Friday, June 30, 2017

California Multi-Day Kayaking: Not Just for Class V Paddlers



I’ve been kayaking in the Sierra Nevada Mountain for nine years now, and it is hands down my favorite place to paddle. I’ve seen some amazing rivers with countless more I have yet to explore, and I’ve met some really amazing people along the way. If you ask paddlers around the world about whitewater in California, you will probably get a lot of responses referring to the classic multi-day trips that these mountains are known for. High sierra bed rock granite class V for days brings kayakers from all over the world even in years of low snow pack. What about those who want to explore some multi-day self support kayaking or raft support kayaking without having to face the extreme class V conditions of the high sierra? Are there still runs that make fun multi-day trips for the everyday paddler? Yes. Yes, there are. Here are a few suggestions for runs that make great overnight trips without the class V element.

  • South Fork of the American (full river) Class III
    1. You probably already know this stretch pretty well. Why not start at chile bar on Saturday and camp on the BLM beach just downstream of greenwood on river right? Then, you can finish the trip through the gorge the next day. If you’re doing this when flows are normal, waiting on the release on Sunday morning makes for a great casual breakfast hangout by the rio.
  • East Fork Carson Class II
    1. This 20 mile section in on the eastern slope of the Sierras has ample camping opportunities with hot springs at the half way point. I highly recommend this trip to anyone wanting to enjoy a weekend of paddling, camping, and hot springs.
  • North Fork American (Giant Gap) Class IV
    1. This 13 mile run is typically done in one day but it could easily be split into a two day. This canyon is incredibly beautiful and would make a great spot to hang out with friends around a campfire for a night.
  • Middle Fork of the American Class II-IV
    1. The tunnel chute run is long. Why not make an overnighter out of it? While you’re at it you could add another night or maybe even two going from the tunnel chute take out down to the confluence with the NFA. Double check my beta on this lower section because I haven’t actually done it, but I think it is a pretty nice class II paddle with just the one bigger rapid right at the confluence which would be an easy portage. You could also just overnight the lower section I think if you didn’t want to do the tunnel chute run.

    California based kayaker Pete Delosa is a member of Team Pyranha and sponsored by Immersion Research and Shred Ready. You can catch up with Pete on his blog and watch his videos on You-Tube
    Outside Adventure to the Max is always looking for guest bloggers. Contact us at if you are interested.

Friday, June 23, 2017


Eppie's Great Race is coming up fast. The event is presented by the Eppie’s Wellness Foundation is Saturday, July 15, 2017. Since its debut, Eppie’s Great Race has been held every year in Sacramento becoming a Northern California summertime tradition for elite athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and their families. The race features a 5.82-mile run, a 12.5-mile bike and a 6.10-mile paddle held along the scenic American River Parkway in Rancho Cordova and Sacramento. Its designated beneficiary is Therapeutic Recreation Services, a Sacramento County program for people of all ages with special needs and developmental disabilities.

The river portion of the race makes it one of the largest paddling events in the United States, offering a different dynamic from other triathlons with a "no swim" competition.

However, most of the participants come with running and biking skills but many have never paddled the river before or even sat in a kayak. Because of this, Current Adventures Kayak School and Trips has set up uniquely designed training sessions to help racers ensure success come race day with their Current Adventures Eppies Great Race programs. Expert instructors to help the participants build their confidence, paddling skills and river reading knowledge.

"With the high water this year on the Lower American times will be faster," said Current Adventure's owner Dan Crandall, "But, only if you understand how the lines and safety concerns are different in a year like this. Let us help you prepare for the high water conditions and race day success."

TRAINING DATES ARE JUNE 27, 29; JULY 6 10 12, 2017
Email us at Info@CurrentAdventures, com or Call 530-333-9115 to register for kayak rental and training options

To give you an idea of what it's like to train with Current Adventures for Eppies Great Race paddling portion here is an article that was originally published in Outside Adventure to the Max, July 8, 2016

The water glistens in the late afternoon sun. Across the way, kids frolic in it ankle-deep, while father down fishermen dot the rocky shore of the stream and huddling below the bike bridge kayakers in PFDs and bike helmets lay out a rainbow of kayaks at the edge of the beach. Anticipation, elation and anxiety churn in each one like the river before them. Looking out over the quiet scene their thoughts of doubts and hesitation are instantaneously interrupted by the booming voice of Dan Crandall.
"Are you ready to paddle tonight? We gotta about a week left. I want to hear something out of you otherwise we're just going to give up...Go home. Watch TV. Eat popcorn. Peppermint Patties. Drink milkshakes. All that good stuff you want to do, that you can do the day after the race."

