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Jackson’s come out of the Sierra’s after a week
of California boating (first report)
Page 1

May 29, 2005

Deer Creek group shot


We were initially heading to the Ottawa from Reno,
but the plans changed and we drove over the hill to California. It all
started with hooking up with Scott Lindgren, and then we made our way
to the South Fork of the American, where we got to run the river with
Patty Boyer, a good friend from Coloma and hook up with her son and Rachel


Stuart Holbrook showing off his video

Rachel is from New York City and made her home on the
top of a beautiful mountain near Coloma with a 270 degree view of the
valley. We had dinner at her house and got to check it out for the first
time. We also made plans to hook up with Phil Boyer for some creeking
and river running. First off, however, is to hook up with a guy that is
one of my favorite people to paddle with, Stuart Holbrook.


Chuck Lees kayak school


I had the pleasure of teaching Stuart to paddle from
day 1 back in Washington, DC. He was one of those, least likely to be
a kayaker students”, in the beginning, but he stuck with it and
10 years later he running rivers all around the world and leading trips.
This week he is leading a trip throughout Northern California with a group
of close friends.


Jackson Family near the Deer Creek
put in

We have Alan Gutenberg, and his nephew Logan, and friend
Stephan. Alan is from California and went to Stuart on a China trip. He
and Logan also did a two day group clinic with me on the Ottawa a couple
of years ago. We have Mike from DC, we have Dr. Andy from ?, a civil engineer,
and had Walt (one of the original California pioneers along with Lars
and Royal Robbins). We also have Eli, Stuart’s nephew who learned
to boat last year, from New Hampshire. The group is a great mix of personalities
and skills, but strong enough to hit some quality creeks and rivers.


A point in the right direction


Our first trip, was on the South Fork of the American
as a warm-up. 7,000 cfs of big water fun on this classic CA river that
usually runs at 1200. This was play heaven, with big holes and big waves,
mostly catch on the fly. Dane, Emily, Nick, and I ran it 5 times in three
days, after I ran the North Fork with Scott the day before at 20,000.


2 hours up this dirt road to the
put in

Our second trip was an overnight on Deer Creek, one
I had never even heard of. This creek is a multi-day, either two or three
days, we did the two day. It starts near Chico, and is close to Mill Creek.
The creek was running at 700 cfs, a big level, like everything in CA on
this trip. Chuck, the owner of Kayak university kayak school, organized
shuttle down the 2-3 hour dirt road in. Kristine drove one vehicle, and
two shuttle drivers were hired to bring the cars to the take out the on
the second day.




This was the kids first overnight, and everybody was
quite excited to camp on the river, self-supported, and run 30 miles of
awesome creek. We had a large group of 16 people, so we split into groups
of 4. Dane, Emily, Nick, and I were in the first group to go and we set
a fast pace, boat scouting most of the stuff, but still finding plenty
of places that needed a good scout from shore. Emily paddled the Hero,
I paddled the Super Hero, while Dane paddled the Fun 1.5, and Nick paddled
the Fun.


Dane getting dressed

The whole trip was awesome, starting off in the high
woods, and dropping into the lower elevations, ending up in lava tubes,
and tight canyons, and finally petering out into class 2 for the last
couple of miles. The camp was a sweet beach by a deep pool good for swimming.

We slept under the stars with 80 degree clear skies
turning into 55 degree perfect sleeping weather. We only have three good
sleeping bags, so Dane and Emily shared one after Dane got cold in his
fleece bag. Dane was in charge of keeping the fires going, even if that
meant blowing ashes into peoples food, he never let it die. Everyone had
a great experience, and the quality of people on the trip really made
it special for the Jackson family first time overnight creek trip.





Dane on his way


On the third trip, we headed up to Downieville for
some Lavazula, Pauly, and Yuba action. We pulled into Downieville and
realized that the RV would have to move up the hill out of town ½
mile since the town streets are better suited for the Mini than an RV.


Eli, Stuarts Cousin from NH

We dropped the mini and loaded it with our creekboats
and headed to the put in of the Lavazula, a 4 mile class 4/5 creek at
a stomping level. Emily, Dane, Phil Boyer, Nick, and I got on first and
headed downstream, once again running virgin water for us and enjoying
our first reading of this water.


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