Forks of the Kern and East Fork Carson

First I’d just like to say that despite the common belief that the Sierras have no water and aren’t going to be any good for paddling this year, I am having a record year so far as far as days on the river goes. I’ve paddled 18 days so far this month, been on 3 overnighters, 4 or 5 new runs and got to cross off one of the top runs on my shit list for this year, Devils Canyon. Sure it doesn’t look like I’m going to get on South Silver or Upper Cherry this year, but that doesn’t mean it is a total loss. There is paddling to be had you just have to go look for it. Maybe this is a good year to try some of those runs you have always wanted to do but never seemed to get to. For example, the second half of the title of this post.

Before I get to that, let me go back to last week. Joined by my friend April, I headed to Kernville despite everyone’s complaints about there being no water. We were bummed that the brush creek race was cancelled but decided to head down anyway and see what we could find. We decided to go run the Forks of the Kern and make an overnighter out of it. There is a sweet cabin and camp spot about half way down the run which made for an awesome place hang out by a campfire for a while.  We were warned extensively that the flow was “too low.” I think it was about 600 at Kernville on the dreamflows gauge if I’m not mistaken. We found the level to be perfectly adequate. Sure, I could see the run being a bit more exciting with more water, but what we found I would call fairly continuous technical class III+ to IV- with Vortex and Carson falls standing out as more class V. The low flow made for two really fun relaxing days on the river with scenery that was spectacular. With this trip following my Devil’s Canyon trip by only a couple weeks I was not expecting to be particularly impressed by scenery but found myself quite pleasantly surprised. I would be super stoked to have some pictures to post here to show you just how awesome it was, but in moment of sheer brilliance, I forgot my camera. I guess you will have to just go check it out for yourself. I strongly recommend that you do. If the previously mentioned class V rapids don’t sound like they’re quite your cup of tea don’t worry, they can be easily portaged.

The weekend following my trip to Kernville Amy, April, Amanda, and I headed down to the east for of the Carson river for another overnight paddling trip. This trip has been on the to do list since we moved to Reno 5 years ago and somehow we never made it. I was always off on the weekends running more challenging runs and never wanted to commit to a week end of class II paddling. The low water spring however gave us just the opportunity we needed. We put on at about 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon and paddled for about 2 hours down to the hot springs. We took out, set up camp, made dinner and then enjoyed an evening under the stars in a hotspring right over the river. Ok sure this trip isn’t going to get the adrenaline pumping for most folks but really how much better can it get than having a relaxing float, paddling right up to camp and the chilling under the stars in a hot spring with some friends? After having forgotten my camera last week I was sure to pack it this weekend. However, I didn’t think to check if there was a battery in it before we went and found out only too late that while we were at camp on the river the camera battery was on the charger in Reno. I am 0 for 2 on taking pictures. Good thing I’m not a photographer. I wouldn’t be a very good one. Once again you get no pictures from this trip either. You will just have to go see for yourself how rad this hotspring camp on the river is.

Next week I will try to bring a camera with me where ever I go and maybe I’ll even take a picture with it. No promises though. I don’t seem to be running a very good average right now. I am not sure yet where next weekend will take me. It will either be a slalom race in Reno of the Cal Salmon race. I’m leaning toward the Cal Salmon race if I can get there. I’m out of gas money for the moment and the Reno race is right down the street. Check back next week to see how it played out. Till then, happy paddling!

Pete

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