Sunday, December 27, 2009


Hiking, Biking & Camping Trip Reports (subtopic).

Sometimes we are hiking to scout a river for future kayaking, sometimes not !!

Jump to: North Coast, Klamath Basin, Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, Great Basin, San Francisco Bay Area & South Coast, Southern CA Desert.

Use Google Street View to help plan your road trips and outdoor activities.

North Coast California.

Cataract Falls hiking trail on Mount Tamalpais, Marin County, California 21march2012.
Muir Woods National Monument - Walk in the Redwood Forest Cathedral 29may2011.
Coho Salmon Winter Spawning Run in Lagunitas Creek at Samuel P. Taylor State Park - Marin County.
Trailheads and map for Muir Woods National Monument - Marin County.
Muir Woods National Monument hiking 23dec2010 - Marin County.
Samuel P. Taylor State Park hiking 02jan2010 - Marin County.
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Klamath Basin.

• ...
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Sacramento Valley.

Pierce Canyon Falls Trail 01april2013.Lake Solano County Park hiking trails 04march2013.
Fremont Weir Wildlife Area - mountain biking 15feb2013.
Cache Creek Nature Preserve hiking trail, Yolo County 21jan2013.
Deer Creek Hills hiking trail, Sacramento County 25feb2012.
Open Space hiking, Solano County 05feb2012.
Cache Creek Natural Area, Frogpond Trail hiking 30jan2012.
Lagoon Valley Park hiking trail 29dec2011.
Fall Flowers in the UCD Arboretum 30oct2011.
Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve hiking 25sept2011.
Late Summer Flowers in the UCD Arboretum - Davis, CA 17sept2011.
Cactus in bloom at Cactus Corner, Davis CA 03july2011.
Hidden Falls Regional Park hiking trails, Placer County, CA 31march2011.
Return to North Table Mountain to see Coal Canyon Falls 27feb2011.
Waterfalls of North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve 26feb2011.
North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve hiking to see waterfalls and wildflowers 20feb2011.
Fairy Falls, Spenceville Wildlife Area 29dec2010.
Fall Leaf Colors Brighten Up the Landscape in Davis, California USA 27nov2010.
Checking out Sacramento Bypass Wildlife Area & Sacramento Weir 10oct2010.
Yolo County Mountain Peaks & Hilltops.
Biking to Grasslands Regional Park, Yolo County, California, USA 29aug2010.
Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve hiking & wildflowers 10april2010.
Bear Valley & Capay Valley wildflowers 03april2010.
South Fork Putah Creek Preserve - Yolo County 27march2010.
Capay Valley & Bear Valley wildflowers 20mar2010.
Judge Davis Trail- Lake County 20feb2010.
Cache Creek Ridge Trail - Lake County & Colusa County 13feb2010.
Zim Zim Falls Trail - Napa County 03feb2010.
Cache Creek Redbud Trail & The Jams Waterfall 20dec2009.
McCloud River hiking for a view of the whitewater 27july2007.
Cache Creek hiking with GPS 03jan2007.
Lassen Volcanic National Park hiking & camping 03sept2004.
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San Joaquin Valley.

Waterfall videos from MF Kings River in Kings Canyon National Park 30june2009.
Up to TOP.

Great Basin California & Nevada.

Death Valley National Park - maps, hiking, photos, virtual tours.
Up to TOP.

San Francisco Bay Area & South Coast California.

• Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Sonoma Creek Falls, Sonoma County, California 05dec2012.
• Mount Diablo State Park, Donner Canyon Waterfalls 01april2012.
Tolay Creek Tubbs Island Trail Hiking at San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge 25nov2011.
Sunol Regional Wilderness hiking 13feb2011.
Lynch Canyon hiking - Solano County, California, USA 17jan2010.
Skyline Wilderness Park hiking 26dec2009.
Jepson Prairie Preserve wildflowers march2006.
Up to TOP.

Southern California Desert.

Death Valley National Park hiking & camping March 2005.
Up to TOP.

More about: • Directory of Hiking Trails in California. CA statewide hiking information.
Back to: BRT Kayaking & Hiking Homepage. | Sitemap.

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Hiking at Skyline Wilderness Park (Napa County, California, USA).

Something else to do in the Napa Valley!!

JimH and I got an early start driving to Skyline Wilderness Park. The day was cloudy with a chance of rain towards the end of the day. We hiked out on the west side of the park on the Skyline and Buckeye Trails (See Skyline Park trail map.) which provided views down to the city of Napa and to the Coast Range off in the distance to the west. Being one of the first groups on the trail may have helped us to see the flock of 17 wild turkeys and a small herd of 5 deer.

