Being heavily regulated and legislated (and damned), the Middle Fork of the American River can basically be turned “on and off” by the Powers that Be. And this year, those powers have decided to turn off the spigut at the end of September. That means you have one month left to experience the remote canyon and class IV action of the Middle Fork……….after that, you’ll have to wait until next year. Since this is the end for the Tuolumne River as well, the Middle Fork in September is your last opportunity for class IV rafting this fall.
Archive for the 'Middle Fork American' Category
Rafters headed to the American River take note–Apple Hill opens this weekend. Soooo….if you’re rafting on the South or Middle Fork of the American River think about maybe adding a day to your trip and spending a day on the water and a day exploring the ranches, orchards and wineries of Apple Hill, which is only 20-25 minutes from our River Center in Lotus.
If you have the kids with you, a U-pick orchard or a place with lots of sticky caramel apples is calling your name. Lovers of pork will want to check out Smokey Ridge Charcuterie at Smokey Ridge Ranch–they make some seriously tasty hand-crafted sausages, duck confit and specialty items like rillettes and apple ketchup.
If it’s a couple’s weekend you’re after–and you’re not a teetotaler of course–then check out one of Apple Hill’s wineries. Boeger is one of the regions oldest vintners and have a blacksmith shop and artisan yarn shop in addition to a beautiful tasting room and picnic grounds. If you have a sweet tooth put Jodar and diVittorio winery at the top of your list. Jodar is well-known for port, and diVittorio has several styles of port as well as fruit wines like plum and nectarine.
Leave the 10 person tent, head-to-toe mosquito netting, and battery-operated blender at home people–packing for a multi-day river trip starts with thinking “less is more.” For starters, we provide you with most of the infrastructure you need–all your on-river gear, kitchen supplies and food. If you want some **adult bevvies** you’re welcome to bring them, although keg stands/beer bongs aren’t very neighborly. Functionality the next day, people–keep it in mind.
What you really need to provide is your personal stuff. Your shorts and swimming suit, your sunscreen and toothbrush, those things. Also a sleeping bag and a camp mattress of some kind. You really don’t need a tent–our guides never bring them and they’re out on the river all summer long so they know what they’re doing. Of course if you reeeeeeeeeeeeeaaallly reeeeeeeeeaally love to wrestle with a tent, and are confident you won’t poke somebody’s eyes out with the poles or initate divorce proceedings as part of the set-up process, feel free to bring a small tent, but we don’t think you’ll actually miss it. Or want to waste valuable leisure time in setting up and breaking it down . . .
It’s another exciting day on the Middle Fork American River. You’ve gotten up early to meet us in Forest Hill, CA, a one-horse town that was once considered as a possibility for the state capital. You’re already wet and enjoying yourself…and then there’s this:
Last Chance is a natural rapid, a powerful pour-over of water. Tunnel Chute is man made, the site of a giant mining operation during the California Gold Rush. Prospectors working for a company blasted in the chute that is now the rapid and then straight on through the side of the ridge. This drained out a stretch of river bed revealing a huge amount of gold. It was the largest find of the Gold Rush.
It’s misdummer and although free-run rivers are down to a fish-flow trickle there are still plenty of options for California River enthusiasts. Here’s the low-down on your current options from mellowist to maximum gnarl:
Super chill: The section of the South Fork of the American that runs through the Coloma-Lotus Valley is a gentle class II float. We designed our “Tom Sawyer Float Trip” with young kids in mind because the placid waters and small riffles let us meander downstream and leave time for blackberry picking, games, and adventures in an inflatable kayak or innertube for those who are feeling intrepid. This section has reliable flows of 1300-1700 CFS everyday of the week but Wednesday.
Class III: The South Fork of the American River is one of the most heavily dam-controlled rivers in the state. Not great for wildlife, and not without controversy–but of course also a very reliable summer river as a result. We have been seeing good flows of 1300-1700 CFS 6 days a week on the South Fork, which are great for a fun class III river trip.
Class IV: The Middle Fork of the American is one of the “sister forks” to the South Fork. They’re very different places though–the Middle Fork is a solid class IV run with more challenging rapids, a steeper and more remote canyon, and more time on the water. We are seeing flows everyday of the week that range from 850-1250 CFS. Perfect conditions!
Class IV-V: The Tuolumne River is also dam-controlled, which allows us to raft its protected Wild and Scenic waters all summer long. Flows rise and fall each day with dam releases, typically peaking around 1200 CFS. Plenty of water to get your blood a’ pumpin’ before Clavey Falls . . .
Class V: Cherry Creek is the ultimate “summertime river trip” in that it can only be run in the summer months. During the spring run-off period there is actually too much water to run this extreme run. Extreme and challenging we like, ridiculous, we don’t. So, we wait each for flows to come down to raft the Creek. Trips will continue into very early September on Cherry Creek in 2012.
