Mike Tavares-A Quick Recap of Rivers and Places – Spring 2008
As 2008 is quickly coming to an end and snow is starting to fly here in the West, I wanted to give a small recap of places and rivers that have made 2008 a great year. Haley and I left Salida in April and headed to California, Idaho and Wyoming for a few months of new whitewater and new places. While the rivers we paddled were not first descents and the places we visited were not out of the ordinary, the quality of whitewater was exceptional and the experience of getting to new places for us was a great feeling. We started out in Kernville, Ca. After driving straight through the night and stopping in Las Vegas for a short while, we arrived in the heat of CA. We met up with some local friends and paddled Brush Creek and a couple of different sections of the Kern River.

Unpacking from a long drive to the Kern River Valley

Scouting Brush Creek from a distance

Classic Kern River boulder gardens

a little bit of vert on Brush Creek

Blue Angles on Brush Creek, CA

With Kern Fest happening that weekend, we stayed and enjoyed the low key atmosphere and drank beers at Kern River Brewery with the best of them. After the Kern Valley started to get back to its slow pace, we headed for US 1 on the coast to hit a few surf spots along the way. On the list were a few top notch beaches without anyone in sight.

Sand Dollar Beach off highway # 1

We started at Jalama beach (which means Wind apparently) and made our way north through the famous coast line and found ourselves at our favorite beach named Sand Dollar Beach. With no one in sight except for seals and kelp, we had an epic surf session until we could barely hike back up the cliffs to the car.

A little surf @ Sand Dollar

After leaving the coast in Monterey, we headed back up to the mountains through Yosemite in the Merced River Valley. To our dismay, the river was running low, but the valley offered much more than just the river.


Next on the list was a short stretch in Reno filled with gambling, cheap hotels, and a play park with not much water. After a few sessions hitting bottom and trying not to break paddles, we left for the great state of Idaho. With both forks of the Payette running over 3,000 cfs, we had our work cut out for us. We spent a few days paddling the Payette and enjoying the hot springs and great camping in the area.

Mike on the Payette

Dodging holes on the Payette

After leaving we decided to head over to Wyoming before heading back to CO for the summer. Jackson Hole offered a bit of play and some local creeky runs that were a little bit on the low side, but still good.

Big Kahuana on the Snake near Jackson Hole.

Looks like i will be walking this one, Big Falls on South Fork of the Payette, ID

Checking out Big Falls on the South Fork of the Payette, ID

The highlight of Wyoming was finding out by some locals that the area we were camping in was just opened for bear and wolf hunting season. After a few nights of hearing gun shots and paddling some decent whitewater we headed back to CO to prepare for an summer of big water. Stay tuned for the next post: Summer 08

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