The North Fork of the Stanislaus River might be one of the prettiest, best Class IV+ runs in California, which is saying quite a bit. Incredible scenery, awesome rapids, and a fairly continous nature put this one high in my “best of” list. I had the good fortune of running it at a fun flow level Saturday, with a fun crew of boaters. We converged on Angels Camp, arranged the shuttle and headed to the put in. The shuttle is long, but soon enough we’re on the water.

With little warmup, we hit the first challenging rapid, a narrow canyon with some biggish waves and hydrolics to through you off your line. I roll here, and the cold water washes away any sluggishness I need to get out. The river canyon is gorgeous, with impressive pine forests coating each side. Granite boulders form our obstacles, and the pace is quick, with even the simpler rapids requiring thought. My memory isn’t good enough to describe the rapids in detail, but there are plenty of them, and several are memorable. Super, super fun.

We paddle for several hours, it’s a fairly long run and with the long shuttle we didn’t get an early start.. Some scouting,a lunch stop and a pinned boat (without it’s paddler) and it seems like dusk sneaks up on us. We make it out to the cars with a bit of light to spare. What a great day!

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