My Generalized New Year's Resolution for 2010 is the same as it has been for the last several years: "I resolve to be less of an asshole this year than I was in the last." The Dalai Lama calls this "being kind whenever possible" and adds that, "It is always possible." This whole concept of kindness is new to me, but I believe it is a good thing and I'm trying very hard to learn. It's never too late!
For my Ultra-specific New Year's Resolution for 2010, I decided on one that I had already achieved: "I Resolve to float the King's River from Marble to Marshall's Ford with some new paddling friends." I knew Painter Bob already but I didn't meet Rodger, Nik, Bea, and Archie till I arrived at the Kings River Store in Marble this morning. We waited a few minutes to see who else might show (We missed you, Eric. Hope your back gets to feeling better.) and then set shuttle. The temperature was above freezing by the time we put in for 11 miles of the most enjoyable paddling I've ever experienced. It was absolutely beautiful with huge overhanging bluffs and sand bars situated perfectly for enjoying them. The water was clear and the level perfect.
Other than two low-water bridges and a nasty undercut at the second tall bluff, there weren't any hazards to speak of. That didn't stop Rodger from pinning across a channel between a tree and some shallow rocks, though. While he was extricating himself, Bob decided to park his canoe alongside the same tree and hold himself there with his free arm as the current rushed underneath him. Rodger was still struggling to un-stick himself after several seconds so Bob thought he'd stretch his legs and rinse out the inside of his boat while he waited for the traffic to clear. Hey, if your hair didn't get wet, you didn't swim! Archie's hair did get wet but lab tests have proven that schnauzer undercoat insulates ten times better than 200-weight Polartec fleece. He was fine.
Nik and Bea brought interesting conversation, figs, and some seriously good venison jerky which they were quick to share. They could both thread the needle with their long touring kayaks, too. Between them and Rodger, they turned me on to at least 1000 miles of trails (and bushwhacks between trails) that I absolutely must hike before the end of the weekend.
While still a skeptic, this section of the Kings River is one of the best arguments for Intelligent Design that I have ever heard. If you haven't been on it yet, "waste a perfect whitewater day" and float this beautiful Class I creek the next time it rains. You'll be glad you did! As for me, I'm just happy to have my Ultra-specific New Year's Resolution out of the way so I can start banging away at that Generalized Resolution. Now that's the good stuff!
Rodger, Nik, Bob, and Bea
The first low-water bridge
My regular helmet doesn't fit over my beanie
I will never Photoshop my own expression!
Painter Bob and Archie
This is the only icicle shot that came out well. The big icicles were all in shaded areas so the pictures came out blurry.
Rodger and Bea shown for scale.
A nice place to grab some lunch.
Hard to fit it all in one frame!
Nik and Bea checking out the bluff with the nasty undercut.
The second low-water bridge is actually a dam. That hydraulic would kill you at higher levels! Portage on river right.
We were becoming more aware of the biting cold as the sun began to set but we still had several more bluffs to see. By the time we got to the take-out, I think we were all ready to get in some dry cloths and crank the heater. What a great start to a new year!