Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Roadtrip to North America - Flo Fischer

Part 1: It never rains in southern California...

"It never rains in southern California!“ Everyone of us is repeating this world known phrase all the time. You can feel in the voice that this is a joke. While I was preparing for my four month visit of California and British Columbia I imagined pictures of blue sky and extremely hot sun. Many guys who have been here before reported of a single rainy day per month and extremely hot temperatures. But this time many things are different. Since about two weeks it’s raining all day long, sometimes you can see the sun, but only for a few minutes. Another problem is the huge snowpack on top of the mountains which drains the rivers with a lot of water.

On May 20th I arrived at the San Francisco International Airport. All my luggage and my boat arrived as well and are in best conditions – I’m happy! Me and another friend started immediately to look for a used car to buy. After some trouble and three days later we packed our kayaks on top of our own car.

Our first trip was to scout the South Silver River east of Sacramento. It’s an amazing river with lots of huge slides and drops. The next day we started to scout if the waterlevel is good for that mission. It’s a pity, there was way too much water in there so we discussed what to do next.

So we went back to Placerville to check some online gauges and a few hours later we found ourselves on an evening run at the South Fork American River. The waterlevel is quite high as well, so it’s an amazing big water run, perfect to get ready for the coming weeks. The upper part which we run the coming days was amazing technical whitewater with many drops and slides. We did this part as a two day trip because we took so much time with taking photos.

Next mission was the South Fork of the Yuba River, which is also a very nice and interesting river, not far from the American River. This is a perfect mix between big water rapids and some technical drops. At the take-out we met a group of kayakers around the local guy Charlie Center. These guys told us that the South Branch of the Middle Fork Feather has a perfect waterlevel and they are going there tonight. They invited us to follow them.

We knew only one thing about the South Branch: This is a "must-do“ for every kayaker in California. After three hour of driving, we found ourselves at the put-in to spend the night there. The next morning Charlie introduced us in what’s coming the next 3,5 miles. We prepared our boats on a gravel bar. Everybody was keen to go. As I took my paddle to push my boat into the water I asked myself many questions: Will the rain make the shore that slippery that it’s not possible to scout? What about "99 Problems“, a difficult 40-footer, Charlie talked about? Just around the first corner it started with some small drops and boulder strewn rapids. A first 15-footer was the beginning of the steep and interesting section of the South Branch. We looked downstream and the only thing you could see was one horizon line after the other. We hucked down uncountable drops between 10 and 25 feet until we reached "99 Problems“. This is a little bit uncommon 40-footer with a difficult lead-in rapid which is waiting for some more descents. Still pumped with adrenalin we reached the must-do portage. After a little bit scary shore-launch we reached almost the end. There is just one drop left. A perfect shaped 50-footer is waiting to get hucked.

After one hour of steep hike out it was clear. This is one of my top favorite rivers worldwide.

The weather forecast is getting better. Just three more days until there should be perfect weather, sun and high temperatures. So we checked some more waterlevels and two days later we found ourselves on the next must-do. The Dry Meadow Creek. After one day in the sun at the seven teacups we returned to our cars with more then 200 Pictures on each camera.

Let’s see what’s going on: The waterlevels are rising but there are still some classic runs with perfect levels, like the upper/middle cosumnes.

Florian Fischer
Nookie Team Rider