Photo credits to LJ Groth
The Leaping Tiger Gorge at extremly low water
In mid January, I left for China with World Class Kayak Academy to beggin my most epic adventure to date. After meeting up with the LJ Groth, Scott Doherty and Joel Kowalski in Missoula we embarked on a long journey to the most Southwestern province of China where we would meet up with the rest of our group. The Yunnan province of China boasts a huge amount of never seen Big Water boating. Nearly every river trip in China could be considered expidition boating because of that ever present X factor of the unkown.
We started out our boating expidition with a two week long raft support trip down the great bend of the Yangtze. We took on a one hundred twenty mile section fo the river known as the Great Bend. We jumped on the river at a very different water level then ever done before, leaving us with that ever present expiditionary feel. Although the section was not particularly difficult it was very fun, extremely remote, amazingly beautiful. While on the river we were introduced to a rairly spoken of aspect of China, the many ethnic minorities. Villagers around the river were allways entrigued by our willingness to take on the river which was thought to be so immensly dangerous and our very odd costums and equipment.
After our Trip down the Great Bend of the Yangtze we headed over to the next large river valley to the West. In this valley we jumped on the mighty Mekong. We were one of the only groups to complete this section and I believe we may have been the second. The river was in a very deep and steep gorge in which we really didnt know what were in for. There was one portage around a fairly burly rapid with a tricky lead in and a nearly river wide Burl Gnar pour over blocking the exit. Although the rapid was runnable request to step it up by a few of the students was shut down by the teachers. The river dished out an extremely long and cold day but fully worth it. The rapids were great and good times were had by all. Towards the end of the river I was stricken with a strong case of Chinese Chunder Butt and ended up polishing of a full roll of toilet paper and then some leaving me with an unpleasent ten mile paddle to the take out and a dirty Union Suit.
The down days waiting to cross the next pass left all of the kids of World Class Kayak Academy with a large storage of excess energy to burn and nothing to do. To remedy the needs of activity the teachers created a nice game of Hide and go Seek Tag leaving the kids amped and ready to take it to the extreme. In the last minutes of the game after going nearly an hour with being tagged I attempted a daring leap from roof top to roof top to get away from the grabby hands of the seekers. Instantly the landing zone of the second roof gave away causing me to plummet to my demise on the cold hard cement below. My arm was shatterd on impact. We promptly hired a Landrover the next day to drive me over the pass back to the nearest airport and I was headed back to the States just like that for surgery.