Sunday, April 30, 2006


Rumsey Run, Cache Creek, kayaking April 29, 2006.

The Society of Infrequent Boaters unexpectedly got out on the river today. I'm not sure why RaoulA called me on Friday since I had said "sorry can't go" so many times. But after agonizing over it for about 3 seconds I came up with the right answer (yes). Then I called the usual suspects and found BobL was in Florida, JimH was still too sore to paddle, Masaaki was too busy, but fortunately EricaM said yes. I left some messages with the warm weather boating crowd, but got no calls back (hey what's up - how warm does it have to get ??). I called Will&Pam (who have been way too busy to boat way too often) and Will said yes so instantly that I was shocked.

I guess I was still shocked next morning when we decided to bring a bike for shuttle just in case, but Will&Pam were already there at take-out as we drove up.

Cache Creek Rumsey Run (Yolo County, California, USA) was glorious today at 1400 cfs (CDEC flow data). This flow was high enough to have some nice wave trains and interesting hydraulics, but low enough to have lots of great playspots. Kayaking with dear old friends and great new friends was really a treat!!

This was my first time paddling the Dagger Super Ego kayak that I have on loan from BobL. I've always liked edgey kayaks, so the transition from a displacement hull to a planing hull was no problem. The short hull of the Super Ego was much slower than the old-school long kayak that I have been paddling recently. This required all of the paddle power and paddle technique that my out-of-shape, out-of-practice kayak motor could produce. Before long I was running waves, catching eddies and having fun, but all day I was conscious of how I really have to drive this little tugboat hard to make it go anywhere. And even a moment of inattention to edge and angle and the kayak was burying its stubby bow and tapping into river currents that I wasn't planning on going with. But I must say this short kayak was sure fun on numerous play waves that were way too small for my old long kayak to have enjoyed.

This is definitely the prettiest time of the year at Cache Creek! Grasses, trees and shrubs all had new, fresh green foliage. The tamarisk was blooming everywhere along the river. We heard the birds chirping wherever the rush of the whitewater didn't drown them out. Swallows were zooming around with the greatest of ease. Warm air, blue skies and a few puffy white clouds made it a perfect spring day. The last trickles of a few side creeks were cascading down the canyon walls.

We had lunch just below the second County Park, but the flow was a little too high to surf our kayaks on the great wave that has been such a fun spot on some other trips. Water was still flowing over as we portaged the low water bridge, so it may be a while before the road opens and we can access the other side of the river.

We scouted Mother Rapid. I had planned to run it on the right, but I moved to the middle to avoid some big waves, then had to work really hard to get back to the right side to barely avoid the rocks and holes that clog the middle of the river at the bottom of the rapid.

We saw a little flow in Bear Creek, but some road scouting at the end of the day convinced me that this one was too low for kayaking. Oh well, it will have to wait until next year.

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My first run on Cache creek -- short sleeved dry top, beatiful weather, and beautiful sights. A great day had by all,

Not having been in my little BlissStick in about 8 months, it was with relief that I reported out loud to my honey, "Well! I can still fit in my boat." When you've taken time off from boating, you know that to be Question #1. Question #2 is always close to follow, though -- "Can I still roll?" That one was answered with a quick roll in the eddy, and hey -- it felt solid.

Cache Creek at 1400cfs is a great get-back-into-it run. Especially on a sunny, warm, and wonderful day like this. Especially after a long, rainy, very rainy NorCal winter. I had many regrets at not having kept my skills up enough to hit some of the rivers at higher levels earlier in the year. But I had no regrets over being on Cache Creek yesterday. Pretty darn near one of those perfect days, perfect flows -- not bad for a first day out.

My knees always feel a little weak and shaky after scouting Mother. Ah, my old nemesis. How many times has it eaten me up? Spit me out? Or maybe I'm feeling weak because we left our lunch snacks in the car and that breakfast burrito was starting to wear off. Anyhow, I decided on my entry soon enough. Exposed rock on the right, covered rock just to the left of it, enter 8 feet to the left of that. My entry was right where I wanted it, though I'm not sure if I hit the "V" or to the right of the "V". I just kept my knees pressed up into the top of my boat, and my paddle stroke strong. When I hit the slack water behind that, I could see I needed to paddle hard to get back over to the right and avoid the large hole at the bottom. My line seemed near perfect in the end, and I can only hope that the 2 other kayakers doing their scout on the banks were an impressed audience.

Thanks, Bruce, Raoul, Erica, and Will for another great day out on the river!

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