Flooding On the American River

Posted January 14, 2006 by Robyn Suddeth

Scott Armstrong just sent these pictures along for me. He and a few other friends headed out last week to see how well the Coloma and Lotus valleys were holding up against an extremely full South Fork American River– pretty amazing how much stuff got drowned or relocated. Normal flows for this river range from 9 to 20 hundred cfs, and last Wednesday it was running somewhere between 40 and 50 thousand.

Troublemaker RapidTroublemaker Rapid: Hopefully most people are pretty concentrated on their paddling while going through this one. But for anyone who happened to be looking around at the scenery last time, ignoring your guide’s increasingly louder commands (or if you were guiding– ignoring your crew’s increasingly panicked faces)… you may have noticed a cable running across the river about 20 feet above your head. Note that the cable in this picture could now take off your head. Scott told me that kayakers who ran the rapid that day were hitting their paddles on the cable as they ducked underneath.

South Fork American at flood stage

Big Hydraulics Along River-Left: Remember all those really scary holes we had to get away from the last time we ran the South Fork?? It was HUGE!


Lunch Time: Scott enjoys a bite of his tasty sandwich as water swirls around his legs… aahhh- how we love this peaceful river life! Note the tarp structures in the background. This picture was taken at our lunch spot on Cronin Ranch– almost completely submerged.


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