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SUPing the Petaluma River

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Blog, Places | 0 comments

Written by Ronnie Ayres The historic town of Petaluma sits on the banks of the same named “river” which is actually a tidal slough as most resident paddlers are quick to point out. Either way sounded good to me as the warm sun had me pushing aside my heavily used neoprene booties, still wet from the 40 degree water of Lake Tahoe, 3 hours up the hill.   The Petaluma River once was a major thoroughfare, supplying the agricultural bounty, poultry and dairy products to booming city of San Francisco during the Gold Rush. Beautifully preserved, the downtown is a quintessential Main Street USA and is on the National Register of Historic Places.   There a few very easy spots to put in along the river, like at the turnaround off D street with public floating docks which once...

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“Quality Hanging Out Time” on Fish Creek

Posted by on Jun 14, 2011 in Blog, Places | 0 comments

The entire time frame of an adventure can be broken into bits and pieces and, in particular, dots that mark significant turning points. There is always a first dot, the starting point, and a final dot, which marks the end of your journey. Each decision you make (another dot) often has a profound effect upon the remaining dots yet to be made. If your adventure involves kayaking or rafting, your journey normally ends as expected, at the final dot, someplace known as a “take-out” or access point along the bank of a river. In a small clearing we rested. “How far above the creek do you think we are?” I asked Garret. The answer was maybe 100 feet or so. Not much, but it was steep and rocky, with a small cliff to start out, and we didn’t have...

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Tuolumne river days and nights, Part III: a night in the Log Jam

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Blog, Places, Team Clavey | 0 comments

Some memorable times on the Tuolumne river–see the previous post to catch up on this story: My early days on the “T”, part II Part 3 A night in the jam The Rusty Sucker was back. But it barely made it through the logjam to hook up our train of rafts. The Sucker got about half way through the log jam before halting. From my perspective near the middle of the raft train, all I could see was Jethro and Ricky Bobby arguing, the iron rod alternating between clearing logs, pounding on the motor and being used in a threatening manner between the two “engineers”. It was getting late, and the dark clouds had made themselves at home right above our heads, with no breaks in the rain. Finally, the Sucker was restarted, but now it was clear it...

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My early days on the “T”, Part II

Posted by on Mar 26, 2010 in Blog, Places, Team Clavey | 0 comments

1983 was a great year to begin working the Tuolumne River. It was a high water year and we ran trips all the way into September. We got to see the river at different levels, learning different routes, and different dangers, thrills and beauty. But the trips all ended the same, with the mighty “T” dumping us unceremoniously into the murky, houseboat infested beast known as Lake Don Pedro. Several miles of rowing lead you to the log jam. The “log jam” is a phenomenon that occurs on reservoirs when dead trees that were drowned in the filling of the reservoir are blown by winds into the various fingers. The Tuolumne dumps into one of these fingers and brings with it various debris as well. And in a high water year, the “T” scours the riverbanks and can carry...

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My early days on the “T” Part I

Posted by on Jan 22, 2010 in Blog, Places, Team Clavey | 0 comments

I fired up the wayback machine this week and came up with a few reminiscences of my river guiding career. Back in 1983, several years before there were self-bailing Avon rafts, the Tuolumne was considered one of the more difficult commercially run rivers in the West. In fact, our company’s name is taken from one of the original “Big Drops” – Clavey Falls. Back then we ran 16’ gear boats piled high bow and stern with duffle bags loaded on plywood decks. There were no drybags. Everybody put their personal gear in nylon duffle bags and then we wrapped everything up with big blue tarps (for maximum water resistance). When you were done rigging, the pile was so high often it required the guide to turn the boat sideways or stand up on the slant board frame just to...

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How to make class V a little hairier

Posted by on Oct 27, 2009 in Blog, Places, Team Clavey | 0 comments

I had an opportunity this summer to work on the Kern – not as a guide though – but as some sort of “manager”, thus ensuring that I would never get on the water. The Kern is broken into three sections: the Lower is below Lake Isabella, the Upper is above, and the Forks is pretty much the “Upper-Upper”. Chris and Chandra pop out of the hole in Big Bean: For day-trippers, the Kern is perfect because there are lots of access points and different runs, with everything from flat water to class V. The Forks is the only trip with difficult access and, for rafts, requires packing in with mules about two miles. It has great whitewater, is in a wilderness area (the Golden Trout), and is often considered one of the crown jewels of wilderness class V....

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