Friday, July 1, 2011
The Rubicon = Epic
A little background on The Rubicon. It is a tributary of the Middle Fork of the American River. It lies between Tahoe and Sacramento. It spill out of Hell Hole Reservoir but does so rarely - the water is usually diverted for power generation. In fact, it's more famous for the jeep trail that crosses its dry river bed than the whitewater kayaking that the flowing river can offer. There is an upper and a lower run. The upper is 8 miles and a 'day' run, though there is little beta to be found on it. The famous run is the lower; it's 20 miles of continuous rapids normally done in two days. It's rated class V but some say it's an easy V and some say otherwise. It's hard to get precise information but the general consensus is that it is one of the best rivers in California and you should never miss an opportunity to get on it. The trick is having water and knowing how much water is there.
boof.com we had flow reports. Word also came back that a group went in early with flows of 2000 cfs and found it too high and walked out after a couple scary miles. Without regular water to run through the river bed the willows have grown thick in the shallows and there are few eddies and even when you can find a place to stop you can't see anything.So the flows kept rising and I looked at my calendar and figured I would have time to research it and decide if I wanted to do it before the flows came into runnable levels. But then the flow dropped in half unexpectedly and it looked like there might be just one chance to do it - the flow was around 1,000 cfs which was the recommended optimal. I told work I wouldn't be coming in and emailed some folks to find out who wanted to tackle the myth.
A kindly stranger picked them up after ten minutes and drove them to the takeout. There they found the two members of the party that kept paddling - not only alive a well but returned from town with cold beer and hot chicken. They all piled in and found us nappers along the road. Since we had some daylight left and a four wheel drive we drove down the jeep trail to retrieve our boats - turns out it's five miles and 2000 feet of elevation. We loaded seven boats and bodies, picked up the vehicles left at put in, made it to a mexican restaurant on the way home just before it closed, and I was in bed sleeping just after midnight.
Not a lot of river pictures since we were trying to move fast - but definitely some good lifestyle shots. And the video suffered from the same time constraints but it still shares a taste of the action: