Sunday, July 27, 2008


C to G Run, SF American River, whitewater kayaking California class II+, 26july2008.

Kayaks, whitewater, sunshine - stir it up and let the fun begin!!!

Today I had the great fortune to go kayaking again with Hubert ... and BruceH came along to drive and to kayak. The air was pretty smoky from faraway forest fires as we drove up there in the morning, but fortunately it cleared up a lot before the day was over. We dropped the shuttle bicycle at Greenwood River Access and launched our kayaks at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Our leisurely late departure got us to the C to G Run on SF American River (map & guide) after the glut of early boaters, but still on the 1600 cfs peak flow for the day (El Dorado County, California, USA).

BruceH running Swimmer's Rapid.

Kayaking whitewater on SF American River, C to G Run, more photos.

Does anybody know a name for the class II whitewater rapid just downstream from Coloma Lake ??

We did a little playboating on the first wave-hole at the entry to the rapid, then eddy-hopped down to Gremlin wave-hole. Gremlin took a bite out of me today!! After a long, exhilarating, but exhausting surf I got tossed off and was too tired to brace & balance to stay upright. So I got a quick refreshing dunk and a little roll practice. We ran into SueS - long time no see!! Then we eddy-hopped Old Scary Rapid, and a few class IIs down to lunch just below Henningson County Park. Almond M&Ms survived just fine in my lunchbag, so now chocolate lunches can be a year-round treat while kayaking!! We also picked some blackberries, reapplied sunscreen and then headed downstream. Looks like the island just downstream from Henningson will be a good lunch spot for the future.

Playboating on the little glassy wave upstream from Camp Lotus was great as always. When you get past fighting to stay on the wave its incredibly hypnotic to set up the rhythm, relax and just surf there with the greatest of ease. We should call it Edge Control Wave because it gives good rides only to kayakers who steer their kayaks using edge control via knee and hip action. The ability to keep your midsection flexible while independently engaging muscles in your upper and lower body is a critical skill for kayakers.

A mellow afternoon on the SF American ~wilderness run.

We decided to keep it a mellow day by blasting through Barking Dog Rapid and heading right downstream. There were few, if any, other boaters on this section of river in the late afternoon. OK, not a real wilderness run, but with just a little imagination you could enjoy how it was like a wilderness run in some ways. In between the rapids the river was calm, quiet and really beautiful with clearer air than we had in the morning.

And it was a lucky day too!! Fortunately the IK boating couple that we met last weekend was at the Greenwood Creek take-out tossing tennis balls into the river for their great Labrador water dogs to fetch. And they were heading back to Coloma, so I was saved from riding a bicycle shuttle.

On the way home we stopped at our favorite dinner spot Thai Style Dining in Cameron Park, CA. We got a stir-fry, a noodle dish and their great brown rice. Both dishes were unique and very tasty!! And we toasted a most excellent day of kayaking with a Thai iced tea. Driving home we caught the worst sun-in-your-eyes time of the evening, so we should have stayed a little longer and had one of their excellent desserts.

More about:
Trip Reports - Kayaking Whitewater Rivers in California.
Whitewater River Guides for California - trip planning info for kayakers and other paddle-boaters.

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It was a great week for kayaking. I taught an eskimo rolling class on Tuesday, lifeguarded a beginner class on Thursday and had a lovely mellow day Saturday kayaking on SF American River. BruceT in honor of Keeley was trying out some new handless kayaking signals. For example, when you see both cheeks of the bottom of the BruceT kayak it means, "Suprise Rock Down Stream from Play Hole." Nice down stream brace Bruce!

Most of the other boaters were already downstream when we launched on SF American River on Saturday making it as close to a wilderness run as you can get when it is not snowing. The water was warmish, the flow fun and mellow, the waves nice and the company great. Ending the day with a few experimental dishes at the Thai restaurant in Cameron Park made the day perfect.

Well, um, yes, I, ah ... noticed a good-looking wave out of the corner of my eye. Can't remember ever surfing that one before, so ... well ... I jumped on it and got a pretty good ride. And then ... well, ah ... who ever heard of a rock right after a surf wave? And who's idea was it to put a rock there anyway?

After washing onto the upstream side of a rock, then we're supposed to hug the rock and wiggle off of it ASAP. I did that part really well!! Emergency bracing is not something that I learned from my hero William Nealy.

So, I ... ah, well, um ... I'll take a little credit for doing what I had to do to stay upright in that situation. And then there is my wakeup call to myself - Hey goofus, watch where you are going !!
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