National Park, where
the city meets wilderness.
The North Fork Drive is a long, windy road with
it was okay for "Scrat" my Toyota Previa. On the way up we stopped at
the bridge to check the gauge, which was just over 1' at the lowest
point of the daily cycle. I ran out of steam on the drive up and we
made camp at a nice side creek, unbeknown to us just five minutes from
Brasuell crossing Yucca Creek.
The Upper North Fork Kaweah requires no shuttle,
amount of hiking, around four miles. Like other sources report,
the hiking is in general quite easy after the first mile of well graded
climbing. The entire hike is on an overgrown road, and for the majority
of it we enjoyed dragging our boats over grass while relishing
abounding bouquets of wildflowers.
the hike we couldn't help but
mention how glad we were to be hiking
this early in the season, as later in the year it's over 100f.
want a very early start later in
the year...like a few months
Typical low-sierra scenery, except the tall kayaker of course, although
they may become a more common sight on the North Fork Kaweah.
Hiking through a sandy part of the trail I notice
boat must be
dragging a rock or something and have him stop. Uh-oh, it isn't
dragging a rock. The three small cracks were close together, and two
decided to merge into one hole. Armed with duct tape and at Burnt Point
Creek, aka four miles in, we decided to push on to the river and give
it our best shot.
Dropping in through the
grassy fields. Put in is very obvious on this
run, since you can see the put in slide from the trail, yet people have
hiked past it...
At the waters edge we were both tired from the hike, an easy four point
seven five mile hike with a 40lb kayak and gear is still a four plus
mile hike with a lot of weight!
only minimal beta on the run, Daniel wasn't too ecstatic about the
condition of his kayak: paper thin under the seat with a significant
the proper tools to take out
his seat, we were reduced to
pogies on the inside and duct tape applied externally...this should
last on a low volume, slide filled run right?
I had my doubts it would last past the put-in slide but held my tongue.
Not wanting to waste time due to the envisioned amount of boat draining
ahead, we geared up and Daniel probed the put-in slide, a nice fast
smooth slide that drops more than it would appear from here.
Rounding the corner below the slide we were
significance of the boulder gardens for what was reported to be a Iv to
IV+ run. The next two boulder gardens might have been considered
optional portages, as they certainly verged on class V (mank). I had
low expectations and assumed this would be the norm with one or two
more bedrock rapids, but was cheerily happy to see that our next scout
led into a bedrock gorge guaranteed to contain several rapids.
boofing a falls at the bottom
of a slide.
bedrock? The author probing
another fun drop.
follows on the same with a lone
pine standing sentential.
smooth is the granite on the North
Fork Kaweah? Amazingly the duct
tape patch was still on Daniel's boat after nearly a mile of kayaking,
and it was still more sliding goodness...
From high on the trail we'd
seen one slide that we knew about, it has
an ugly sieve on the right wall and the main channel slopes steeply
into it. Thankfully there is a side channel that doesn't slope in too
Daniel Brasuell slidin the smoothness.
doing the same...at high flows
there would be a bold and
unnecessarily zesty line from center to left. I think I'll just stay
left from the get go.
pools in this section are just
incredible, it's like a IV+ version
of Dinkey Creek or Upper Cherry. Nice sized drops landing in perfectly
calm pools of water.
Burnt Point Creek enters from river left and we assumed the bedrock
would be done at this point.
large rapid lies below and is worth
scouting; Daniel on the lead-in.
the same rapid, about to punch
the center hole.
crux of the rapid is really the
bottom hole, which looks worse than
it is (but a swim would be sketchy here).
Past the large rapid we were dismayed to see the
gardens, knowing they would take a toll on the patch. Considering the
flow they were fairly well channelized, and after only a few of them we
were gleeful to see a bonus section of bedrock, starting off with a
nice big class II slide.
does it on what seems to be a big
A long pool led away from the slide, and we
confidence in the continued quality, but the long pool finished swiftly
with one of the foremost cataracts of the North Fork Kaweah.
North Fork Kaweah action!
view of the said fun falls.
the fun falls was one of the
more commonly portage rapids of
the run, due to the prominent location of a sieve at the bottom, which
the author avoids.
The river braided, twisted and turned through
in the next two miles. Only a short ways into them the patch was gone,
a second was applied but it quickly fell to the nature of the river in
just a few minutes. The toughness mellowed to IV in nature, and we
would push as far as possible downstream before draining Daniel's boat.
Even with the bailing breaks, it didn't take us
to run the
rapids and round the final ridge line marking the confluence of Yucca
I would certainly kayak the North Fork Kaweah
again. While it may not be the mos bang for the buck for class V
kayakers, it offers something unique in the Sierra Nevada; all the
classic things that the state's whitewater is known for; a hike in,
granite slides and wilderness scenery yet only IV to IV+ in
Fork Kaweah trail head on Google Maps.
estimate for the North Fork Kaweah
We had around 300 and thought it was accurate.