Beautiful California- Put-In for the North Fork of the Smith River

January 27th, 2006 Robyn Suddeth

North Fork Put-In.JPGI’ve got a lot to say about this recent rafting trip to Northern coastal rivers this last weekend, but wanted to first dedicate some time to describe this awesome shuttle. Monday morning we set out early from Hiuchi to do the one and a half hour drive to put-in for the North Fork of the Smith. Despite its length, this has got to be one of the best shuttle routes in California.

We started off heading west on Highway 197, then turned north onto Low Divide Road. As we crested the ridge, Smokey slowed the truck down and told us to look left through the trees. Amazingly, we were looking at a sparkling Pacific Ocean. When we turned 180 degrees to the east, we were greeted with green valleys full of pine trees and beyond those the white mountain peaks of the Siskiyou Wilderness.

This, I thought, is why I live in California. Sure things are cheaper in other states, but in how many places can you stand on a mountain ridge and be surrounded by deep blue ocean, turqoiuse rivers, redwood forest valleys, and snow-capped mountains all at once? And on top of that, you can head out with a little bit of hypalon, capilene, and gore tex in the middle of January and raft one of those beautiful mountain streams.
The sunset we got during the shuttle at the end of an exhilerating day only did more to reinforce my awe and admiration.

California spoils the senses: Each new revelation here makes it harder to imagine calling anywhere else home.

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