Crandall and his staff from Current Adventures Kayak School and Trips have been conducting intensive kayak workouts with racers for the past several weeks building up to Eppie’s Great Race. Known as “The World’s Oldest Triathlon” the race is one of the largest paddling event in the United States. Founded in 1974, the race features a 5.82-mile run, a 12.5-mile bike and a 6.35-mile paddle held along the scenic American River Parkway in Rancho Cordova and Sacramento. That 6.35 miles down the American River with all its ripples and one rapid requiring whitewater skills presents the most challenging and exciting part of the annual race. Participants are expected to transfer from bicycle to boat at the Jim Jones Bridge for the final leg of the race. While most of them come with running and biking skills many of them have never paddled the river.

"Kayaks steer from the back," Crandall tells the group in some beach instruction, "You have to learn to speak this boat's language. It's a combination of edging correctly so the kayak knows what you're after and following your stroke through behind you, that matters."

Current Adventure's sessions have giving instruction on paddling technique, river reading and turning troublesome San Juan Rapids into a speed bump. However, this year the rapid has offered many challenges for the new paddlers. "Lean forward and smile, " said Crandall, " Show the river you are not afraid and keep a paddle in the water."

There are three ways to pass through San Juan Rapids. Being off to the right provides the best waves, in the middle for a fun drop and extended bubble wave or stay to the far left and avoid the rapid only to feel it's powerful eddy effect. Underneath the rapid, the river flows back together smashing into the cliff creating a circular boil, before slowing down to gentle speed. The practicing racers are encouraged to run the rapid a couple of times to familiarize themselves with its nature.

Some paddlers have used these sessions to update their skills and get in a practice run for the event, while others are kayaking for the first time. The instructors help each paddler with paddling fundamentals that will be handy come race day.

"You gotta stay in the current all the way till the outside of that corner." Crandall, calls out as the kayakers raft up together, So just think about that tonight. Start being very aware of the lines on the river. Use landmarks look ahead. Every time you come around a corner, set a new course to the next corner, don't just be staring at the bow or the deck of your boat. Looking ahead is what makes you faster and keeps you on better lines."

At the end, of course, tired paddlers pull their kayaks across the finish lines with an understanding of the river and what is hand for the great race.

Current Adventure Kayak School ant Trips
PHONE: 530-333-9115 or Toll-Free: 888-452-9254
FAX: 530-333-1291
USPS: Current Adventures, P.O. Box 828, Lotus, CA 95651
owner Dan Crandall

Friday, June 16, 2017



My siblings and I continue to have the same argument. Who is the most like Mom or Dad? While I can see a lot of our mother in my sisters, by having a passion cooking and strong religious family values. I started to think, what makes me the most like my father? I agree that unlike my younger brother, Cole, I share more similar interests in pop-culture with my father.

From my enjoyment of old adventure movies like Indiana Jones to his taste in 70s folk music to even, yes, wearing the same out-of-style clothing I wore back in high school (apparently, Livestrong bracelets aren’t a thing anymore). Yes, as I’ve gotten older I’ve become more and more like my Dad. And while this may sound like a sigh of relief for my brother, there’s one thing that he, along with me and Dad, share a strong passion for: The Great Outdoors.

One of the first camping trips I remember sharing with Dad was during the week of Father’s Day in 2002. Dad and I, along with my Boy Scout troop, took part in a father-son fishing trip to the Paint Lake Provincial Park near Thompson, Manitoba, a small nickel mining town near the Hudson Bay. Prior to this trip, Dad could only attend small, weekend outings to nearby Minnesota lakes due to his busy schedule.

However, that was not the case with embarking on a 700-mile trip through the Canadian wilderness to spend one week in a wooden lodge, only eating nothing, but what we caught (or what the resort diner was serving across the lake).

At the time, I was at that age where I was not that impressed with being in the middle of nowhere. Instead, I just wanted to do teenager stuff like run around in the woods with my friends or simply stay inside my cabin and read some paperback book that I took along. But my father was excited and woke me up every morning at 4 AM to watch the sunrise as we cast our fishing poles off the dock. By the end of the week, I ended up catching the biggest walleye out of the troop.

Since that trip, every summer, to this day, I long for spending time in nature. The wide open lakes, the sound of the loons, the smell of a campfire, and sight of the northern lights. But nothing reminds me more of that than of the great state of Minnesota. In June 2006, as I was coming to end of my journey on the Boy Scout trail and advancing towards the lifetime rank of Eagle Scout, my father had this grand idea for me to continue my career in Scouting by encouraging me to apply for my first ever job as a camp counselor at Camp Wilderness, a Boy Scout camp in northern Minnesota.

His reasoning was he wanted me to have a “life experience” and not work the boring, in-town job at a local McDonald's like other teens. Despite being against the idea at first, in retrospect, the summer of 2006 was one of the best summers of my life due to my time spent as a counselor.

