Sunday, September 17, 2006


Coloma to Greenwood Run, SF American River, kayaking class II, Sept 17, 2006

We kayaked the Coloma to Greenwood Run on SF American River at 1600 cfs (El Dorado County, California, USA). MasaO paddled an Eskimo Kendo, KenyaO paddled an IK, BruceH paddled a Dagger Crossfire, CarolynD paddled a Dagger RPM & I paddled BobL's Dagger SuperEgo. Here we are again on the "C to G" run and not at all unhappy about that. This is one of our best local runs for beginner kayakers, but it also has a good mix of small, medium and large playspots for the more experienced kayakers in the group.

The river was pretty stagnant when we got to put-in at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park around 10:30. While we dressed and ran shuttle it came up to 1800 cfs in a great big hurry, then dropped to 1600 cfs for the rest of the day. It takes about 3 hours for the flow measured at Chili Bar to get down to Coloma, so we can check the flow at home and then drive to Coloma and be ready to boat at about the same time as the water gets there.

KenyaO got some lessons in paddling and eddy catching on the way down to Gremlin wave-hole, then the experienced boaters got some practice in this snarly little playspot. We all eddy-hopped Old Scary Rapid without incident. The wave-hole above the Hwy 49 bridge disappears at this flow rate, so we continued eddy hopping and surfing our way down the river.

I think I'm finally getting used to the SuperEgo kayak and also getting my paddling motor back onto shape. It was glorious to fire up the engines and unconsciously have the boat perform as expected. Having the flow slightly lower and less pushy than it was on previous trips probably helped too. Unfortunately, my motor wasn't good for the whole day, so I was back in energy conservation mode for the afternoon. I definitely need to rev up that mid-week conditioning program (and paddle more often!).

We had lunch at Henningsen Lotus Park. The big flock of Canada geese at Camp Lotus was snoozing in the sun on a little rocky island.

Punch the hole or get punched at Barking Dog

I caught the eddy at Barking Dog rapid and got in one quick surf. Then BruceH punched the hole in his speedy Crossfire. CarolynD in a slower RPM kayak just barely squeaked through. KenyaO in the inflatable kayak floated into the hole, and then got punched and munched.

California fuchisas were blooming in blazing red, one of the last plants flowering along the river.

Everybody had good lines at Current Divider and Highway rapids. The little wave-hole 1/2 way down in Highway rapid was a good spot to practice edge control while surfing. At this flow it is easy to get into, but still snarly enough to require edge control to stay on it for any length of time. I tried surfing on wave #2 at Swimmers rapid, but quickly realized that my gas tank was empty. I think that most of us were running on empty by the time we got to take-out at Greenwood Creek, if not before.

We made our beer & dinner stop at Kathmandu Kitchen in Davis. Medium hot seasoning was tasty, but nowhere near hot enough. I'm going hot! next time I eat there.

I got home with enough energy to get my wet gear hung up, but as soon as I hit the couch it was lights out.

More about: Kayaking Trip Reports.

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This was a great day on the river. But Fall has come and it is time to wear warmer clothes. I was happy to have my feece with me. CD
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