and attempting to get on the river before dark. 

The next days were about as magical as it gets. Scott Lindgren, Aniol Serrisolses, William Griffith, and I spent our days paddling some of the best whitewater in California and nights next to a fire under the clear California Sky. Some highlights were Super Slide, Raw Dog Falls, Charlie Beaver’s slide and the infamous Bottom Nine. We easily made the move where Rush Sturges swam, now known as ‘The Drop Where Rush Swam’ and continued downstream with incident of any kind. All in all the trip took us 5 days and we descended over 6500 vertical feet of whitewater. Already looking forward to California, 2019!

Photo Credit: Scott Lindgren

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