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rafting/water stuff

Norwich, United...
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85 posts
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rafting/water stuff

Hi

I'm looking for advice on opportunities to do some (quite tame) white water rafting, we have two teens so some risk & excitement without being death defying would be good. I appreciate that water levels & crowds mean that Yosemite in August may not be the best place so.......

any suggestions? We also like canoeing. We are 6 days in San Francisco then on to Yosemite, then June Lake, then Death Valley (not expecting any opportunities there!) then Las Vegas.

Many thanks

Ripley

Placerville, CA
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398 posts
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1. Re: rafting/water stuff

Hi Ripley!

On your "way" from San Francisco to Yosemite, you could take a 1/2 day or full day trip (even camp overnight in rented tents!) on the South Fork American River. If you look on a map, look between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, and you'll see a small town, Placerville. Look a little northwest of that, and you'll see an even smaller community - well, really 2 - Coloma, and Lotus.

I am a local and raft a lot every summer. My 14 year old daughter has been on that river since she was 9, and she is a petite girl, completely able to handle it.

We go with American Whitewater Expeditions (A.W.E.) in Coloma. They have great river guides, great bus drivers, GREAT FOOD, and safety is their focus. I have NEVER felt unsafe with them. See them here:

americanwhitewater.com/south-fork-american-r…

It is very exciting while still very safe. I highly recommend them. What time of year do you plan to go?

Norwich, United...
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85 posts
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2. Re: rafting/water stuff

Hi justducky2!

That looks great. I think we'd have time only for the 1/2 dayer but that'd be cool. We leave San Fran on Fri 28th Aug so I guess we'd be looking at the afternoon of that day, we have accom booked at June Lake for the 29th Aug but I haven't firmed up anything for the night of the 28th yet. We want to see the giant trees in the south of Yosemite so I was thinking Oakhurst for the 29th (cheaper & less busy than in the park), now I need to factor in your suggestion!! I guess we could raft Fri 28th pm then drive to Oakhurst to stay that night - is that doable or crazy?

Cheers

Ripley

Placerville, CA
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398 posts
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3. Re: rafting/water stuff

Here's the thing....the water coming down the South Fork American River is dam-controlled (which provides reliable water) and it is released at a certain time every day....which means no afternoon trips. You'd have to be in Coloma around 8:30, I think (check their website for 1/2 day trips). Is there any way to leave San Francisco the evening before? Then you could camp at the rafting camp (good fun) and get their great breakfast in the morning before rafting.

You can definitely get to Oakhurst after a 1/2 day trip, no problem, and drive in the foothills south on Highway 49, which is the old historic route, and it goes right through Coloma.

If you can change your plans to do this, it really could be the highlight of the trip for your teens. And even though it's pretty touristy, I admit that every summer we buy the professional photos they snap of us coming down Troublemaker rapid. A very cool momento.

End of August is perfect. It will be hot, so the river trip will be very refreshing. You're still in the summer fruit season, and there are some great fruit stands and orchards in the area that I'd highly recommend, too. Somewhere along Highway 49, stop at a place and pan for gold, your teens will love that too. There are tourist places that do this, in fact, there is one in Coloma, but also in some of the other gold towns, and you're guaranteed to get a vial of gold (and garnets, in Coloma).

If this won't work, let us know, there are other places to canoe and such.

Sacramento...
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4. Re: rafting/water stuff

I would ditto everything justducky said. The only difference is that I would recommend ARTA, FOR (Friends of the River) or ETC as rafting companies. All are nonprofit and support our local rivers.

ETC is primarily a company designed to take disabled/disadvantaged folks down the river (they also do sea kayaking at Angel Island and cross country skiing near Arnold).

They are great companies for great causes.

www.friendsoftheriver.org/site/PageServer…

http://www.etctrips.org/

http://arta.org/

I will tell you that I am biased towards the aforementioned companies, as I trained with ARTA and then spent 5 years volunteering for ETC. Wonderful companies.

There are other rivers in CA and just look at the rivers the various companies run. A class III would be perfect for you and your teens.

You might like canoeing down the Russian River near Guerneville. A lot of Bay area residents rent canoes from Burke's for an easy day trip.

http://www.burkescanoetrips.com/

Have fun...CA rivers are wonderful in the summer!

Norwich, United...
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5. Re: rafting/water stuff

Hi justducky2

Well....... we aren't able to leave San Francisco any earlier than Aug 28th as we are booked in & paid a deposit but what we could do is drive up to Coloma/Lotus on that day (a Friday), camp that night (the 28th) & then do the trip on Saturday 29th in the morning? That would work. Assuming we can rent everything we need as we won't have any camping gear whatsoever! Any idea of the cost if that's possible? We'd prob sacrifice the giant sequoias at Yosemite but trees vs white water rafting, hmmmmm, no contest!!

best wishes

Ripley

6. Re: rafting/water stuff

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