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I continued going for seven more summers, even becoming a counselor at my sisters’ Camp Fire Girls summer camp. Dad and the family did visit me often on weekends. While Mother took us to cute nearby towns to enjoy an ice cream cone, Dad took me on even more camping trips like to Bemidji State Park or to Lake Itasca, the source of the Mississippi River.
> It was during these trips that I picked up another trait from my father: becoming that annoying know-it-all guy on a vacation who points out historical landmarks only to give a history lesson to those who listen. In repeated trips to Bemidji, I don’t know how many people I have told people that the local Dairy Queen is built on the sight of tribal huts of Chief Bemidji.

As me and my siblings became older, our days spent as counselors became numbered. Gone were the days of long summer camping trips with the Boy Scouts. Instead, the focus became on smaller, trips to go kayaking. It was time for us to spend as a family, reminiscing with stories around the campfire about previous camping trips. During the kayaking trips, Dad chose to go to places that we had never been before, mostly so that he could buy a new T-shirt from the gift shop.

On one Fourth of July trip, we were kayaking through the Old Broken Down Dam on the river as I calmly paddle down river, texting some girl on my phone, as Cole and Dad excitedly awaited upcoming rapids. Dad warned me to put away my phone as the current will become stronger and that I might drop it. While I insisted that he was wrong that I won’t drop my phone, I didn’t predict that I was going to fall out of my kayak and into the water.

While I survived just fine, my phone did not. I was upset, but Dad knew how to help… by taking us all to our traditional last stop: Pizza Ranch Buffet!  Looking back, out of all the camping trips I have taken part of with the Boy Scouts or as a counselor, nothing has been more fun than giving me lifelong memories attending these trips with my father.

Happy Father's Day
Taylor Carlson
June 2017

Taylor Carlson is oldest son of Outside Adventure to Max blogger Nick Carlson. He grew up in Fargo, North Dakota and spent many summers in camping, hiking and boating in Minnesota. He now resides in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Friday, June 9, 2017


Thus situated, many hundred miles from our families in the howling wilderness, I believe few would have equally enjoyed the happiness we experienced...You see how little nature requires to be satisfied. Felicity, the companion of content, is rather found in our own breasts than in the enjoyment of external things; And I firmly believe it requires but a little philosophy to make a man happy in whatever state he is. This consists in a full resignation to the will of Providence; and a resigned soul finds pleasure in a path strewed with briars and thorns. ---Daniel Boone

Legendary early American trailblazer and famous woodsmen Daniel Boone was constantly exposed to daily dangers and perils of frontier life. Survival meant living off the land and evading Indian attacks. He would often disappear into the forest for weeks and even months on long extended hunts before returning home to his family. According to author Robert Morgan, "Boone sought oneness with the wilderness as a mystic seeks union with the creator or a lover yearns to merge with the beloved."

There is a story about how a hunting party heard an odd sound coming from the woods. Upon investigating, they came across Boone, lying on his back in a little clearing singing to the clouds, trees, and passing birds. Singing for joy. Singing for nature. For Boone, life in the wilderness was a sublime combination of fear and delight mostly experienced by traveling alone.

My solo kayak trips have bestowed that same familiarity for me. In the far off distant land of Minnesota, I use to strap my kayak on to the roof of an old Chevy van packed up my camping gear, some freeze-dried food along with a notebook and pen, then escape for an overnight, maybe a weekend or if I was lucky enough an extended trip lasting several days. Of course, the dangers were minimal, outside on falling off the roof of my van while unloading my boat.

I would slip off into some corner of the wilderness just around the bend from the boat ramp. Like at Lake Bronson State Park in northwest Minnesota for my first solo trip to a boat in camping site on an island. Paddling on the lake that first trip I had a great feeling of exhilaration, followed by terror coursing through my body. The dreaming and planning finally turned into a reality outside of my so-called comfort zone. Still, it wasn't long before I was feeling those mystic powers of the lake exercising my self-doubts.

"There is magic in the feel of a paddle and the movement of a canoe, a magic compounded of distance, adventure, solitude, and peace," wrote canoe guru Sigurd Olson, "The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness and of a freedom almost forgotten. It is an antidote to insecurity, the open door to waterways of ages past and a way of life with profound and abiding satisfactions. When a man is part of his canoe, he is part of all that canoes have ever known."

I brought my daughter's chocolate Labrador the next summer for a trip to Scenic State Park, near Bigfork, Minn. I had been dog watching Mazie all summer while my daughter was working at a summer camp. She was a natural water dog and enjoyed riding in my tandem kayak. I had brought her along for a few over-nights already. She would scare off any raccoons just by being in camp, kept my feet warm at night, and ate my leftovers

We paddled around the esker, a long ridge of sediment left behind by ice age separating Coon Lake and Sandwick Lake. From this point, I could see that the park lived up to its name. A group of black and white patterned loons was fishing nearby taking turns diving and disappearing into the water. The silence was then broken by one's tremolo, a wavering call of alarm announcing our presence on the lake.