Map of Skyline Wilderness Park.

Instructions for online interactive topographic river maps and road maps.
• Click on Map button for road map, Topo button for topographic map.
Full-Screen Map - landmarks in Skyline Wilderness Park.
• Names of landmarks (A, B, etc.) - DoubleClick or point on the red markers.

      N 38.27949 W 122.24839, Skyline Wilderness Park (A)
      N 38.25860 W 122.23002, Lake Marie (B)

We had lunch at Lake Marie, then crossed the dam and returned via Lower Marie Creek Trail and Lake Marie Road. Hiking down by the trickling creek was quite a contrast from the morning when we were hiking higher up on the hillsides. In the afternoon we saw more hikers and some mountain bikers heading in as we were heading out, but the place never seemed crowded. Overall, it was really good hiking and there are more trails to explore some day when I go back there.

• Photo gallery - Hiking at Skyline Wilderness Park.

More about:
• Trailhead Maps for Napa County, CA.
California Maps - Atlas and Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.
California Hiking Trails Directory.
Hiking & Camping Trip Reports - BRT Insights.
Olympus Stylus 720SW waterproof camera. Photos edited with IrfanView and PanoStitcher.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Pixtra PanoStitcher software for panoramic photography of river canyon landscapes.

Panoramic photography provides the wide view needed to capture the full beauty of river valley landscapes.

The compact digital cameras that many kayakers, rafters & canoeists carry on whitewater river paddleboating trips have limited zoom capabilities and no replacement lens options, so the full width of a beautiful river valley landscape often cannot be captured in a single photo.

Panoramic photography is done by taking a series of overlapping photos which can later be assembled into a single seamless photo. I use this technique frequently whenever a single photo cannot capture the wide landscape scene that I want to photograph. Panoramic photography can be done with any camera. No tripod or special equipment is required. I just try to have 1/3 of each picture overlaping with the next one and try to keep the camera level as I move from one photo to the next.

Pixtra PanoStitcher software allows these series of overlapping photos to be assembled into beautiful seamless panoramic photos. After loading two or more photos into the PhotoBench most panoramas are quickly and easily created by the Stitch and Blend functions in PanoStitcher.

Pixtra PanoStitcher screenshot

Panoramic Photography Galleries.

Some of my recent panoramic photos made with PanoStitcher are online at Cache Creek Wildlife Area hiking trip. Older panoramic photos that I assembled with PhotoShop Elements software are online at Death Valley panoramas.

PanoStitcher is a great software! The free trial version is fully functional for stitching two photos together. The full software costs only $30 to assemble larger panoramas from multiple photos. (**** - my rating 4 stars out of 5 - recommended!)

More about:
Panoramic Photography at Death Valley National Park, March 2005.
BRthomas6 hiking & camping photo gallery.
Brthomas6 whitewater river kayaking photo gallery.
Taking photos while kayaking whitewater rivers is really challenging - BRT Insights.
Reviews - Books, Videos, Websites & Software for White Water River Kayaking.

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Monday, December 21, 2009


Redbud Trail hiking to the Jams Waterfall - Portage for paddleboaters on Cache Creek, Clear Lake to Hwy 16 Run - trip report.

Scouting a difficult portage on this scenic, overnight, wilderness run (Lake County, California, USA).

Hiking the Redbud Trail at Cache Creek Natural Area & California State Wildlife Area.

JimH, OliverH, Royce & I drove up Hwy 16 on a cold, dark, foggy morning. As we passed through the Capay Valley the fog lifted and suddenly we were in the sunshine! By the time we reached the Redbud Trailhead at Hwy 20 and NF Cache Creek it looked like a really great day for hiking. (Redbud Trail map pdf download.) There were some great views of the landscape as we hiked up the trail. When we reached the Cache Creek overlook high up on the valley we first hiked down the spine of a ridge just upstream from The Jams. Then we continued a bit farther down the trail and hiked down & up the spine of a longer, taller ridge that led to the pinnacle of rock that is on river-left towering directly over The Jams rapid. As we sat up on top of the spire and had lunch the clouds came in and the first few drops of rain started to fall.
JimH & OliverH on the Redbud Trail
• Photo gallery - hiking the Redbud Trail and scouting The Jams rapid.

Map of Redbud Trail at Cache Creek Natural Area & California State Wildlife Area.

Instructions for online interactive topographic river maps & road maps.
• Click on Map button for road map, Topo button for topographic map.
Full-Screen River Map - landmarks in the Cache Creek Wildlife Area.
• Names of landmarks displayed below (A, B, etc.) - DoubleClick or point on the red markers.

