Saturday, June 28, 2008


Gorge Run, American River SF, kayaking class III, 28june2008.

California whitewater river kayaking on a hazy, smoky summer day.

KimF, RaoulA, EricaM, GabrielleMM and I drove up to SF American River and put-in at Greenwood River Access. The SF American River Gorge Run (guide & map) was flowing at 1600 cfs (El Dorado County, California, USA). The air throughout the state has been hazy in recent days from hundreds of wildfires. Fortunately the air at the SF American River was not very bad today so we were able to have a fun day on the river.

RaoulA & GabriellaM running Son of Satan's Rapid.
Additional photos from the Gorge Run, American River SF - California whitewater river kayaking trip.

Experts' day on the whitewater with a surprise or two.

We did a lot of playboating in the first part of the run. Kim demonstrated mastery of the stern squirt! I do enjoy my training trips with beginners, but today it was really special to kayak with experienced boaters who can calmly, easily have 4 kayaks in a 2 boat eddy without any stress or clanging & banging. We had a quick lunch just upstream from Fowler's Rock Rapid, reapplied sunscreen and then got back to the action.

Today was my day to get a lesson. In Upper Haystack Canyon I got pushed onto a submerged rock. My kayak stuck there & I was much too casual about dealing with it. Next thing I knew I was flipping upstream, then upside down and unable to roll up while still stuck on that rock. So I bailed and had a quick swim into the eddy. Gabrielle & Erica pushed my kayak into the eddy where I drained the boat and got going again. Wow, I'm lucky the current wasn't strong enough to wrap me on that rock! Maybe the offside roll that I haven't practiced in many years would have saved me, but who knows?

I ran good lines through the whitewater rapids for the rest of the day. I ran right down the top of the curling wave at Satan's Cesspool Rapid, but it took a big, strong brace to keep me upright on the eddy line immediately below the rapid. No matter how hard I try I never miss the hole at Bouncing Rock Rapid by very much, but barely slipping by the left edge of the hole is just fine. I had a great view of a kayak doing some really wild gymnastics while punching (getting punched?) right down the middle at Hospital Bar Rapid. I was happy to stick to my plan to enter left and diagonal right through Hospital Bar. There were no surprises for us today at Surprise Rapid. I've always enjoyed the last mini-gorge section of II++ (III- ?) rapids at the end of the run. Lake Folsom was at a level of 415 feet, so we had current all the way to take-out at Salmon Falls.

Sitting in the shade at take-out, munching the munchies and chatting about the day the temperature was so nice it didn't matter how long it took the shuttle vehicle to return. On the way home we stopped at the Steve's Pizza in El Dorado Hills (El Dorado County, California USA).

More about:
California Whitewater River Guides for Kayaking, Rafting & Canoeing.
Whitewater River Trips - Reports on Kayaking in California.

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Our run on the Gorge, SF Am, 6/28/08, was really fun and Bruce took a lot of great pictures to prove it. Let's do it again sometime.
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