So I am a little out of order on things here but Cherry Creek was one of my favorite experiences from my Cali trip and I think some of my favorite photographs as well. It was absolutely the most unique place on the trip. Middle Cherry Creek is a seldom seen section of the Cherry Drainage that begins right below Cherry Lake and above the confluence with the Tuolumne. The normal put-in requires hiking in at the confluence with Lake Eleanor but “luckily” all of the flow was coming out of Cherry Lake so we opted to put in very conveniently right below the dam. We were a large crew of 7-8 people all from different parts but we had no problem meshing together and having a good time. The beginning of the run starts out really mellow with lots of small boulder garden rapids and a couple of portages due to massive boulders blocking the river. Then, out of no-where you roll up on the rapid pictured below. One of the most beautiful views around.
From here we thought we were off to a great start and our beta told us that even with putting in at the dam it would be a quick day run. The river was broken up with low volume manky boulder rapids and then, as soon as you were getting sick of that, it would open back up into beautiful Cali perfection. Near the bottom of this section, before we reached the confluence, we reached a mini gorge that had some fun moves in the top finishing with a twisting boof with what looked like a punchable hole at the bottom. Most of the crew was down low getting a good scout and me, being a little gun shy of the poison oak (for very good reasons) got two thumbs up from both JJ and Rolf and felt confident that it all went well. I had smooth lines up top, fired off the bottom boof and thought I had the perfect line.
Unfortunately, I was very wrong and after as much rodeo as I could handle I was out of my boat with Watershed bag and camera in hand, not my paddle. Luckily, the rule of the group was if you give two thumbs up and it doesn’t go…you still gotta go. Rolf came down after me, tried a different line, and exited in similar fashion. JJ pulled out some serious points for running the right side and keeping his momentum right and staying dry in his boat. There were no other takers after that. My paddle was recovered thanks to the awesome team effort, and we were back on the water with a lot of time lost, still not yet to the confluence.
So about a mile or so down the river we reached the confluence. Knowing we had too far to go and not wanting to sleep without gear we decided to leave our kayaks at the confluence, hike back out to the cars and come back down the next day to finish it all off. Luckily it was only straight up, full of thorns and poison oak, and we would get to do it twice. All said and done now, it was worth all the effort. Day two was where all the goods were packed in even with lower than ideal flows. There was so many quality drops and an awesome crew to fire it all off with. It did leave a lasting memory with me as I had an intense outbreak of poison oak for the rest of the trip ending with a trip to the doctor. You know when the doctor, nurse, and everyone around won’t come near you and he gives you a triple dose of prednisone that you did the right thing to get help, especially when you go to the doctor 2 weeks after the trip!
So Middle Cherry Creek is totally a classic if you can catch it. Wear pants, bring extra gear, and be ready for some good times. Here are my photos from the trip. Definitely my favorites, in mostly sequential order that I can remember. Hope ya like.