      N 38.98783 W 122.54047, Redbud Trailhead (A)
      N 38.97009 W 122.52434, The Jams Rapid (B)
      N 38.97726 W 122.51923, Baton Flat (C)

Scouting The Jams waterfall - a mandatory portage without a doubt!!

A main objective for our hike was to scout The Jams, a portage on the Clear Lake to Hwy 16 Run on Cache Creek. Fortunately Oliver & Royce talked us into hiking all the way down to creek level to inspect the downstream side of The Jams waterfall. Wow!! Even with no water flowing in the creek it was easy to see that The Jams would be a deathtrap when the creek was flowing at runnable levels. Any paddleboater who foolishly blundered through the blind left turn to enter the waterfall would find water pouring over car-sized boulders from bank to bank. Steep shorelines provide nowhere for scouting or portaging at creek level. Paddleboaters wishing to run this section of river MUST eddy out above The Jams on river-left and make a very difficult portage over the ridge leading down to the spire overlooking The Jams. This portage will be long and hard, but kayakers should be able to portage here without any special equipment. Although a helicopter for portage would be optimal!!

(I'll add a picture later to show the portage route.)

Hiking & Returning Home.

Then we faced the big decision about whether to hike downstream at creek level or do the very long climb back up the canyon wall to the main trail. Fortunately we found a way downstream on river-left and this unofficial trail got easier and more distinct as we hiked towards Baton Flat. The rain also increased to a pretty steady drizzle. We continued on unofficial trails over The Peninsula and up the meadow back to the trailhead.

Then we had a great dinner at La Casa Betty in Vacaville. The special of the evening was an excellent homemade chili and cornbread. We watched some football on the big screen TV and then I left at closing time and headed home.

The day after I was totally sore from head-to-toe, but I didn't have any painful spots. So it really was a great hike, but I've got to get busy getting into better shape for more hiking & kayaking trips next year.

More about:
California Maps - Atlas & Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.
Redbud Trail - Wilson Valley to Cache Creek - Putah-Cache Bioregion Project
Cache Creek Wilderness Redbud Trail - Bureau of Land Management
Redbud Trail - Bald Eagle Viewing Opportunities - California Dept Fish & Game
Redbud Trail to Cache Creek - Yolohiker
Cache Creek Natural Area Redbud Trail - Bureau of Land Management
Cache Creek Redbud Trail backpack - songbyrd's Photos.
California Hiking Trails Directory.
Cache Creek Overview - California Whitewater River Paddleboating Guide.
California Whitewater River Guides for Paddleboating - BRT Insights.
Hiking & Camping Trip Reports - BRT Insights.
Olympus Stylus 720SW camera. Photos edited with IrfanView software. Panoramic photos assembled with PanoStitcher software.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Whitewater Rescue Manual - New Techniques for Canoeists, Kayakers and Rafters - 1995 book review.

River Safety & Rescue Methods for White Water Paddleboaters & Swiftwater Rescuers.

"In Whitewater Rescue Manual, two paddlers who have long been at the forefront of whitewater safety and rescue present a tightly focused look at the best, most current techniques for both self-rescue and rescue of others on the river. The authors provide well-reasoned guidance that will teach you when to stay with the boat and when not to; how to retrieve a lost boat; how to swim out of trouble and when not to swim; how to reach a victim by wading, swimming, or using ropes; how to coordinate a rescue effort; how to make sure that would-be rescuers don't become victims; how to properly perform first aid and safely evacuate injured paddlers; and much more. This well-illustrated guide is essential reading for canoeists, kayakers, and rafters of all levels--as well as river guide trainees, participants in river rescue courses, and whitewater instructors."
The book has chapters on: Keeping out of trouble, Equipment safety check, Swimming & wading, Throw ropes, Swimming & Line-based rescues, Recovering pinned boats, Retrieving runaway boats, In-boat entrapments, First aid, Evacuation, Advanced river rescue skills, Knots, Safety code of the AWA.

Whitewater Rescue Manual - Critical Analysis.

"Whitewater Rescue Manual" is an excellent resource on whitewater rescue for advanced paddleboaters. The book needs much more basic river safety information for beginning boaters. For example, there is little or no information about how to recognize safety hazards on the river. The basic river safety & river rescue information that is provided is scattered throughout the book mixed together with information for advanced boaters and swiftwater rescue professionals.

Overall, I rate "Whitewater Rescue Manual" as a good resource for whitewater river rafters, kayakers & canoeists (*** 3 stars out of 5).

More about:
Basic Paddling & River Safety Skills for Class II Whitewater Kayaking - BRT Insights.
White Water Rescue Skills & Paddleboating Techniques - BRT Insights.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009


Photos & videos on whitewater river paddleboating trips - are you serious about photography?

