Rok kind of remembers where
yet I insist on going further upstream to where I saw some good looking
easier access. We start with some serious brush boating and a quick
portage, to emerge onto some action packed slides next to a house.
Rok Sribar in the first
series of slides.
We're just not used to
houses right next to the river, especially on something this steep. Rok
catches an eddy above a patio.
The brush is painfully
thick up here. The whitewater would be plenty challenging without it,
and now that
bushes block every view it's a unique experience.
Due to visibity issues I portage down to a nice slide and wait while
Rok and Gavin scout and paddle their way down.
a reward we find a nice steep slide hidden from the road's view.
Gavin Reiser runs the same slide to hole.
Downstream we are happy
to find the quality continuing with more slides.
These slides and sandwitched between brushy
boulder gardens which take inordinate amounts of time to scout.
Nice afternoon light for Gavin.
It's nearly five in the afternoon and we've just made it to the normal
put-in for the upper section. Too late to continue on, we decide to
Extended Upper South Kaweah Video
A few days later and Rok
comes back back to finish what we started.
Flows are a touch lower, which is better because the first mile falls
away at 375fpm and has no portages.
Water is always brown due to the lakes high above.
The character of the
fantastic and frusterating; every time we eddy out bushes and branches
are trying to steal the paddles.
It's not all glory though, some of the boulder gardens define mank.
Yet when it's good...
An hour into the run and we're out for an extended scout of the crux of
the run. This rapid could be portaged but would be a lot of work, and
we both enjoy multi-move rapids.
Rok Sribar enters the long rapid with wonderful light.
Three moves into the rapid and three to go, it's a long sequence. Note
the house ridgeline on the top right.
In the gorge there are some nice "backyard" slides.
Rok Sribar enjoying some of a few relaxed slides.
is one very unusual slide after the easier ones. It's complicated,
messy and impossible to explain. Thankfully like many rapids, it goes
better than it looks. Past the slides it's back to steep boulder
gardens. We aggressivly boat scout down to the marque rapid of the
Rok paddles into the entrace rapid to the falls.
unique, both the falls and the location. Again we're in someone's
backyard, and the waterfall is exciting with the lead-in rapid, and a
rather fine line between getting enough boof but not going too far
right into the green water.
A rare moment of the author in action.
Below the waterfall it's
back to boulder
gardens. They get brushier. Then there is some wood in the riverbed,
and it takes twenty minutes to portage ten feet. This isn't fun. We
push downstream for another mile. Finally we run a rapid that would
have killed us if there was a log hiding in it. Enough is enough. And
that's how take-out goes for the Upper South Kaweah. Paddle until it's
terrifying, then take out and hope you don't get shot by a land owner.
We are exceptionally lucky and meet some welcoming house owners, who
not only let us take out on their driveway but help shuttle us to our
car at the bridge. My suggestion would be to bring a bottle of wine and
see if you can sweet talk your way into a take out half a mile to a
mile above the bridge on the shuttle map.
The Upper South Kaweah is geat and terrible paddling. The riverbed
itself is quality, yet the brush makes it far from classic. Perhaps
after the high water we've seen in early 2017 it will clean up.