Home Run

Day 107

So this is what it’s like to have a river in your backyard! A 15 minute drive to put in and I get to sleep in my own bed. Having a whitewater playground this close to home is amazing! Of course, it only happens a couple times a year, and you don’t want to put on with the first flush. With all the rain the central coast has had recently we considered the river as flushed as it was gonna get.

This is the first time I’ve kayaked the upper reaches of whitewater on the river I ride my bike past every day. The water ain’t pretty, but you won’t hear me complaining. After the dozens of hours I’ve spent in the car this year getting to and from rivers I am stoked to run the San Lorenzo River right here in Santa Cruz.

Phil and Kyle at put in at Henry Cowell State Park

Phil and Kyle at put in at Henry Cowell State Park

The first mile or so is pretty flat, but scenic and peaceful. I skipped my traditional roll drill at put in given the questionable water quality. Pretty soon we were sliding down the class II riffles of Yoohoo colored water into a few class III and one or two class IV rapids.

waterfall

Waterfall rapid, actually packing some fun punches.

Phil floats under the Roaring Camp railroad trestle.

Phil floats under the Roaring Camp railroad trestle.

We thought the fun was over and it’d be flat to the take out, but a few lingering rapids hid behind clusters of willows and vegetation choking the river. We ducked under a couple massive redwood logs and sneaked over or around a couple more. Seems like a record to only have one portage on a river that has barely seen any flow for a few years now.

Under the canopy of tall green trees

Under the canopy of tall green trees

Kyle portaging a mini log jam

Kyle portaging a mini log jam

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There are actually some beautiful and dramatic features on this reach. I had almost forgotten I live so close to giant redwoods too!

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The locals in Felton come out on their decks to wave and smile and tell us we’re crazy.

It may not be a world class run, but it’s here, it’s fun and it feels good to keep it local.

End Note:

Santa Cruz is revitalizing the San Lorenzo River as it flows through town. It may even legalize paddling on the lower stretch. Imagine that, we could paddle to the sea!! Visit the Coastal Watershed Council’s San Lorenzo River Alliance to learn more.

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