On May 4th, Alex Kilyk, Dan Rubado, Dan Dellwo, Abe Herrara, and I loaded up in two rigs and headed south for a few days in the sun.
Cali Crew 2012 - Middle Feather Put-In
After it was all said and done, we had knocked off two of the greatest rivers I've ever had the pleasure of paddling and completed two easier northern california classics.
Day 1: Travel
We left Portland after work around 6:30. We ended up crashing out along the shores of Lake Shasta around 2 AM.
Day 2: Rendezvous
After meeting up with Abe and Dan in Oroville and eating some breakfast at the delicious and nutritious Oroville Denny's, we headed up into the mountains towards to the town of Downiville and the NF Yuba.
The NF Yuba is 8 miles of class fun. We didn't get out of our boats and it still felt like a long day.
The Author riding the Wildplum
After finishing up the 8 mile Wildplum section of the NF Yuba, we decided to rally up the Downie River to run Pauley Creek.
Pauley creek is similar to Canyon Creek, WA @ 500cfs in many ways. Lots of one stoke moves over steep pool drop ledges.
Slip n Slide
Our tour guide for Pauley Creek
Gear Explosion in Downiville
We rallied to the town of Quincy and picked up some groceries and were in bed at put-in by mid night.
Days 3 & 4: Middle Feather
Unfortunately, we awoke the next morning to temps in the mid-twenties and frozen gear. After thawing our gear by the fire, we were packed up and ready for our adventure.
Dan and his icy dry suit
2100cfs covers much of the mank on Day 1
Abe loves Franklin Canyon
The hits just keep on coming
Reaching the end of Franklin Canyon
Warm and Cozy
Enter Devil's Canyon
Good talk boys.
Alex has it under control.
Rubado in Landslide - This rapid is nasty and unportable. We heard later, folks run it on the left.
Alex feeling the heat - One of my personal favorites
Dancing with the Devil
Salami, crackers, and cheese.
Dellwo with some sympathy for the Devil.
The Devils mandatory portage.
Fat lady's singing over the middle feather
About a mile from the takeout on day 2, we were overtaken by another group of paddlers. Two of the group turned out to be old friends of Runados. Amanda and Macy? After sharing some laughs at Milsap Bar, they informed us that the South Branch of the Middle Feather, was indeed running and a prime level! The next stop on our Sierra Tour!
Shuttle Shawn showed up 30 minutes early and quickly loaded up into his giant pickup truck. He kept us entertained the entire drive with his stories about growing up in Quincy and the trouble him and Matt got into back in the day. Back at the Put-In, we again beded down for another night in the cold.
Shuttle Shawn! Thanks again man.
Day 5: South Branch Feather
We all woke up early and hit the road headed for the South Branch. We'd heard word of a sneak route through the mountains via the Quincy-Laporte Rd. Sadly, we hit snow just passed Little Grass Valley Resevior and were forced to take the 'long way' to the put-in. After running shuttle, gearing up, and eating a little lunch, we weren't able to launch on the South Branch until 2 oclock.
After a quick discussion, we threw some food, headlamps, and lighters into a dry bag and headed down stream.
Mank on the First Third
Looking down into the mandatory gorge!
Alex amongst it!
Dellwo finishing up the mandatory gorge.
Okay guys... Don't over boof. My bad.
Double Dippin on the South Branch
I'm sure all these drops have names.....
Out on the porch
Planning my route to China.
Dellwo headed for the southern hemisphere.
Sunset over the sierras
Wait. It didn't look this big in the pictures.
East-bound and down.
"I didn't know this thing was must run."
A fond farewell.
The photos don't do this run due justice.
We finished the portage around 199 problems and all remarked how 'un-runnable' the falls looked. Little did we know, that a few days prior, Chris Korbulic had actually fired er off.
The sun was setting over the Sierras as we came to the last drop on the South Branch. The much anticipated 55 foot waterfall. With day light running thin and the line being evident, I was ready to get it out of the way. After Abe and I fired it off, the race was on. Everyone had great lines... with one broken paddle.
With that, we began snooping around the banks for the 'obvious' boater trail the leads up the canyon walls to the parking spot far above. This trail was not as easy to find as had been indicated, but Abe followed the plastic to the head.
An hour later we all at the car in the dark after tackling what was one of the worst hike-outs I've ever done. Dan R compared it to a double dose of the Hoffstadt hike out... with more poison oak...
Day 6: The Road Home
The next morning, we got leisurely and ate breakfast creek side. After getting organized, Dan R. Alex, and I bid farwell to Abe and Dan D. and headed North.
After a quick stop at In 'n Out for a much deserved burger, the guys dropped me and the Redding Airport so I could catch a flight to LA to complete a short job for work.
I have to admit, it felt rather surreal to dawn the business clothes and enter one of the biggest cities in the country after such a wild 5 days in the Sierras. I'll be back next year... without a doubt.
Many of the photos in this report were taken by Abe Herrera. Abe grew up in Ecudor and runs private kayaking trips through his company Boof Sessions. Check it out at: