Tuesday, March 21, 2006

First Rafting Trip for 2006

First rafting trip on the North Fork American started this past weekend. Here's an update on the changes on the river: It’s true… the sun shines in March. (it’s been awhile) Sunday, March 19th on the North Fork of the American … it was a beautiful day...

The flow was about 1,500 cfs and the water was translucent jade and every tributary and every water fall was gushing ! The canyon looked like it had been scrubbed; the rock walls were bright and tumbled clean. The rumors of flows over 25k cfs during the December storms were true: gravel bars and major rocks had been moved and rearranged. Most rapids were unchanged with the exception of Staircase and Bogus Thunder. Staircase has a easier entrance with the same outflow… way fun!!! ... and Bogus has a single “clean” line at moderate flow vs. the previous two options. There will be a “cheat” slot on the far left at higher flows but Bogus Thunder will continue to live up to its reputation and deliver key excitement.

Headguides, Saul, Jason, Jonny, Maggie, Zackie, Robbie, and Justin all came out for the opener! Perfect (nearly perfect…because the River Gods hear everything) runs were had by all! Thanks to Guy and the kayakers from SOC who paddled along with our team.

With the movement of gravel bars , the river now splits where it formerly had a single slot (ergo: just downstream of the Ponderosa Bridge) and the take-out at Upper Clementine is a huge gravel bar with a fresh deposit of about three feet of river cobble, boulders, and gravel. The dirt roads are still a mess with small slides and downed trees; however, they are the same and passable (at least on the Northfork). The Driver’s Flat Road (Middle Fork) is a wreck with major slides and debris; however, State Parks and CDF are working on it now with the understanding that the road will be passable in time for the Middle Fork season!

With over 14 feet of fresh snow and without the eminent threat of torrential warm rains, this Spring (and Summer) whitewater season looks to be epic!

An official "Big Pappa" post!

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