I ran this at the beginning of 2020 twice. The memory's already faded a bit, so some details may be wrong. The first run had ~2k CFS and was spicy! It started off with continuous brushy (class III-ish) warmup for a mile or so. Bloody Rock marks the beginning of the action. Look for a huge rock forcing the river to make a sharp left turn. We were able to eddy out in the elbow of the bend and portage from there, but if the eddy wasn't there we may have had a bad time. The next few miles had large rapids that flowed quickly into each other. We got out and scouted a couple times through this. After one of the bigger drops around a large rock on river left, comes a long and steep rapid. We all portaged the top half and 2 ran the bottom half. A couple more nice IVs later I found myself upside down, hungry for air. Good thing I got out when I did. The next drop looked like a nasty swim (2 others in the group and my boat ran it without incident). As my boat continued happily downstream (to be found a couple miles later and stashed on shore). That was the end of my first run. Fortunately for me, another in our group lost his boat at almost the same time, so we hiked out together.
The second run followed a week later and started out with a hike back in, taking ~1 hr from 39.464059, -122.891347 to 39.459418, -122.861665. The flow was down to ~500cfs. Walking on the shore, we quickly found the first boat. My boat had a more gumption and required walking/swimming another 2 miles. At the low flow walking and swimming were both quite easy, and I arrived to find my boat intact and none the worse for wear (save a couple of dents and a missing float bag). The rest of the run was relaxing low flow class 3. By the time we reached the lake the sun was starting to set. Expect an hour of paddling on the lake.
2k: hold onto your boat
500: bring a beer, but watch out for portages
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Earlier today the designation of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument was announced. The new 330,780 acre National Monument is in Northern California and contains two whitewater sections of Cache Creek and two sections of the Eel River that offer some great paddling relatively close to San Francisco. The area also offers outstanding hiking and other recreational opportunities. This designation should ensure that the paddling opportunities and the landscape that supports them remain special for generations to come.
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