Thursday, January 19, 2006

Northern California Rafting

Whitewater rafting has begun! The world of paddling sports is not confined to the summer months only. Hardcore paddlers using kayaks and whitewater rafts jump on the rivers when the water is there. Today on the North Fork American, we have flows of over 1,800 cfs. An awesomely great flow for paddling Class 4+ rapids. Our crew has been ecstatic over the winter flows this year. They are looking forward to Spring training in March and April when the snow starts to melt. Every year, W.E.T. travels up to the Northern California rivers to acclimate everyone before our commercial rafting trips. The Cal Salmon, Scott, Smith, Sacramento and other smaller esoteric runs are favorites of our crew. Due to recent storms, we are predicting a normal to above-normal year for our rivers.

Snow was raging these past couple of days. The summit was a total white-out as skiers swarmed with the pent-up energy of little kids stuck in the house during a rainy day. The snowpack is here with Sugar Bowl (summit) at 66 feet at the base and 100 feet at the top; check out Kirkwood at 113 feet at the base and 222 feet at the top! ...looks like we will have a great spring runoff and we all look forward to springtime runs.

This year, W.E.T. will be taking our crew to the Illinois River for a private rafting trip prior to the beginning of our regular commercial season. Very challenging at high flows, this river commands excellent paddling ability. I still remember the meadow where we camped. A mist languished over us as we ate blocks of chocolate. Very surreal setting. This time, we will enter "Green Wall" with the boat pointing straight! Can't wait to get back there!

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