The South Fork American is open for whitewater in 23!
Yes, many of us held our breath through the winter this season, as one storm after another pounded the Sierras! As the New Year’s floodwaters receded, and the damage to our camp became better defined, we began repairs immediately as we hoped for a break in the action. It did not come, and instead the largest snowpack in 69 years accumulated relentlessly week after week.
At first, the damage to the camp seemed insurmountable, then as we began repairs, we overcame one challenge after another, and put Humpty Dumpty back together again! As Spring sprung, the schools began to arrive, children’s laughter replaced the growl of chainsaws and backhoes, and the camp was again full of life and beauty……
The river, however, continued to be high and my guess was this would persist well into July. I am pleased to say, I was wrong! Much to my surprise, as the weather has heated up, the river has not returned to the levels we saw in April, May and early June. Instead, daily flows are now robust but have fallen into a normal range. The spikes in flow we saw this Spring have been replaced by extended periods of more normal volumes that last throughout the day and night.
This is fantastic for whitewater rafting! Not only can we raft reliably every day, the water flows are now continuous. This allows us to raft on the popular downstream Gorge run in the morning when is more convenient and before it gets busy. On the upstream Chili Bar Run we can start later at a more convenient time, yet avoid other boaters. Whoop, whoop!
Bottom line, the 50 kids from Jersey who would normally be a bit nervous on the Class III+ Chili Bar, today enjoyed the more mellow Class III Gorge. The youth camps near Lake Tahoe, who were moving snow with earthmovers just a few weeks ago, can safely join us on either the Gorge or Chili Bar- their choice! The families, businesses, sports teams, first responders– you name it– they can all have the time of their lives enjoying the best boating conditions in 40 years. It is time to go rafting and celebrate these amazing conditions while they last. Let’s do this!
See you on the river,
Scott, Greg and the MaLode Crew