The middle fork of the american: a classic californian river
2018 summer: Robin's out rafting in central California on the American river. Taking a break fromteaching first aid for a few months.
Truely a beautiful canyon run, with many great class 4 rapids and varied scenery. Trips are 17 miles in length and take approximately 5 hours start to finish
Although summer weather is boiling hot, water releases from the dam at the put-in mean that the temperature feels low. Because isnt very warm for swimming in, splashing on the first few waves in the first rapid wakes you right up.
A highlight rapid on the river is named the 'tunnel chute'. A uniquely man made rapid formed whwen chinese miners hand dug a 90 ft by 60ft tunnel. The river is diverted around the horseshoe bend because a mining company could extract gold from it. Happening in the 1870's the one mile stretch was de-watered producing around $500 million in todays value of gold!
Either way a wild ride down a unique river feature for us!
Not always upright...
Ruck-a-chucky falls (no rafting first aid please)
Another highlight is ruck-a-chucky falls. Time to wake back up after so scenic of a 7 mile calm stretch. Suddenly the river drops off a 6 foot ledge drop call chunder! Immediately after is the main event. This was an attempted dam for the middle fork so that power could be generated, albeit unsuccessfully. So say the rafting guides 😉
Clients have to walk around, because it is too dangerous for amateur descent.
Less weight in the raft with you the better because the bottom of the falls lands almost dircetly on a rock pile. Having only yourself in a raft with all that float to weight ratio, it's far less likely to get hung up.
With all going well you'd kick out of the bottom of the falls rather than stopping. After you have to negotiate the siphon immediately on the left, and make the left line around the big bottom central boulder. If not - end up in a tight squeeze and guarenteed flip.
So hitting it around 3 times a week is keeping stoke high and attention most definately focused! Right hand line on this feature pours into a death seive with no hope of rescue. Swimming at the bottom of the falls would not be recommended! Doesn't matter how good your first aid skills are if you're in a siphon.
Check out the video