Thursday, March 16, 2006

Canyon Creek - Trib of SF Yuba - California

I was only able to take a weekend trip down to California to enjoy their unusually high snow pack last summer, which wasn't ideal. I met up with Erik Schertzl who was able to smoosh a month off from work to go play in the High Sierras. On the weekend of June 18-19 I met up with Schertzl and ran the Canyon Creek, which is a trib of the SF Yuba and we ran the SF Yuba from 49 to Bridgeport. For only having two days to paddle I definitely felt like I got money's worth with these two runs.

Canyon Creek is normally done as a two day run and you put in higher up, but the logistics are challenging and it's hard to know the water-level without first looking at the take-out. The other way to run it is to hike-in for about 30 minutes +/- and run the last half, which is what we did.

On June 18th, 2005 Erik, Matt, John, Ben and John's girlfriend set out to run Canyon Creek. After looking at the water-level at the take-out we determined that the level was a medium to medium low flow. John had done this run earlier at high water and not very many of their group actually finished the run. I guess it gets a little crazy at high water.

View upstream from the Take-out

Photo by Ben Naylor

The run starts off with a long Class IV-V boulder garden without any warm-up. However, the boulder gardens quickly dissipate and the run is more pool drop in character. The scenery on this run is incredible. You definitely have the feel of a wilderness run. The gradient stays pretty constant and there's pretty much no flat-water until you're right at the take-out.

This is one of the final boulder gardens before the ledges start.

Erik Schertzl Charging.

Photo by Ben Naylor

This is the second substantial ledge/slide, and was one of the best rapids on this run. The entry is a manky shallow boulder garden then you turn the corner and drop over the horizon line and pick up a lot of speed in an instant.

Matt Thomas Givin-er'

Photo by Ben Naylor

Here's another pic from a slightly different angle.

Erik Schertzl with the money line

Photo by Ben Naylor

This is one of the most difficult rapids on the run. It's a funky lead in that's a little tricky and you definitely don't want to plug it on the river right side or you might be swimming.

Matt Thomas stickin' it

Photo by Ben Naylor

Thanks Ben for all the great pics.
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