Monday, July 03, 2006


Shirttail Run, NF American River, kayaking class II, July 3, 2006.

BruceH, CarolynD, EllieH, BruceG, KiyoO, MakiO, HiromasaT, KendallG, and I kayaked the Shirttail Run on NF American River (Placer County, California, United States). We put in at Yankee Jim's Road. Poison oak is common all along this run, so be sure you know how to recognize it.

After some carnage on the first rapid we had one wounded boater and two helpers hiking out to get medical attention. The first aid kit that I normally carry was not there when we needed it because it didn't fit into the playboat I was paddling. In a group like this somebody should have been designated to carry a first aid kit. And I'm long overdue for a refresher course on how to give first aid.

The rest of the day was really great. The flow of ~290 cfs (NFD flow information) was very low, but with a little scouting we found boatable channels that didn't require too much rock bumping. We found a few tiny playspots, but mostly it was a scenic river tour at this flow. We saw some geese, and also a merganzer duck with two cute little ducklings already decked out with the "punk style" feather tufts on their heads. We saw the merganzers run a rapid that we were scouting, but we didn't like their line, so we picked another route.

The Dagger SuperEgo "tugboat" that I was paddling performed a little better on this trip, so although it is a slow hull its also clear that I seriously need to get my paddling motor tuned up. There were enough waves and currents to provide some whitewater challenges and we got lots of practice rescuing swimmers. One more moment of concern was a boater who got snagged in a little rock strainer, but fortunately the swimmer flushed out immediately after bailing out of the boat. The bow of the SuperEgo kayak worked OK for pushing boats to shore. Swimmers were unable to keep a grip on the short, tight grab loop on this boat, so I'll need to add a length of webbing to give swimmers something that they can hang onto.

Originally we had planned to boat all the way down to the takeout at the top of Lake Clementine, but that was much too far to go on a day with low flow and high carnage. Fortunately we got one of our helpers who hiked out at putin to meet us at the Ponderosa Way takeout. There was daylight remaining, but many of us were quite happy to take out at that point. It made for some epic shuttle driving at the end of the day to collect all of our vehicles. We had seen only one other boater and a few gold miners as we came down the river. After all that solitude it was quite a culture shock to wait for our shuttle driver while surrounded by the big holiday weekend crowd of people who were spending their day hanging out at the beach by the river.

We got to Ikeda's in Auburn just before closing time (9 PM) and those burgers and fries really hit the spot! I got home before 11PM - not too bad considering the various misadventures of the day!

This beautiful canyon and great whitewater would be drowned under a reservoir if Auburn Dam was ever built. See Auburn Dam Directory - more reasons to oppose it.

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

More about: Kayaking Trip Reports.

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