Sunday, January 24, 2010


C to G Run, SF American River, California whitewater kayaking class II+, 23jan2010.

After all the rain of the previous week it seemed like a perfect day to kayak the Wilderness Run on Cache Creek and visit the bald eagles that overwinter there. As soon as the rain stopped the creek flows dropped rapidly because drought-depleted reservoirs upstream were not releasing much water. By the time we were driving to Cache Creek on Saturday morning the only part of the creek with boatable flows was the good old Rumsey Run, but we couldn't even paddle that because Hwy 16 was closed due to a mudslide. During rainy weather be sure to check road conditions before driving to put-in!!!

Fortunately BillJ, SueCJ, DonnaF, KateA, JimH & I had made an early start, so there was plenty of time to switch to the Coloma to Greenwood Run on SF American River (map & guide) (El Dorado County, California, USA) at a really nice flow of 1375 cfs. Kate rented a LiquidLogic Biscuit kayak at The River Store in Lotus, CA. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park was closed, so we parked our shuttle vehicle just north of the park at a wide spot along Hwy 49 and put-in at the normal spot. Muscles that I hadn't used for months were barking at me at the start of the run, but they eventually calmed down and I had a pretty good day of kayaking. We did some kayak surfing at Gremlin wave-hole, ran Old Scarey Rapid and played our way down to Henningson Park. Two cold kayakers took out at Henningson Park and the rest of us went on down the river.

BillJ kayaking Old Scarey Rapid.

Kate kayaking downstream from Henningson Park.

Kayak Playboating at Barking Dog Wave-Hole.

We found no crowds of kayakers at Barking Dog Rapid, so it was a treat to do some surfing there with little or no waiting lines. We met Sage Donnelly and were impressed with her surfing skills.

JimH kayak playboating at Barking Dog wave-hole.

CtoG American River SF kayaking photo gallery.

Just below Barking Dog the eddy sharks gobbled up an unwary kayaker. A valiant series of roll attempts on a knarly eddy line were all unsuccessful, so we got some practice salvaging the wreckage. The rest of the run was pretty mellow, with some eddying and some surfing along the way. There was a giant log blocking the right channel at the top of Highway Rapid. Boaters don't normally go that way so it is not much of a hazard in its present position.

My Hydration Fruit-Ade home made sports drink flavor of the day in the recipe was V8 Splash Berry Blend, one of my favorites. I did remember to drink occasionally while kayaking. I didn't finish drinking the first quart until just before take-out, so for me it was another day of kayaking in a state of dehydration. I drank another quart of Hydration Fruit-Ade at takeout, but I've got to train myself to drink more before and during the kayaking trip!!

Parking was really difficult at Greenwood Creek River Access, but with ALL parking spaces available the shuttle drivers eventually made their decisions & picked out the spaces that they liked the best. At the end of the day the place was filled up (not!) with bums and smelly kayakers. Oops, that was us! Having great kayaking friends is important, and even better when we bring great take-out munchies.

On the way home we stopped for dinner and Kate's birthday party at Chantara Thai Cuisine, El Dorado Hills, CA (see photos). The food, the atmosphere and the service were all quite excellent. I'm sure we'll be returning there often!!

More about:
Trip Reports - Kayaking on California's Whitewater Rivers.
Whitewater River Guides for kayaking, rafting & paddle boating in California.
• photos from Stylus 720sw waterproof camera edited with IrfanView software.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Lynch Canyon hiking trip report - Solano County, California, USA.

Pretty nice hiking - pretty close to home.

With a rainy afternoon in the forecast JimH & I did a quick morning hike at Lynch Canyon (pdf brochure & map) on 17jan2010.

Map of Lynch Canyon.

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

      N 38.18531 W 122.18204 - Lynch Canyon entrance (A)
      N 38.19475 W 122.19234 - Lynch Reservoir (B)

We hiked out on Lynch Road, Middle Valley Trail along the SF Lynch Creek & continued on Saddle Trail. The trails go through lands that are used for cattle grazing and there are some high tension electrical lines, so its definitely not wilderness. Cattle were fenced out from the creek to preserve the habitat. We saw some habitat restoration planting areas. On the wet day when we were there a few low spots in the trail were ankle-deep in soft mud, but most of the trail was quite good. The trails wind around in hilly country through some areas that are quite pretty. The mist turned to rain as we were getting to the Saddle Trail. Fortunately we continued on to make a loop rather than just turn around and go back the way we came.

Lynch Canyon hiking photo gallery.

