Monday, April 10, 2006

High Water a Gift from Mother Nature

Berkeley-ites descended upon us this past weekend. On Saturday, one of the departments at the school rafted with W.E.T. River Trips as part of their recreation program. A good group of paddlers, the flow was around 7,500 cfs. We had the sweep boat (oar boat), 2 safety kayakers and the paddle boats mixed in along with the guide school group. All the guides were seasoned experienced paddle captains. The oarsman was a guide with over 10 years experience. He flipped in Meatgrinder. Lost the lunch. After righting the boat and gathering back together, the rest of the crew gave him sh$%t about his flip. Lots of ragging and lots of hard teasing began. He'll never live it down!

Once they floated back in to Lotus, our field manager gathered a lunch back together to feed the hungry horde. After much discussion, the UC Berkeley paddlers decided they wanted to keep going through the Gorge section. The people were having a blast. Big flows, like the Grand Canyon rollers, met them through Haystack Canyon. Keep the boat straight when you hit the wave! Pumping at 7,500 cfs plus, the river is a giant roller coaster ride. Not as technical, but more flippy, the river moves fast.

On Sunday, another UCB group came and paddled. They just loved the good ol' South Fork American. The "class 3" river kicks butt at this time of year. Some had done this river in the summer and they could not believe it was the same section. Some even thought they were rafting on another section of the American River... ha!

Each rapid changes; some become more difficult while others become easier. And the rocks that you see during the summer, become giant waves and holes ready to swallow a raft if you don't enter straight. I love the big water. It's so awesome. The power of the river is just unbelievable compared to the mellow summer flows. Try to do all the California rafting spring runs this year. It's unreal that we are having a season of high water again. Mother Nature's gift to all the paddling enthusiasts is here for 2006!

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