My friend Albert and I had decided to go boating. Many of the rivers in Ca are off the charts with high water right now, but Albert suggestion the Middle fork of the Yuba. The MF of the Yuba is sadly choked with dams and diversions, so it only runs when the flows are super high, high enough for the water to spill over the dam. The section we ran today rarely has enough water to run, but it looked good to go, in the 1200-1400 CFS range.
Knowing this was our plan, I tried to do some research online, but there is virtually nothing written about this run, apparently since it rarely has flows. Albert had paddled it once before, 20-25 years ago in a fiberglass boat, at higher water, and remembered little except that it was hard and steep. So we headed up, did the shuttle, and put on.
It was exciting to do a run with so little info, gave it a real adventerous feel. we did some scouting, i had a few nervous moments, we were doing read and run style boating on some interesting stuff. Nobody knew the lines, and it was great.
Right after the put in, we hit the first little rapid, and it was pretty much -on- to the end. It was a gorgeous run, down a gorgeous canyon, with amazing views on this awesome run. The gradient is pretty steep, about 75 feet per mile, and we had a great water level. I can’t describe the rapids, but there were tons of big horizon lines, some tough moves, and some solid class IV rapids. Super fun paddling, and pretty continuous. we did one portage, pretty low on the run, but ran everything else.
I’d call it class IV, but you want be solid on class IV read and run, and willing to get out and scout some. Due to the river not normally having much or any water, there are tons and tons of trees along the river. Swimming could be tough and dangerous in spots since finding a strainer free eddy could be hard.
Highly recommended run if you can catch it with water in it. Super nice. Very, very cool run.
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