Friday, June 24, 2005

Family and Kids on the American River

Here comes the weekend! Lots of families and kids coming this weekend on the South Fork American. Sun is shining and we can finally put away the wetsuits. Some of the kids will still be in them since their little bodies need that extra insulation. South Fork American has been running at 1,500 cfs up to 3,500 cfs. Great rapids and even better flows! Over on the Middle Fork American, flows have finally come down to safe levels and most of the rapids over there seem unchanged from last year. Justin, our headguide felt that Tunnel Chute seemed a bit easier... could be that he has seen and run that rapid so many times, that it may seem easy to him.

With families coming out in droves this year, we would like to remind parents to prepare their children for their outdoor experience. Listen to the guides carefully, read our information about rafting trips and how to prepare for them, slather everyone with sunblock, be well-rested for your rafting trip and don't party hard the night before! Summer is finally here and the living is definitely easy for those who are prepared for their California whitewater rafting on the American River!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Brent Bradley, Kayaker

It's getting crowded on the rivers as more and more people come out from under this long wintery weather. The South Fork American was pretty crowded this past weekend. The days were beautiful with mild temperatures and big, fluffy clouds floating in the air. Lots of happy, smiling rafters on the Chili Bar and Gorge sections of the river.

On the Tuolumne, there was an extreme kayaker who was kayaking Clavey River and ended on a sad note with his death. See for details about this internationally known kayaker, Brent Bradley. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family & friends.

The river is a living thing. It has a soul and those of you who have been mesmerized by it's dance know that you have to respect it and revere it. We nag our clients and we let them know that rafting is fun but that anything can happen. Our hearts are with the spirit of the river and with those who may have been ultimately captured by them.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

North Fork American - Spring River Trips

Another rain storm has descended upon us! More water for the rivers. Just wanted to dispell some strange myths floating around the Bay Area right now.... seems that a bunch of the rafting companies are claiming that the North Fork American River has just started its season. Ha! Well, tell that to the 300 people that went with us this season starting in March 2005. All those people rafted on river flows from 1,500 cfs to 3,000 cfs.

We started early because the river did. And our clientele know when the flows begin. We had some beautiful sunny days during April that are rivaling the sunny days now (well, not today... rainy today), but those were the hardy folks who had rafted with us in the past. Bookmark this website so that you, too, will be a better informed paddler. Start rafting in the early season with your core friends and then come back during the summer months with your friends, family & colleagues. If you have a question about rafting, don't hesitate to email us or call. We will give you the best, educated answer regarding flows. This weekend should be a blast on the South Fork and North Fork American River!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

River Flows - 5,000 cfs

Sooo... today was the first day that the South Fork American flowed below 5,000 cfs all day long. We are at the technical stages on that river at around 4,500 cfs. From 3,500 cfs to 4,500 cfs, the South Fork American becomes a technical whitewater rafting trip requiring good paddling skills. You've got a good volume of water cascading over a boulder strewn corridor and that equals technical whitewater skills. Yes, I know, the media made a big deal out of the "big" flows last month, and the biggest danger at that time was hypothermia (brrrrr!), I much prefer the technical aspects of whitewater rafting.

Those of you who are gearing up for next season's runs on the North Fork American, Yuba, Tuolumne, high water Merced or the Class V runs on the Cal Salmon, should try and go again on the South Fork during these levels. You've got to be an good paddler or you'll crash and burn through Meatgrinder, get squirrly at Racehorse Bend and flip at Troublemaker. I think that doing these runs will definitely prepare you for next spring's rafting trips.

Soon, we will be back on the Middle Fork American. We started over there in April and then high water came and we couldn't boat over there anymore. Flows need to be below 2,000 cfs or otherwise, paddlers are portaging everything... not much fun, unless you are looking at an expedition! We will be rafting the Middle Fork right around the time that the North Fork American will be ending its season.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

American River Flows

Wacky weather this week! Flows were bouncing back and forth on all three forks of the American River. North Fork American dropped from 3,000 cfs down to 1,200 cfs in just a few days. The cooling trend made the runoff slow down, which is really nice because that means we will have an even more extended season. Today, after a brief storm yesterday, the flows came back up to 3,000 cfs! By this weekend, it should be around 1,500 to 2,000 cfs. We love the NoFo!

NoFo paddlers last weekend were past customers who had done a gazillion rafting trips with us over the last ten years. A group of gentlemen who had done low water South Fork American during the heat of the summer, high water South Fork American River during spring runs and Middle Fork American during summer and fall. This year, they had booked a Middle Fork American and because the MoFo was running too high, they opted to do the Class 4+ run on the NoFo. They loved it! And one of their comments was "We had a great time and everyone was pleased that we had been "moved up" to the North Fork. Both Justin and Saul were terrific--they made everyone feel comfortable. We'll do the North Fork again next year for sure. It wasn't as scary as we had been led to believe over the years." Clark from Northern California; June 2005

Now, of course, the river wasn't scary because this group was well-prepared for the technical demands of this river rafting trip. It wasn't scary because the guides were excellent and knew how to make this rafting trip safe. We know sometimes that we can go overboard with caution when we book our reservations with our paddlers, but W.E.T. River Trips really wants our paddleheads to have the best time on the river and not riddled with bad memories of flips, wraps and/or nasty swims.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Peak Flows - American River

Well, flows look like they have reached the peak on the American River rafting. Though the South Fork American is still running around 4,500 to 6,500 cfs, the North Fork American is starting to drop back to normal spring runoff levels. Last weekend was probably the last of the "big flows" on the NoFo. And we are still rafting the NoFo this weekend! What a great, long season on that beautiful river. While the media is still talking about extreme levels, in reality, the extreme flows are pretty much done.

SoFo will probably have solid Spring flows through June... and then back to normal... and then everyone will start whining about the lower flows. Sigh... you can't please everyone! Crew can't wait to get back over on the Middle Fork American. Flows over there have been wildly sporadic. Though it doesn't seem like much water pumping of Oxbow at only 2,500+ cfs, you just can't run certain rapids over there safely at those levels. As soon as it drops below 2,000 cfs, we'll be over there! Can't wait to see what Last Chance, Tunnel Chute & Texas Chainsaw will do to paddlers the rest of this season. Did the top of Tunnel Chute change? Did the boulders move around?