Monday, August 21, 2006


Coloma to Greenwood Run, SF American River, kayaking Aug 20, 2006.

We kayaked the Coloma to Greenwood Run on SF American River at 1800 cfs (El Dorado County, California, USA). TaylorC paddled my Dagger RPM, PaulG was in his Wave Sport Frankenstein, BruceH was in his Dagger Crossfire & I paddled BobL's Dagger SuperEgo. Quite an interesting fleet of boats representing many different periods of plastic kayak design.

In the first part of the day we worked the river really hard. Taylor got his first experiences at lead boating. We caught lots of eddies, made lots of ferries and surfed on anything we could find. There were a couple of pretty good waves above Gremlin. Then we spent a bit of time at Gremlin wave, and a few of us got bitten. First time on the wave I got a good ride, but then was tossed off and flipped in an instant. I made my roll, but that was a bit of a wakeup call. Paul led a good line, we caught some eddies and learned some lessons at Old Scary Rapid, but only some of us were scared by it. Then I caught my first blackberry eddy of the year. How sweet to eddy out and have nice ripe blackberries within easy reach! The big eddy line above the Hwy49 bridge was a little snarly as usual, not too bad if you kept your right edge up, or a smackdown if you didn't.

By the time we got to Henningson-Lotus Park I was totally ready for lunch and maybe a nap or a takeout. But after a little food and a little rest I was happy to get going again. I followed a whole flock of merganzers down a little rapid above Camp Lotus. Then we saw some black ducks with white patches on their necks; I'm not sure what they were. A big family of Canada Geese was so calm and majestic as we floated by them at Camp Lotus, but I was already getting revved up for the main event.

Barking Dog Rapid was a howling good time. I finally figured out why I have been struggling to learn how to paddle that SuperEgo tugboat. After cruising on class II all day, you have to rev it up a notch or two when playing the Dog. Ferrying out the first time I was having second thoughts about this big growling monster, but once I dropped in the ride was so sweet. I stayed on it long enough to show that I belonged there, but then I had a dynamic pearl out, straight vertical for a microsecond on the way towards being totally slammed down. Remembering the last time I swam in the swirly water below this wave-hole, I set up very carefully and I was so happy to make that roll and get into the eddy on river-left. After a couple of brief dips into the wave I got one more big ride on my fourth time. Nice ride, kept my bow up by surfing back and forth across the wave. Then I thought I was washing out to the left, no problem, but I hit a wall of water and then oops, suddenly was back in the wave backwards. Holy @#$& what am I doing here, what am I going to do now, OK quick spin and I'm front surfing again! Wow that was cool! Best surfing I've done in a long time, even if it was more reflex than intentional!

Taylor picked out some good eddies at Current Divider Rapid. Then we all had good runs at Highway Rapid, the longest stretch of whitewater on the run, although there was a little rock bumping done off to the left of the main channel. Swimmers Rapid was a nice roller coaster ride to finish the run.

BruceH did a quick roll class in the pool at takeout and Taylor picked up a darned good pool roll, pretty darned quickly!

On the way home we stopped for dinner at Thai Style Dining in Cameron Park - my favorite! We ventured up to medium seasoning and it was great. Maybe next time we can try it hot.

After putting all the boating gear away there was a blazing orange sunset over the Coast Range, but the real exclamation point at the end of a great day was sitting in the hottub and recounting the day in my mind as I started drafting out the trip report.

More pictures from the trip are available at BRT kayaking photos at Flickr.

More about: Kayaking Trip Reports.

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Super stoked on the day. Worked the top sections like dogs on a scent and stopped at every ripple. Felt better on waves at the end of the day, and was always stoked to hear Bruce T whoop. Bruce H enjoyed the long 1' standing waves, and was especially impressed by his backward surfing. Taylor's rolling was sweet and will make his future runs more fun for sure. I learned that you need to wait to get out of the bubbly water before rolling, but never hurts to try. Good time.

Paul G
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