a while ago I had read a description
of this run on dreamflows
promptly forgot about it. I met up
with Ben Stookesberry in Chico
ready to boat whatever was flowing, because once out of familiar
territory I instantly become clueless on water-flows and runs.
morning we headed
out still not sure of what to run. Eventually
we settled on the “Yuba
run that flows out of
Lake Spaulding. Phone calls were made adding Lizzie and Gabe Forsythe
to the roster for the day. Arriving at the put-in for Yuba Gap and
observing 50cfs flowing through the river bed we quickly changed plans
to check flows for the “Spaulding Run” aka
“East Meets West” run on the South Fork Yuba. Retrospectively I'm
really glad there
wasn't water, I would have been way over my head on Yuba Gap.
Ben and Lizzie agreed that flows were in the low to medium range as
they had both done the run at separate times with much higher flows.
Everyone was slow to put on dry tops in the June heat, but we
got on the river and started moving downstream through the slow moving
water. The first drop, “Three Blind Mice” came up
quickly with myself wondering where the mank was to warm up on. This is
the large slide that you can see from I-80 when headed to Reno. Lizzie
fired it up first after a quick scout and had a great line down the
right hand side.
English “Three Blind
Ben and Gabe came into Three Blind Mice in true kayak
Angel” style, but split up at the top with Ben taking a
sliding left line and Gabe headed through the right.
Stookesberry sneaking “Three
I wasn’t feeling too hot without a warm
up and took
line through the top. This was followed by another fun drop downstream
that isn’t named to the best of my knowledge. We ran it with
some fun lines, Lizzie flipping early on in the drop and motivating a
different entrance line, and myself going through the bottom backwards.
section of the run
reminded me of Fordyce a lot, with very open
scenery. Except the freeway of course, which is impossible not to
notice as cars fly by on I-80 while you scout drops.
obvious while scouting the next large rapid,
Most of the group wasn’t feeling Goonie, because
flows the funky fold at the bottom left was unavoidable. I was fired up
to be back on the water and ran it, will have video at some point. We
portaged the next rapid after Goonie on the left, as it
didn’t have enough water to avoid a hideous waterfall into
crack combo. Several fun but not exceptionally notable drops followed,
and then we were out to scout “East Meets West”.
West has a long lead into a 20’ waterfall that has
a boof which isn’t available at low flows, and looked to have
rather shallow landing at low flows. Stephen Wright checked it out at
fish flows and said it still goes, despite how it looks at low but
Stookesberry and Gabe
standing above East Meets West.
We made a quick portage down the left side and
launched in. As a
bonus this run has a fun seal launch at the bottom of most portages.
Next up was a fun drop that required a strong boof while driving left
get over a hole and then down a fun ramp. The hole feeds into the right
side which is a sieved out mess. Gabe had a small moment where he
tripped up at the top of the ramp and took the whole ramp upside down,
but rolled up at the bottom like a champ. Sorry for the glare in the
picture, I was too lazy to hike up and get a better angle.
We read and ran the lead in to the next portage
and ran a
bit of a
tricky hole right above the portage. After a quick scout Ben and I both
thought it looked possible, but neither of us wanted to try it and we
all portaged down the left.
like scenery followed and I-80 was far away, this part of the
run was beautiful and had many sections where you were basically
floating through big meadows. Some time through this section we came
upon the next scout “Funnel” a 25’ crack
drop that we all assumed would be a portage. I thought it went after a
quick scout, and went back up to my boat. Lizzie and I both thought you
could just “float in” and then move left to ride a
big pillow to the bottom. The lead was surprising and had some funky
water coming off the wall that wanted to flip me, but thanks to myself
being 145lbs and my boat having 75 gallons I was still able to climb
onto the pillow with relative ease and ride it to the bottom. Back up
on the rocks much debate followed while I got my camera ready, and
eventually Lizzie and Ben decided to give it.
entrance but slides off the pillow.
She goes deep for a brief moment and emerges in a gigantic stern squirt.
Ben disappeared for so long I stopped taking pictures and
had a brief
moment of concern about just how deep the bottom was, until he
resurfaced and rolled up quickly. I'm sure at some flows this rapid
gets pretty ugly, but it was surprisingly mellow at lower flows.
A bit of read and run followed for a good ways, then a quick scout for
a sliding rapid that was near the lake. None of us really liked the
slide as it looked a little painful for the rear end, and we all
portaged down the right. The last rapid before the lake also deserved a
quick scout, and proved to be a fun drop through two munchy holes and
basically landed in the lake. I thought this run was worthwhile and
isn’t quite a classic but is very fun. Dreamflows and Best
Whitewater of California have shuttle directions and flow information.
Use the South
Yuba near Cisco gauge.