Monday, February 06, 2006


California Whitewater - A Guide to the Rivers, Third Edition. (book review)

by Jim Cassady and Fryar Calhoun. ISBN 0-961-3650-2-1

Cassady & Calhoun describe most of the main whitewater runs on rivers and large creeks throughout California. River maps and mile-by-mile guides are extremely helpful to know in advance the main features on each section of river, especially the first time you boat on a run. Careful readers will find hints about many additional sections of river, alternate put-ins, take-outs, etc. that are outside the featured runs but are worth exploring.

All of the runs described are rivers or major creeks, most of which are suitable for all types of whitewater boats (rafts, canoes, kayaks) when the flows are right. The recommended flows are rather narrow ranges. Kayakers can enjoy paddling many of these runs at much lower flows. Big water boaters can enjoy these runs at much higher flows, with appropriate adjustments in the anticipated difficulty of the runs. I have kayaked 30 of the 62 river runs described in the book, so there are lots more left for me to explore.

The book describes the old system of getting flow information via recorded phone messages. This edition was published just before our current system of getting river flow information from Internet sites was developed.

The pictures in the book are from back in the "Stone Age" when river kayaks were almost as long as sea kayaks. Oh well, go take your own pictures!!

As the only whitewater guidebook for California currently in print, this book remains a very valuable resource. Some parts of the book are seriously out-of-date, but when you get right down to it the rivers haven't changed very much. (*** - my rating 3 stars out of 5)


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