Fantasy Falls, Mokelumne River
Fantasy falls is an epic adventure with all the essentials of a California Classic. You put-in high in the Sierras on a small creek right where the road passes over it. It’s a beautiful view in every direction with full ponds, huge granite domes and cool temperatures for a backdrop while you load your boat with enough gear for the 3 day tour. There was no need to rush on day 1 as our goal was to simply make our way through the first mank section and find a nice camp to enjoy. No pictures were taken on the river from day 1 as it’s mostly fast paced boulder mank. The more flow the better to bounce your way down. Don’t worry though, as manky as the first few miles are, it does not give you an idea of the goods still to come. Half way through the mank section we caught up with a group of two French men that had missed the crew they had planned to join. We decided to join up and make a crew of 5 consisting of Rolf Kelly, Jared Johnson, Jules, David and myself.
A good nights rest you’ll definitely need as the first few gorges are stacked up right away with awesome slides, holes and some fun pinched-in moves. This river really dishes anything out and everything goes. It’s just a matter of how hard you want to charge. Here are the shots from day 2.
Day 2 is a full day mission. Our group had never been there with the exception of JJ so we scouted a lot and picked our way down. We had a map of the area and my Suunto watch with altimeter to track how far we had made it. We camped right before Rifflemans gorge on a sweet beach right by the river. One of the craziest parts about Fantasy is how much the river fluctuates throughout the day. We placed a stick in the beach first where the water was when we arrived, then again at the high point from the night. When we woke the level was over a foot lower. The pic helps give you a visual.
The third and final day is full of action as well. Several more deep gorges, big slides and the more iconic drops of the run await.
Next up after Fantasy falls is “Thing” aka “Show me your tits” aka a massive piece of chaos leading into a massive hole that is well known to serve up some beatdowns. Everyone in the group knew of this drop and we were all determined to run it before we’d even laid eyes on it. Once we rolled up on it our confidence was definitely shaken as it was late in the day, the flow was high and pictures/video just don’t come close to the real power behind this beast. After trying to come up with some reason not to run it, we finally hardened up and fired it off one after another, and to the shock of us all, no swims. That’s not to say we didn’t have interesting lines, but the hole at the bottom always let us through. Here I am testing out my aerial skills.
We were all so fired up in the pool below and it was just the steam we needed to finish up the river and the long paddle out across the reservoir to finish it all off. Here is a parting shot with the sun coming down as we touched the dam on the far side.