Sunday, February 26, 2006


Chili Bar Run, SF American River, kayaking Feb 25, 2006

JimH, BobL and I drove up to Coloma, set shuttle at the Hwy 49 bridge and drove up to Placerville for put-in on the Chili Bar Run. There were a few rafters and a couple of other kayakers getting ready, but once we got on the river we had the place almost entirely to ourselves on an unusually warm, sunny winter day with great flows. (El Dorado County, California, United States)

I found myself boating with The Wave Sport team including JimH (EasyG 60 kayak), BobL (Z kayak) and me (Frankenstein kayak). The river flow was 2000 cfs when we put on, but was rising all day, so we got up to probably 2500 cfs before we were done. I caught more eddies in Meatgrinder Rapid than I did on my last trip up there earlier this month. Maybe I'm getting some of my timing back, but my boating stamina is still much less than it used to be.

BobL at the spin wave above Maya Rapid MikeF surfing at First Threat Rapid
Photos by JimH - mouse over for captions.

Surfing at Maya Rapid was great. The wave was long enough for long boats to play without burying their bows. The back side of the wave was high enough for short boats to stay on the wave easily. Jim really got a lot of good rides there. The wave below Maya Rapid was also great - Bob & I got a lot of good rides on that one.

We ran into MikeF and Hilde just below Maya Rapid. They did some surfing while we had lunch at First Threat Rapid. At this flow First Threat was a longer, deeper and wider version of the wave at Maya Rapid. Mike was especially impressive with his front surf and spin moves. Then MikeF and Hilde blasted off downstream. Jim did some surfing at First Threat after lunch.

We all portaged Troublemaker Rapid on the left. The rocks sticking out from river-left are breaking down and becomming more of a sieve hazard than they were in the past. There are some boatable lines through this rapid, but if you miss your line you may not like where you end up. Looking back upstream I noticed that the channel straight down on river-right was wider than it was last time when I saw it at a lower flow. Next time I'm going to check out the right side up close and maybe run it over there.

On the way home we stopped in Rancho Cordova for dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory and some shopping at California Canoe & Kayak.

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