Thursday, June 18, 2009
California Trip Report: The Kaweahs (East Fork and more Hospital Rock)
After taking the weekend to relax and enjoy the beautiful city of San Francisco, we were antsy to get back on the water. Although we were a little unsure of the water levels, we decided to head back down to the Kaweah drainage with the hopes of getting on the East Fork of the Kaweah, said to be one of the best day runs in Cali.
Upon arriving at the camping area we talked to some boaters who ran the East Fork the day before and said it was low but going, so we decided to head up to the put-in the next morning. When we arrived we were excited to see that due to the hotter weather of the previous days, the river had come up to a nice low end of high level, which was absolutely perfect.
Gareth, Matias and I spent the day picking our way down the 4.5 miles of classic class 4-5 rapids. The portages were a bit epic but the abundance of clean rapids made up for them. The only carnage of the day involved Gareth getting thrown into an undercut pothole wall that after multiple attempts to roll (it would have been impossible to roll there) caused him to swim and lose his very important paddle. Knowing the paddle was still being recirculated in the wall, we decided to send me in after it. So Matias held a rope, which was attached to my PFD, and I jumped in and swam in the wall until I managed to knock the paddle out. Gareth still owes me a beer for that one….
The next day we decided to take advantage of the higher flows and get back on the hospital rock section of the main Kaweah. Hospital rock is one of those sections that is so classic that it can be enjoyed over and over again. It was a beautiful day on the water.