The Huz-band and I recently got away for a little overnight excursion and I was reminded of the power a wee vacay can have. Don’t get me wrong–I love an adventure of any size, but if you can swing spending the night and waking up somewhere new……..it’s exponentially better. So yes, a day trip down the river is wonderful–lots of fun, many laughs–but if you can do it, go for the two-day trip. The rapids are just as thrilling but the pace of the day is more relaxed. You get to do side hikes and discover hidden swimming holes, spooky caves, and waterfalls. At night, someone else does the cooking and the clean-up and you get to play cards, read a book (ok Kindle, only I still read books) and maybe even have a real conversation with someone. There will be tasty dutch-oven brownies or maybe some short-cake………and finally, nothing but crickets, more stars than you can count, and the sound of the river. In the morning, cowboy coffee and bacon…….and again, the incomparable sweetness of someone else washing the dishes………..all you have to do is pack your sleeping bag, find your sunscreen and get fired up for more time on the water.
If you were just wondering “wait, she forgot to mention the hot shower and camp store with snacks” never fear–check out a two-day trip on the South Fork of the American, where you can bring whatever creature comforts you want to cram into your car. Or, if you’re up for roughing it just a little, and those side-hikes are calling your name, look into the Tuolumne or the Middle Fork of the American, where there are no showers but there are also no hassles, no wi-fi, and no dishes.
“July 4th’s coming up
I know, it’s crazy
Here’s AO’s number
Go rafting, maybe”
1 (800) 247-2387
Don’t let tired social conventions get in the way of a truly memorable 4th of July celebration. You can accomplish all your favorite Independence Day traditions and so much more with us on (where else?) the American River.
So let’s break it down. What are the traditions, tied and true, to celebrate the ol’ red, white and blue?
The Parade: Instead of sitting on the hot concrete watching marching bands and paper mâché presidents loll down the street, picture yourself on raft parading down the river, splashing and laughing with your fellow whitewater paraders. It’s a tradition as old as George Washington crossing the Delaware.
The Picnic/Barbecue: AO’s got you covered, a deli spread to match any egg salad sandwich you’ve ever had on a picnic. Or how about deciding that independence is worth at least two days of celebrating. We’ll break out the BBQ equipment to grill up some tasty tri-tip on a 2-day rafting trip.
The Fireworks: How about the original fireworks? Yes, I’m talking about the stars. But seriously, without being cheesy, the stars are a brilliant spectacle to behold, looking up from the banks of the river. Or, if you’re sold on the kind of fireworks that make a boom, you can stop at the Eldorado County Family Blast on your way home.
And did I mention that there’s whitewater rafting involved too? We’d love to share the holiday with you!!!
No foolin, October 1st is our last day on the Middle Fork. Then it’s time to pack up and head back to the valley. If you miss the last trip, never fear because you can still raft the South Fork and Goodwin Canyon. But why miss the Middle Fork when you can join us for the bittersweet Final Trip?? See you there . . .
Put off your Shoot the (Tunnel) Chute plans no longer! No time to waste because after October 1st there won’t be any water on the Middle Fork. Well, there will be enough for fish and such, and enough for the treasure hunters to head out with their masks and fins to search for the sunglasses and watch you lost on the river last year, but there won’t be enough for us rafters. We have trips booked for the weekend but it all comes crashing to a halt soonsoonsoon! Last trip of the season is October 1st and space is limited. . . .
Let me start this with a qualifying statement: if you have yet to raft the Middle Fork American at all…you’ve got a problem that needs fixing. The Middle Fork is one of our most popular runs for a reason. Awesome class III and IV rapids intertwined through a long, hot, fun day in a beautiful canyon make for a fantastic day on the river. Throw in epic rapids like Tunnel Chute, Kanaka and Chunder and you can see why the Middle Fork is a can’t-miss trip.
So why not double your fun on an All-Outdoors 2-day trip down the Middle Fork? There are so many reasons why the 2-day trip will rock your world, but the main thing is the added amenities. For example, instead of just lunch on the river like a normal 1-day trip, how does lunch both days with delicious dinner and breakfast in between sound?
You may be wondering how we run the same section of river that takes one day normally and break it into two, while still maintaining the crazy, enjoyable aura of it all. Well, the coolest part of doing a multi-day trip on the Middle Fork is the remote wilderness camping experience of the night in between rafting days. After the top half of the river is completed, we will set up camp on a beach next to the river and eat, relax and socialize by the campfire. The expansive, hushed canyon will be yours to explore for the night; take a dip in the river, go fishing, play cards by the fire.
We aren’t done spoiling you yet, however. After an unforgettable night camping out, you’ll pile back into your raft and take on the second half of the Middle Fork. We will make a pit stop for lunch part way down and make our way up the side of Canyon Creek for your final bonus adventure.
So, next time you are planning on hitting up the Middle Fork with All-Outdoors, be sure to consider a 2-day itinerary. Raft the thrashing white water and enjoy the scenic beauty of the secluded canyon all in one trip! Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on the chance to experience one of the most action-packed trips white water rafting in California has to offer!