Merced River Update: Quarter Mile now in the House!June 22nd, 2008 Malina
The Mighty Mer is a fickle river, with a character as inconstant as the moon depending on flows. Until recently, we’ve had flows of around 2200-2000 cfs. This amount of water creates the huge rolling wave trains that make the Merced such a fun whitewater river, but it also makes it inappropriate to run the lower section of the river, which is called Quarter Mile. Now that the water is starting to drop to approximately 1500-1600 cfs, we can start running the Quarter Mile section. This includes s a long class IV rapid with a 3 remarkable drops to the river trip, and also a 25 foot waterfall to the day! We scout the different sections of the rapid–and we push the boats over the falls and walk around to the bottom. Current flows, combined with the level of the reservoir below the raftable section of the Merced, means there is now an additional 3 miles of moving water we get to float after lunch. It isn’t 3 miles of whitewater, but it’s still a lovely way to end the day.
Based on the season so far, and the amount of snowpack that remains high in the Merced watershed, we think there will be two more weekends of great whitewater rafting on the Merced. We anticipate trips running into the July 4 holiday weekend, but will keep you updated if it appears that the situation will change. Hot weather, of course, would likely shorten the season because it would melt the snowpack faster, while cooler temps would stretch out the season a little longer by preserving the snowpack.