Thursday, April 29, 2004

Little White Salmon, WA - USA

If you ever are in the Portland Oregon area and the creek boat is on your roof, you mustn't pass a chance on the Little White Salmon River. Most certainly, the Little White ranks up there with the best creeks in overall class V creek quality, and season length. It along with the main White Salmon river, are located within an easy 25 min. drive across the Columbia River from Hood River Oregon, which is about an hour east of Portland.

Spirit Falls awaits kayakers who want to huck near the end of the run. Posted by Hello

After pushing Mariann and Morten's out-of-gas van over the last remaining summit entering Oregon State from California, we cruised down into the night and arrived in Hood River the next morning. After some coffee, we took the toll bridge across the Columbia River and headed west down to the fish hatchery on Northwestern Lake which is the takeout. For the ultimate description of the Little White Salmon River, you can read in detail about this river and over 100 more located in the Pacific Northwest. Check out: Oregon Kayaking

Girls playing with beers and laptops at the takeout after an epic on the Little White Salmon Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 15, 2004

South Fork Merced, CA - USA

Jayson, Scott and Mark at the takeout. Posted by Hello

The South Fork of the Merced is a tributary of the famous Merced River which steeply drains out of the heart of Yosemite National Park and rages along the main road. In April, the early California snowmelt makes the South Fork Merced come alive with the level around an ideal 1500cfs. What to expect if you are game for this intense overnighter is some very continuous pool drop class V, along with a couple of big California slides in the middle. Even after 2 weeks of ninja training on the Green River, I decided to portage more than once. Jayson and Scott on the other hand decided to fire it off.

A fluffy slide on the S. Fk. Merced...with a paddler at bottom! Posted by Hello

I joined up with Scott Feindel and Jayson Bowerman on the Kaweah River the previous day, and that evening we headed north from Fresno and entered the South Yosemite Park entrance late in the night. The South Merced put-in is in the national park village of Wawona, but within 20 minutes of class III paddling you exit the park boundaries and enter a magnificent wilderness canyon with all the class V whitewater goodies California typically has to offer.

If you knew this run well, you could probably push through the South Merced in one long day. However, you may end up paddling around 7 hours of continuous demanding whitewater. We followed the recommended option of camping overnight about 2/3rds into it. The camp comes after a hard section that ends with large distinct boulder that is in the middle of the rapid.....once in the calm water look for a level area on the left bank and watch out for the Poison Oak. The best part of breaking up this run into 2 days is that it enables you to get through most of the hard stuff on the first day and camp at an early time. Next day if you take-out early you can go hit the main Merced River playhole to cool off......yeah that's Cali....

Camp spot. Posted by Hello

Merced hole. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Kaweah River, CA - USA

Scott Feindel back in Cali for 2004 - Kaweah River, CA. Posted by Hello

The Hospital Rock Section of the Kaweah River would serve as my introduction to creeking in California. Little did I know while winding up the steep road in Andrew Bell's old VW beetle that within the hour I would have already ran a 30 foot slide and then have my ass handed to me on a waterfall downstream.

The Kaweah River flows down from an area in the Southern Sierras which is represented as Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Head East from the city of Visalia on route 198 and you will soon pass Lake Kaweah and enter Sequoia Nat'l Park. The takeout (which also includes "Brownstar Canyon" is only a mile up from the Park entrance and you can put in at Potwisha Campground. I met up with Scott, Jayson and Andrew B. in the town of Three Rivers just before the Park entrance.

Andrew Bell close to home - C1 on the Kaweah. Posted by Hello

There are numerous class V slides and drops on this section including the opening Hostpital Rock Slide and the rapid just below that constricts tighly as it drops into a boiling pool. As I came over the drop, I misjudged the line as my attention turned to Andrew who was still near the landing zone and immediatley after, "Welcome to California" would become my new name for that rapid. After this the river opens up and provides easy scouting so long as you watch out for the Poison Oak bushes and an exciting entry slide that ends with a fall facing towards the right wall. There is a higher takeout that we did not take which avoids the last canyon supposedly named "Brownstar Canyon" by one of Jayson's friends. What it really is are some more beauty drops before you reach a mini box canyon with some intimidating horizon lines. However a high climb up the right wall will put you on a ledge which reveals the goods. The Kaweah is a classic creek in California with dependble access and flows in the Spring. For flow information for the Kaweah and other Cali rivers check out: Dreamflows