Arroyo not-so-Seco

You were probably expecting to hear about how my 100 day challenge finished up in 2014. To be honest, I’m still trying to put it all together in my head. A post will come of it, sometime. Wait for it. And for the record, I hit 115 days of paddling in 2014. I’m still recovering!

Back to the here and now. The rains came. The rains dumped. Word was that Indians in Big Sur got six inches. Whoo HOO! That was enough to throttle Arroyo Seco and keep it running for a few days. Thanks Elijah for rattling my chain and getting me out there!

My friends Elijah and Kyle and I took advantage of the summer-like weather to sweat our way up the three plus mile hike to kayak down the Arroyo Seco River from Willow Creek Bridge. It took about an hour and forty five minutes to hike in with repositioning and rest stops along the way. For a place that is packed in summer with beer swilling frat boys and previously known to me only as a baking hot swim hole, Arroyo Seco is a treasure in the winter! Especially on days like this with the temperatures reaching near record highs. We only saw two hikers and had the river all to ourselves!

Elijah demonstrates position #14 of trying to find a comfortable way carry a kayak. It doesn't exist.

Elijah demonstrates position #14 of trying to find a comfortable way carry a kayak. It doesn’t exist.


Directly below the put in a few bouldery drops with brush and trees led into the steeper part of the canyon. After the short canyon the run finishes with a few more boulder hopping and tree dodging drops before reaching the flat water beach of the day use area.
kyle-brush
Kyle drops off the horizon and into the canyon

Kyle drops off the horizon and into the canyon


At our level of about 8.5 on the gauge we had enough water to keep it sporty, but not too pushy. It could be even more fun with a bit more water.
Me running Mucho Cajones rapid

Me running Mucho Cajones rapid


In this medium-low level, driving left on Mucho Cajones can push you up over the left rocks and down to an auto-boof flake rock that makes it easy to avoid the macking recirculating hole on river right.

The canyon is spectacular, albeit short. We enjoyed the mile or so of drop-pool and swirling down into a tight bend where the canyon walls came within about nine feet of each other. The entire run took about one hour. If I had wheels for my boat I would have considered a second lap.

It really is something unexpected when you look at the surrounding hills and mountain range on the approach from highway 101. It seems beyond this landscape’s capability to produce something so dramatic. Then again, this is California.

DSCN1429

Kyle bouncing out below Mucho Cajones into the narrows


Congratulating ourselves for successfully navigating through Mucho Cajones

Congratulating ourselves for successfully navigating through Mucho Cajones


The scenery was beautiful, the whitewater was fun, and Kyle scored a new pair of sunglasses. Who could beat a day like that?!
kyle

Check out CA Creeks for the standard write up. And yes, somewhere out there is a write up about a guy who thought he was going to die in the hole at Big Cajones, but you can portage that one, so don’t let it stop you from checking out this run!

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