MF rapids part II: Kanaka!Posted August 24, 2011 by Jeremy
Don’t worry. After Tunnel Chute, the fun is definitely not over on the Middle Fork American. After another Class III stretch and one small class IV, you come to the last rapid before a lengthy calm section in the middle of the day. One of my favorite rapids on any river in California looms ahead. It goes by the name of Kanaka. My first time on the Middle Fork, we ran Kanaka at normal flows on a good line with six experienced rafters and a top notch guide. We still had four of the seven people swim the rapid after bouncing at the bottom. That included the guide.
Needless to say, Kanaka immediately became one of my favorites. Drops, bumps, turns, rocks; you name it, Kanaka’s got it. Some guides will even give more of a pre-rapid talk for Kanaka than Tunnel Chute because it’s so unpredictable. There is usually a pretty gnarly hole at the bottom of the rapid (the one that did in my raft that fateful day) that you have to avoid unless you want swimmers.
The river at Kanaka roars to the right over a line of boulders and into a cliff of more huge rocks, which causes the huge, churning whitewater. Kanaka is a huge rush and will be a perfect ending to the first harsh section of the river. As I mentioned, there is a long stretch of small rapids and calm water in the middle of the river after Kanaka. So there is no better way to finish off the top section than by hitting one of the fastest, bumpiest, most technical rapids on the whole river!
Want an even bigger taste of the Middle Fork’s class IV whitewater? Take a break and watch our river video.