Friday, May 30, 2014

Adventures at Rattlesnake Bar & Folsom Lake

The river called. The call is the thundering rumble of distant rapids, the intimate roar of white water . . . a primeval summons to primordial values. — (John Craighead, Naturalist Magazine (Autumn 1965)
  Where the North Fork of the American River flows into Folsom Lake is one of my favorite spots to paddle. At the far northern end of Folsom Lake State Recreational Area, Rattlesnake Bar is a little out of the way.  It is off the highway and down a winding road to the lake access. Because of the current drought, getting on the water is inconvenient.  Last time I was there, the boat ramp gate was locked, leading to a long  portage to the water. 
 Nevertheless, once on the water those troubles drifted away. The water was calm, flat and suited for touring. It's spellbinding to explore the towering rock formations and coves of the lake shore.  At  Mormon Ravine, if conditions are right, the water is boiling. Discharges from the nearby pump house have turned the mild stream into a rocky watercourse just right for surfing.
  The guys from Bayside Adventure Sports and I were lucky one evening to catch a flow release into the ravine. We tested our skills enjoying that thrill of whitewater before heading back home on the peaceful lake.