Sunday, March 22, 2009

Variety - [insert spice of life comment here]

This is what I love about paddling - endless variety of locations and opportunities. I got to spend a few days paddling on protected waters by Tomales Bay, went down to watch the Santa Cruz Surf Kayak Festival and then came back up to paddle the Upper Middle Cosumnes river just outside Placerville.

I started with a couple days with my buddy Frank who has a nice little place in Dillon Beach at the mouth of Tomales Bay. He bought the place over 30 years ago, long before he ever did any kayaking - he didn't start kayaking until he was 65. But Frank has tried to make up for lost time with a serious dedication to the sport. He is one of the regulars at the pool working on his rolling techniques over the winter and gets out on the water a couple time a week during the summer. We spent a nice day on the Estero Americano and ran into a local paddler on the water (Ted) who joined us the following day for a trip on Tomales Bay.

So after a couple days of paddling I headed down to Santa Cruz as a spectator. It was the first day of the Santa Cruz Surf Kayak Festival - one of the largest such festivals in the country. Unfortunately the ocean wasn't being cooperative and the the waves were infrequent and small. But a great location and great weather made for some nice photographs.

Since the surf was expected to get even smaller, I checked on the rivers and some friends were planning on hitting the Upper Middle Cosumnes. So I drove back home and switched out the sea kayak for my creeker and got a good night's sleep to prepare. The Cosumnes has a small, low elevation cachement and thus a short season. The Upper Middle Fork was only recently discovered as a kayak run and it is an incredibly beautiful and challenging run. It takes a mile to hike in and the first two miles has a lot of large drops that we ended up portaging around (though folks have run everything in there). So there was lots of boat carrying but lots of great paddling and lovely granite scenery.

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