Campsite #6 overlooks the Sandwick Lake. Several large pines had fallen into the lake camouflaging the site's boat entry. It was a spartan site, to say the least, equipped only with a fire ring and grill adjacent to a grassy spot to set up my tent. It would be my base-camp for that next couple of days while staying at the lake. My home away from home.

“To wake up on a gloriously bright morning," wrote American geologist and explorer Josiah Edward Spurr, while leading an expedition mapping the interior of Alaska, "In a tent pitched beneath spruce trees, and to look out lazily and sleepily for a moment from the open side of the tent, across the dead camp-fire of the night before, to the river, where the light of morning rests and perhaps some early-rising native is gliding in his birch canoe; to go to the river and freshen one's self with the cold water, and yell exultingly to the gulls and hell-divers, in the very joy of living."

"You alone?" questioned came from a group canoeists floating by my campsite on the next year's solo trip on the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin.

"Always," I said. Which wasn't really true. I would take my kids along on lots of camping trips all the time. I loved sharing my adventures with my family, but my solo trips were special. They were my chance to get-away, to feel the joy of a vision quest and to be a modern-day Daniel Boone.

By day I would paddle around the lakes or rivers, exploring hidden coves and bays. I'd follow streams until my path was blocked by a beaver dam or stop just before the rush of some rapids and contemplate paddling on to the sea.

While at night, with the kayak beached, the tent set and campfire burning, I would enjoy some freeze dried stew with a bottle wine and watch the world come to a standstill, as the sun would either burned up in the black silhouetted pines or dissolved in a fiery glow into the lake. There I would melt into the warmth of my campfire under the stars, listening to the haunting reverberation of the loons. My thoughts of past and worries of the future would fade into the peace of the present.

"One day I undertook a tour through the country," said Boone, "And the diversity and beauties of nature I met with in this charming season, expelled every gloomy and vexatious thought."

Because being alone wilderness you can find the silence and solitude that can fill your heart and soul.

Friday, June 2, 2017


Ah summer-time. Nothing better than after five years of extreme drought than enjoying the warm temperatures and refreshing coolness of area California rivers. However this year, one might find it to painful to even dip in their toes. The record breaking Sierra snows are melting and creating very chilly fast-moving water for rafters, kayakers, and as well beachgoers.

“It’s freezing,” Renee Perfecto told the Sacramento Bee at the Watt Avenue access area along the American River Parkway, as she watched her three children play in shallow water away from the current. “If you get in knee-deep, the water’s ice cold, but the kids don’t seem to mind.”

Upstream on the South Fork of the American River the fresh runoff is translating into big rapids and excitement and area boaters are reaping the benefits.
“It was awesome, a little cold, it’s fast.”” kayaker Eric Winkler told CBS13-TV.

Caution signs have been posted along the river in Caloma, Ca., reading “Cold, Fast Water.” River watchers there, say the river is flowing five times higher than it did the past four years.

“People aren’t used to this big water like we’ve had in the past. Five years of a drought really impacts people’s ability to look at a river. They just don’t remember,” That's what Tulare County Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Kemmerling told the Los Angeles Times about the Kern River, “This year, they think it’s the same river, but it’s five times as big.

California's Kern River had one of its deadliest Memorial Day weekends in 24 years after three people died on the river. Kemmerling said, that search and rescue teams also rescued more than 26 other people from sandbars, trees and other precarious perches in the swiftly moving water over the holiday weekend.

“They get lulled into a false sense of security,” Kemmerling said in the same interview, “What they think is a tranquil river that they’re used to — the currents are running 12 mph. And you can’t swim out of it once you get into it.”

Four people have drowned so far this year in Sacramento waterways according to authorities. The most recent was a 19-year-old man whom drowned after he jumped into the frigid North Fork of the American River and was quickly swept away.

An average of six people drown every summer in Sacramento area waterways, with the accidents concentrated in areas such as Tiscornia Beach at Discovery Park. In 2015, 13 people drowned in the American and Sacramento rivers. Last year, no drownings were reported on them between Memorial and Labor Days. This year bracing for the worst, county and city officials have decided to keep Discovery Park located at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers one of area's popular beaches closed due to dangerous conditions.

“It’s incredibly high,” Jim Remick, a diver instructor for DART (Drowning Accident Rescue Team) told The Sacramento Bee  along the American River Parkway, “The water is quite cold and dangerous. It’s an unprecedented thing for the county and city to close the beaches (on Memorial Day weekend), but the way the river is now, (the beaches) may stay closed until the Fourth of July.”

Tiscornia Beach, also remains closed because of winter storm and flooding damage. The park itself opened on a limited basis to allow people to launch boats.