Photography captures the memories of our kayaking, canoeing, innertubing & rafting adventures.

Darin has produced a great set of advanced tutorials for photography on whitewater boating trips. (Where to start, What is the right exposure, Getting the right exposure, Motion blurred photographs, Focus, Basic Lighting, Composition, Equipment, Post-Processing.) Darin wrote for pro & semi-pro photographers "if you are serious about shooting whitewater, you’ll need an SLR because compact cameras have a few downfalls." Most of the tutorials are about the use of SLR cameras, but they also contain some fundamental photography information that will be useful to photographers who have compact cameras. And the sample kayaking photos are also pretty great.

Here is my basic tutorial for all of the other whitewater boating photographers who are SERIOUS about getting the best photos they can from their compact digital cameras. Taking great photos while kayaking whitewater rivers is vdifficult, but skill, practice and luck can enable all photographers to get some pretty great photos of the incredible action and awesome scenery from whitewater river kayaking & rafting trips. See my BRT whitewater photo gallery, BRT whitewater video gallery and Whitewater Photo Video Blog Directory.

More about:
Photography, Equipment & Supplies for Kayaking on Whitewater Rivers - BRT Kayaking.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009


San Joaquin River Parkway - California River Paddleboating Guide.

Kayaking, IKing, Canoeing, Rafting & River-tubing Guide - Madera & Fresno County, California, USA.

Jump down to: Flow | Difficulty | Map | Weather | Guidebooks | TripReports | Links.

River Flow Data.

This river run is fed by the water release from Friant Dam.

River Difficulty vs. Flow Rate.

• Class I, 200 to 1500 cfs, 40 miles.

San Joaquin River road map & topographic map for paddleboaters.

Instructions for online interactive topographic river maps & road maps.
• Click on Map button for road map, Topo button for topographic map.
Full-Screen River Map - landmarks in the San Joaquin River valley.
• Names of landmarks displayed below (A, B, etc.) - DoubleClick or point on the red markers.

San Joaquin River Kayaking, IKing, River-tubing & Canoeing put-in & take-out locations.

• San Joaquin River Parkway (class I, 40 Miles).
      N 36.98432 W 119.72720, Gaging Station (A).
      N 36.96814 W 119.73965, Lost Lake Rec Area (B).
      N 36.89610 W 119.78992, Washington Beach (C).
      N 36.85263 W 119.82994, Sycamore Island (D).
      N 36.84412 W 119.92738, Camp Pashayan (E).
      N 36.82299 W 120.05585, Hwy 145 Skaggs Bridge (F).
      N 36.79142 W 120.20605, Gravelly Ford (G).
      N 36.78224 W 120.31252, N San Mateo Rd (H).
      N 36.78815 W 120.37179, Mendota Pool (I).

Directions, Distance, Driving Time & Road Conditions.

Mapquest provides directions, distance & time from your house to the river.
    * From Davis, CA to Fresno, CA - driving time 3 hours 5 minutes, 187 miles.
• California Road Conditions (Delays or closures due to weather, construction, etc.)
    * California Travel Information -
    * Road Conditions - California Dept Transportation.

Local weather in Fresno, California.

San Joaquin River Parkway Maps & Guidebooks for Paddleboating.

Ann Dwyer's Easy Waters of California North, 2000. (pg. 258-259)
Map from San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust.
California River Maps - Atlas & Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.
• Online river guides: Paddle Boating on the San Joaquin River. Sort alphabetically, see boating guides & flows in Section 1.

San Joaquin River paddleboating trip reports NEEDED !!

Please send your trip reports from whitewater paddleboating trips on San Joaquin River Parkway. Stories, pictures & videos from boating trips will be linked here.
Impromptu Trip Down San Joaquin River photos - Fresno Kayak Club 16oct2010
Trip tests waters of revived San Joaquin - A River Reborn - 12nov2009.
San Joaquin River Parkway trip report -
Kayaking San Joaquin river trip report -
San Joaquin River Parkway - Google Images.
San Joaquin River Parkway - Google Videos.

Outdoor Activities & Environmental Protection in San Joaquin River Canyon.

San Joaquin River Watershed Directory - Conservation & Recreation. Websites for San Joaquin River valley. (Display options alphabetical 100. Section 1=kayaking, 2=rafting, 3=environment-conservation, 4=fishing, 5=hiking-camping, 6=local-websites)

More About California River Paddleboating:
How to use whitewater river paddleboating guides - BRT Kayaking.
California Whitewater River Guides for Kayaking, IKing, Innertubing, Canoeing & Rafting.
• Nearby streams: Merced River, San Joaquin River upstream, Kings River, San Joaquin River Valley Region.

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