Hiking on the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

Then we hiked back past Lynch Reservoir on the North Ridge Trail (which is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail). This North Ridge Trail was quite excellent!! In the wind and the rain it was moderately difficult hiking up to the top of the ridge. The visibility ranged from poor to very poor, but we saw enough to know that on a clear day the views from the ridgetop would be awesome. Eventually the rain stopped and the visibility improved. We met some experienced birdwatchers on the trail and they pointed out the golden eagles soaring off in the distance. The cows & the bulls were doing what they do in the springtime & they seemed not to mind having hikers inside the fence with them. The last part of the trail ran along the NF Lynch Creek. Partial breakup of the cloud cover made some dramatic skies as we hiked out.

More about:
• Map to the Trailheads - Solano County hiking and biking.
California Maps - Atlas & Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.
Lynch Canyon - Solano Land Trust.
Lynch Canyon - Solano County government.
Lynch Canyon - Bay Area Barn and Trails.
Hiking Lynch Canyon - SF Examiner 05jan2010.
Wildflower trails of San Francisco Bay Area - Lynch Canyon & other hiking places.
Hiking Trails in Solano County - Vacaville wiki.
California Hiking Trails Directory.
Hiking & Camping Trip Reports - BRT Insights.
Olympus Stylus 720SW waterproof camera. Photos edited with IrfanView & PanoStitcher.

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Monday, January 04, 2010


Hiking at Samuel P. Taylor State Park (Marin County, California, USA)

Getting the New Year off to a good start!!

JimH & I went hiking at Samuel P. Taylor State Park. After driving past this place many times in the past on the way to Pt. Reyes National Monument it was a real treat to stop and check it out. We hiked the North Creek Trail, Devil's Gulch Trail, Bill's Trail, Stairstep Falls Trail, & Barnabee Fire Road to loop back to the trailhead. North Creek Trail is wedged tightly between Lagunitas Creek and the lightly travelled Sir Francis Drake Blvd, so maybe South Creek Trail would have been a little nicer. Although it was coho salmon spawning season we didn't see any salmon in Lagunitas Creek. We need some rain to provide the creek flows needed to enable the salmon to swim up the creek from the ocean.

Map of Samuel P. Taylor State Park.

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

      N 38.01955 W 122.72954 - Samuel P Taylor State Park (A)
      N 38.01882 W 122.73319 - Lagunitas Creek (B)
      N 38.02932 W 122.73683 - Devil's Gulch (C)
      N 38.02697 W 122.71626 - Fire Lookout (D)

Hiking Devil's Gulch Trail, Stairstep Falls and Bill's Trail

Hiking up Devil's Gulch Trail & Bill's Trail got us away from the road and out into some pretty country. The thick Douglas Fir forest provided very shady hiking with ferns everywhere on the forest floor. The trail began with good views of Devil's Gulch Creek, then slowly climbed up the canyon wall. We made the short side hike to Stairstep Falls, but this only had a trickle of flow due to the lack of recent rains. Bill's Trail continued climbing up gradually through thick forest towards the Fire Lookout for a total elevation gain of 1350 feet. At the Fire Lookout the trail breaks out of the forest onto grassy hillsides. This provided great views of Bolinas Ridge to the south and Black Mountain & Tomales Bay to the north-west. We didn't go all the way to the Fire Lookout to see the views it provides to the north & east. Turkey vultures were soaring overhead as we hiked Barnabee Fire Road, which provided a steep, direct path back down to the trailhead.

Lagunitas Creek, Samuel P. Taylor State Park
007 Lagunitas Creek, Samuel P. Taylor State Park.

Black Mountain view from Samuel P. Taylor State Park
064 Turkey vulture, Black Mountain, view from Barnabee Fire Road, Samuel P. Taylor State Park.

• Photo gallery - Hiking at Samuel P. Taylor State Park.

More about:
Hiking trails in Marin County - Marin Wiki.
California Maps - Atlas & Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.
Samuel P. Taylor State Park
Samuel P. Taylor State Park Parks - Yahoo! Travel
Samuel P. Taylor State Park - KQED QUEST Exploration Defective website must be viewed using Internet Explorer.
Viewing Coho Salmon at Samuel P. Taylor State Park -
Redwood Forest Ecosystem at Samuel P. Taylor State Park -
California Hiking Trails Directory.
Hiking & Camping Trip Reports - BRT Insights.
Olympus Stylus 720SW waterproof camera. Photos edited with IrfanView & PanoStitcher.

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