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    Here’s another brief trip report from a highlight run that we caught in California this past May for those interested.

    After roughly two weeks on the road, Terry and I were running out of time before having to head back to STL for the summer;    Having paddled 12 or 13 days in a row, we were all feeling due for a nice rest day and maybe something a bit less stressful as (our) trip was beginning to come to an end.  The thoughts of a relaxing and chill day were abruptly put on hold when Terry, the logistics king, concluded that South Silver may indeed be dropping into a runnable flow in the next 24 hours or so…

    A little back story to this particular creek;  Terry, Levi and I had visited it 4 years prior, in 2016 with high hopes of running it.  When we arrived, we hiked up the trail alongside the creek and almost immediately knew it was hundreds of CFS too high to attempt.   Regardless of the high-water, the gorge was incredibly steep and intimidating.  I remember very clearly standing along side that creek and realizing that even if the flows were ideal, the landscape and the overwhelmingly steep nature of the creek had me faaarrrr out of my comfort zone.     I knew that I’d need to come back not only with lower water levels, but more experience and a better mindset.

    Fast forward, we pounced on Terry’s premonition and headed a few hours to set up camp at the base of the creek.  When day broke, the levels had dropped overnight into a perfect runnable flow!

    With a later than usual start, we loaded up the truck and started making our way up the mountain and eventually onto some good ole’ 4 wheel drive roads to try to find an access trail down to the river.  After searching for close to an hour, we finally stumbled across a small ‘game’ trail, that turned out to be the trail we were looking for down into the gorge.

    After a quick 1/4 mile hike downhill to the creek, we immediately knew we were in for a real treat.

    The next mile of whitewater would proceed to drop over 650 ft a mile, with only roughly 20 feet being lost to a mandatory portage.    At the put in, we all scouted the first rapid, Autobahn.  I can’t think of a more fun way to start a river than the 300 yard long slide called Autobahn!</span>

    After the first slide, were started scouting the rest of the gorge, and boy oh boy it was STACKED.   From slides to chutes, the run reaches its pinnacle about halfway though where the river drops a significant amount of gradient down the infamous “Skyscraper” rapid and immediately into “Off Ramp”.    With the sun soon to be hidden behind the gorge walls, we all decided it’d be in our best interest to leave our boats in the gorge, hike out, and get an early start tomorrow.  It had become very clear that with no guide, and little knowledge of the run, we were in for a full day of scouting and setting safety.

    The next morning we arose and got to the put in much earlier to give our group plenty of time to work our way down at a comfortable pace.   We arrived at the boats, and got one more good ride on the Autobahn before heading deeper into the gorge.   Slides, teacups, chutes, and ledges were the nature of the creek leading up to the crux of Sky Scraper and Off Ramp.

    Once the crux of the run was behind us, we had a quick portage around a mandatory jumble of boulders, and put back in for the last half mile of fun.   This second section was fantastic; While it lacked the clean teacups the top section had, it made up for in a fast, pushy and constant flow culminating into a 25 foot drop known as plastic surgery.

    After taking turns routing through this section, we had one or two last rapids before hiking out of the gorge about a 1/4 mile back to the car at the bottom.

    Needless to say, it was one of the most fun and rewarding days of boating I have had. I couldn’t have asked for a better creek to end the trip on, or a better crew to share the experience with!




    • This topic was modified 3 months ago by  CJW4D.

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