Saturday, June 06, 2009

California Trip Report: The South Silver

Camping out with the truck

After spending a day in the big city of Sacramento getting some much needed errands done, I was ready to get back in the California wilderness. So Gareth and I decided to head up into the Eldorado National Forest to camp out for the evening.

The following morning we took a short drive up to the South Silver to check on the level. At first inspection it seemed low, so we relaxed by the lake for the afternoon hoping it would come up as the day warmed up. Eventually we drove back over to the takeout and hiked up the river to find a better level as well as couple of boaters out there that needed a ride back to the put in. This turned out to be very convenient for us because we didn't have a shuttle vehicle either. We made a trade and drove them up to their cars and they drove ours back down.

Chilling by the lake

The truck loaded down to the max while giving the other boaters a ride

The South Silver is only a mile long, but within that mile the river drops over 650 feet. Its hard to believe that a section of river that is 650 feet per mile would be good to go, but the South Silver is exactly that. The run starts off with a long series of slides before dropping into the teacups section, a series a waterfalls dropping down the bedrock channel.

Me at the top of the teacups

Me in another teacup drop

Gareth scouting

Gareth in the teacups

After finishing the teacups section (and the portage that follows) Gareth and I were set up to run the last big rapid of the day. It was at this time that I saw what is probably the coolest thing I have ever seen on a river before. As I was literally about to peel out into the class five rapid, Gareth started yelling at me to look at something. It was then that I looked up to see a big brown bear coming down the mountain side on the opposite side of the river. The bear then proceeded to jump across the river in the middle of the rapid! This all took place about 25 feet away from the eddy we were sitting in. Had I peeled out when I had planned to, the bear and I would have been hitting that spot on the river at the exact same time. We then decided to get out of our boats and see if we could sneak a peak at the bear and possibly get a picture, but no luck.

Gareth pointing to the spot where the bear jumped across the river

Me running the main drop of the rapid with the bear sighting

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