This time of year can be a little tough for boaters. All the spring and summer run off is mostly gone, and the winter storms haven’t shown up yet. Rivers are low and we start looking hard. I’d not heard much about Clear Creek, near Mt. Shasta in Northern California, just that it was fun and worked well even at low flows. The gauge was only 200 CFS, but school has been busy and I needed to get on the river. I sent out the “so, anyone paddling sat?” email and got a few responses.

Friday night was fun, but late. Went to Sacramento and checked out a really funny 80’s cover band. I didn’t get to bed until late, and 6 am felt REALLY early today. I peeled myself out of bed, loaded the gear, and drove to Woodland. Met up with Michael, loaded his car with my gear,and we were on the way. Long drive, but good company and the stories flowed so time went quickly.

By lunchtime, we were on the river. The scenery was bit different than most Sierra paddling, more deciduous trees, a fair bit of color. Even though the flow was low, we had a great time. Lots of narrow little slots. Many Class III+ rapids, a couple of Class IV rapids and one Class V-. I ran that one without scouting, and had some excitement. Earlier, Phil had a bit of beatdown, got stuck in a hole in a narrow slot. Each time he’d roll, his boat would get sucked back in, or he’d be pushed against rocks. After a huge, valiant fight, he pulled the skirt, but were able to get him to shore quickly. Very fun river. It’s a bit of drive, but the paddling and scenery are both good. Probably not something I’ll do often due to the drive, but well worth doing, and I’m a bit envious of the Redding-area paddlers who have this gem in their backyard!

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