Saturday, April 28, 2007

 

Shirttail Run, NF American River, kayaking class II+

BruceH, CarolynD, SurferDude & I got an early start to kayak the Shirttail Run on NF American River (Placer County, California, United States) at 1200cfs. The dirt road to takeout has a few steep, bumpy spots, but 2WD vehicles are still OK. My boat tried to launch itself when we were rearranging things at take-out, but fortunately it stopped before it reached the water.

We scouted Carolyn's nemesis, Rapid 3 1/2, from high up on the shuttle road. This biggest rapid on the run is right where Ravine Canyon joins the NF American River. The limited parking at put-in was already filling up when we got there, so it was good to be there early. Unfortunately SurferDude (sans helmet) realized he couldn't boat today so he drove our put-in vehicle back home.

I boated my speedy Frankenstein kayak, BruceH boated his Dagger Crossfire and Carolyn had her trusty Dagger RPM. "Old-school" kayakers in our old-school kayaks.

With the whitewater flowing at 1200 cfs and with SurferDude out of the picture it was an especially great day for the rest of us to get in some surfing. So Carolyn went wild, surfing on every little surf wave she could find. What a wave hog she is becoming!!





It never ceases to amaze me (and I hope it never does!!) how a tiny little wave in the river can grab your boat, hold it pointing upstream against the current, and provide such joy and amazement. The feel of the river rushing by, maneuvering your kayak in tune with the forces of the river, focusing your attention, living in the moment!!

We passed a number of people boating inflatable kayaks without helmets. That is not very smart.

After a leisurely scout we ran Rapid 3 1/2 on the right, then moved left to miss the boat-eating hole. At 1200 cfs there were nice wide runnable channels in all of the rapids, but water speed and wave action pushed the difficulty up into the class II+ range in many places.





Nobody flipped, nobody swam, hardly a moment out-of-control among us all day. Just an easy, fun day on the river on a glorious warm sunny spring day!!

Spring wildflowers were out in abundance, including mimulus, poppy, lupin and many others. We also saw lots of birds. Carolyn's parrot Mabel was her ususal feisty self as we loaded up in town. There were two rare "red-headed eagles" feeding on a deer carcass next to the road going to take-out. We saw a family of geese with three goslings, and there were a few ducks here and there throughout the day. In one rocky section of the canyon there was a flock of swallows zooming around. What were they doing out there? Don't they always nest under bridges? Linda spotted a kite (raptor) hovering around Carolyn's neighborhood as we unloaded the shuttle vehicles at the end of the day.





Additional pictures of this whitewater river trip.
Pictures were taken with an Olympus 720SW camera.

We met BobL and LindaE for dinner at Dos Coyotes in north Davis. Food was good, but the loud noise made it difficult to have a conversation. We will have to go somewhere else next time.

Flow Data - What It Is Flowing NOW As You Read This



More about: Kayaking Trip Reports.

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Comments:
With a cat setting on my wrists and drooling and shedding on my computer, I think back to a wonderful day on the river. I have never had a day not wonderful on the N. Fork. Few people and the ones there good friends, the scarry cold water of early spring gone, but a 1250 flow gave lots of bounces and action while covering the rocks. If I close my eyes I still feel the boat bouncing over waves hours later. It really does not get much better.
BruceH
 
With so few people on the river last Saturday, I have a feeling that the N. fork American must be a well kept secret. `:)
CD
 
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