Heard some rumblings from the peanut gallery... the crew is getting antsy to get back over to the North Fork American. We've been conservative and the guides are whining. The commercial cut-off for our company is 3,000 cfs though we've all been over there at 4,500 cfs. We just can't risk commercial clients who trust us to make the decisions for them. So we wait as the flows bounce around. Last Wednesday, the crew went over and had a blast.. just a little over 3,000 cfs since the side-creeks were kicking in.
Saul, Zack, Josh and others went over and did a late put in on the downside of the flow. The people loved the late put-in's and not getting up at the crack of dawn. The morning flows have been above safe levels but by late afternoon, the naturally flowing river drops so that a run can sneak in. The crew was back at the warehouse unloaded and unpacked by 7:00 pm... before dark. Some of the rapids were sticky as Zack could attest to the nice little swim he had at beefy Chamberlain Falls. Saul had a nice entry and felt a little stick in the hole... surf action! FUN!
Drew and his yak buddies went over to do the Rubicon run. We're talking sketch. Expert run only,... yeh yeh... they're all expert runs... but I'm not sh... kidding you... this is on the verge of nuts. They had estimated the flow extrapolating the data, figuring the numbers. So they went. Naa ah. Mistake. Drew got hammered in a swim in the first 1/2 mile. He wisely chose to hike out along with other expert kayakers. Limitations. That's what it's all about for the hardcore paddlers. Testing the limits.
Back to commercial stuff... busy weekend coming up and weather is predicting some crazy sh... stuff. From 98 degrees back to 70 degrees... and a possibility of snow? Wha', are they kidding me? Unreal. At least, the cooler weather will slow this melt down. How do we explain this crazy flow pattern to our paying customers? I feel the frustration coming on as each caller in their sweet innocence try to decipher flow charts, web advice and try to apply all of this to every river system. Keep in mind that each river is unique. Each river has its on variables and parameters. One river at 9,000cfs is crazy fun while another is just deadly; and another river at 400 cfs is more deadly than when it's at 3,000cfs. Huh? That's right. Don't try to look at numbers and classifications. They are only numbers and attempts to describe what mortals call rivers. But rivers are a dynamic entity only described by gods and dieties... always changing, always hiding its primal face. We lowly mortals can only attempt to describe each circumstance as we apply it to this watery force...
Over in the urban world of rivers, there's been an awful rash of unneccesary drownings from sheer stupidity. Just yesterday, a young kid near West Sac tried swimming in the Sacramento River near Discovery Park. He was overcome and disappeared into the murky mess. No lifejacket, no wetsuit... And those kids up near Placerville who were hiking around and rock hopping above the rapids; kind of like Russian roulette, you know? That kid ended up falling off a rock and disappearing into the rush of water. And in Sacramento, a group of total hillbillies took their plastic raft that was designed for a swimming pool into the Lower American. No lifejackets, no wetsuits. Overturned in a flash and nearly drowned. And what about the mom who let her kid go down with her inexperienced friend on a raging river in a rubber ducky with no lifejackets or wetsuits? Come on people. Get a clue. I'm sick to the core of my being when I hear about stuff like this. If you can't go with a professional outfitter at least protect yourself and wear a damn lifejacket. And parents, warn your kids to stay away from the edges of moving water unless they are wearing a lifejacket.
As professional outfitters, we go overboard with safety and implementation. We have to. We have your lives in our hands. Our industry takes this responsibility extremely seriously... and believe me, we'd rather our clients be pissed at us when we cancel a trip due to unsafe levels than to have them get hurt. So when you get the call or the email cancellation, appreciate that your pro outfitter is one that makes your safety their first priority and not the bottom line.
A rant from the manager