Sunday, February 12, 2006
Chili Bar, SF American River, kayaking Feb 12, 2006
We had sparkling clear air and great views of the snowy Sierra on the drive up to Coloma. Erica and I drove together to the SF American River (El Dorado County, California, United States) based on my assumption that there would be lots of boaters there to join up with for shuttle. Oh well, that's not the first time I've been wrong. Fortunately we tore ourselves out of The River Store just in time. We met Steve & Christine at the Hwy 49 bridge, introduced ourselves and joined in their shuttle. It turned out that we were probably the only boaters who set shuttle from the bridge today. We saw 2 other groups of 3 kayakers each, 4 boogieboarders and 2 rafters on the river, but ours were the only cars at the bridge at the end of the day.
Unexpectedly I found myself boating with Team Dagger. Erica boating in her Dagger G Force 5.9, Steve in the Dagger Kingpin, and Christine in a Dagger ???. With the river flowing at 2200 cfs I got tossed around a little in Meatgrinder Rapid and a few other places, enough to remind me again how out-of-practice I am from boating so little the last couple of years. So boating in my trusty old familiar Wave Sport Frankenstein was definitely a big help in having fun and getting me downriver with some style and control. Fortunately I had resisted the urge to try out the playboat that I borrowed on Friday. This was definitely not a demoboat flow for an out-of-practice boater like me.
Steve, sometimes Erica and occasionally Christine were surfing up a storm in all the usual places. There was some epic surfing at First Threat Rapid especially. I got in a few good surfs on a great wave above Meatgrinder Rapid and on the great wave just below Maya Rapid, but I spent most of the day boating very carefully to make sure that I stayed out of trouble and didn't run out of gas before takeout.
We saw lots of Canada geese and occasionally some ducks. And then there was that giant eddy-shark that grabbed Steve's boat at Third Threat Rapid. The canyon walls were covered in nice fresh green grass, making it one of the prettiest times of year on the river.
Troublemaker Rapid is definitely more troublesome than it used to be. Two of us portaged, one ran it on far left and one ran on far right. I've never cared for unusually tough rapids at the end of an easier river run anyway.
On the way back to Davis Erica & I stopped for dinner at Thai Style Dining in Cameron Park - highly recommended! Mild seasoning was very fine, but maybe next time we can try medium hot. Then on the final leg of our drive home there was an incredible blazing red sunset with dramatic clouds to finish a glorious day with a flourish!
Tags: kayaking, whitewater, rivers, paddling.
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