The Prospector and I had been on the American River, above Sacramento, with the boys and some friends many years ago. The water had been very still and we actually had to get out and push the boat down stream that time. We had fun, but it wasn't exactly white water rafting. This was different.
This trip was put on by a group called ORRS and the Foothill Conservancy, who want to make this river into a wild and scenic designated river so it can be protected from dams, water agencies and other foolish people. I need to learn more about this, so I can't tell you too much. I'm learning myself. I only know that this is a beautiful river and if it's not protected someone will come along and muck it up like so many other natural places.
We met at the local supermarket parking lot and signed in. Then they put us in a van and drove us to the river. We went south on highway 49 to Electra Rd, then east along the river to a beach called Box. I have no idea why it's called Box but that's its name.
They gave us life jackets and helmets and showed us how to wear them, how to use the orrs, how to listen to our fearless leader and how to fall out of the raft graceful. Falling into the water was not something that I intended to do, but you have to know WHAT to do if it happens.
\You will notice that there are no pictures taken in the rapids. That's because you are rowing, leaning, listening to the leader tell you what to do and generally working your tail end off so you don't hit a boulder and dump everyone into the water. It's way more work than it appears when you watch from the shore.
Cotton Carrier. The small camera was right in front of him and hands free. All he had to do was turn it on. He was shooting video and having the camera on his vest front was really handy. He recommended a Nikon Coolpix AW100.
The rapids were really fun. Only one was a class 3. The rest were very exciting, but not too difficult to negotiate for us... the "newbies".
I'm hooked. I would go again. It's an adrenaline rush to go down rapids, rowing and avoiding the rocks and potholes and getting wet... and having the boat turn backwards or almost flip. You have more control that I ever thought you did. It's all about maneuvering the boat correctly and rowing fast, slow, forward and back to control where you go. We all worked very hard at it, listening to our guide and moving together to get through the rapids and into the wide quiet areas. It was truly an exciting and fun experience.
We reached the Middle Bar area and the "take out" for the rafts. We had to carry the rafts up from the river and help get them on the trailers.
Pacific Gas & Electric controls the Electra Dam and the water flow for the river. You have to be very careful not to swim, float or kayak, by yourself, on this part of the river because of the changing water levels... but going with a group and experienced guides is a safe and wonderful experience.
I'm so glad that we got to do this. We plan on doing it again next year.