The Guidebook

To visit the LiquidLore Guidebook, click right here. It's the starting point for all kinds of whitewater beta and the main reason this site exists - be sure to check it out.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunny California

If anything, the weather in California in the summer is great. It just so happens that there's a lot of excellent whitewater there too. During a six week trip, it might have spat rain for one hour, one afternoon while we were on the water anyways. It's nice.

Weather aside (or maybe partially because of the weather), California is one of the premier whitewater tourist destinations in North America. Every spring, people come from afar to sample the smooth granite, the wide selection rivers and of course the famous class V multi-day kayaking trips. Really, it's a bit of a circus as the kayaking crowd migrates from river to river when the flows get just right.

Despite the emphasis on the harder whitewater down there, California, like anywhere else, also has it's fair share of quality moderate to easy whitewater so it would be a great destination for anyone, with proper selection of river section of course. The Sierra Nevada mountains provide a dramatic backdrop to the rivers, in addition to providing a fantastic reservoir of water in all the snow that gets depositied on the lofty peaks during the winter.

My first trip to California in 2008 came together a little last minute but ended up being an excellent experience, including lots of driving, meeting many great people, and of course some amazing boating. While we really only scratched the surface of all the whitewater there, I though it would be nice to share the beta on the runs we managed to get on. Fast-forwarding to the middle of our journey, read about the Hospital Rock section of the Middle Fork of the Kaweah, a nice river inside Sequoia National Park. We spent about a week in the area doing some different stuff, and I'd go back in a second.

Hospital Rock was the section we visited the most - it's quite fun, with a good mix of bedrock and boulder rapids. The poison oak on the banks leaves a lot to be desired though. We were initially taken a little by suprise on how challenging the river was from the start, but after a false start one day due to gear failure (the beginning of a long downward spiral that would ultimately result in kayak self-destruction) we managed to sort it out - the first two rapids are some of the more challenging on the run.

Here's a smattering of shots from the rest of our travels down there - there's a lot more to come later..

We drove towards this giant for a long time when we first got to California - Mt. Shasta.

Clear blue water floating into the heart of Bald Rock Canyon.

Classic South Silver - even though low, it was still steep!

Uhh, that looks very scary - a typical scene on the Mokelumne.

Look at all the nice California granite.

El Cap and the Yosemite valley.

A giant portage - at least the rock is like a sidewalk.

Guess what river this is.

Our trusty 1987 GMC Safari.

Hiking with a kayak is a lot of work, but well worth it.

Reaping the rewards of a long hike in.

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