Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On the Water

During our stay at our summer home in California (it's really my dad's house) we were blessed to have been given  the gift of a day on the American River.

The American River Canyon is in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas in Nor-Cal.  There are three forks of this river the South, the Middle, and the North.  They all begin high in the mountains west of Lake Tahoe.  They converge east of Sacramento and then flow into Folsom Lake.

Now this river and it's canyon are something pretty special. During the gold rush of the 1800's these canyons housed two mining communities with populations around 10,000 that disappeared when the gold disappeared.  The largest gold cache found in the foothills of California was along the Middle fork of the American.

 These days, the river and the canyon are a pristine area for recreation and wildlife.  Auburn,  my home town, is a gold rush town from the 1800's.   It is also known as the endurance running capital of the world.   It is the finish line for the Western State Run, a 100mi. grueling endurance run that begins at Squaw Valley and ends in Auburn.  The Tevis Cup is a horse race along the same route and was the inspiration for the endurance run.  Both races bring individuals from across the globe to challenge themselves in the canyon.

Marcus and I were thinking about entering the Western States Run this year, but we didn't want any of the other runners to look foolish when we won by like a whole huge bunch...sooo we did the honorable thing and skipped it.  We are big into humanitarian moves like that.

Instead, we got to experience this wonderful stretch of the Middle folk of the American with our amazing guide Eric Peach who heads up PARC (Protect the American River Canyon).
This is Eric...he is awesome.  And rad.  Remember that word, short for...radical?  80's children?  Any of you?

 The canyon was in danger of being damned and lost forever, but with the hard work of PARC, assisted by hundreds of dedicated volunteers including my dad, the issue was finally put to rest.  The damn would have sat on a fault line, so I think that has a little to do with it as well.

Having helped saved this wonderful jewel of Nor-Cal history and vital ecosystem, Eric spends much time hiking, biking, kayaking and rafting the river and canyon...And sharing it with his friends.

I told them I had just seen Bigfoot.

My brother saw it too.

Kai didn't care.

He was hot.

Then...Marcus finally saw it too!

Now the best part about going down the river with someone who knows it so well is that he knows all the cool spots...and the dangerous ones.  We did see some rapids...there was some white water, my personal favorite.   

But the one draw back about having Eric for a guide, was that he told me when to put my camera away.  He didn't want me to loose it or get it splashed by water.  I guess the ziplock bag I put it in wasn't good enough...he made me put it in a special water tight bag.   Oh...and apparently I was suppose to be paddling or something.  I wanted so much to get some pictures going down the rapids...but NOOOO...I had to paddle.  The nerve of some people! I don't like when people block my creative process man!  Safety and expensive camera equipment be damned!

Eventually I forgave I said, I am big into humanitarian moves.

One of the cool spots Eric took us was this one, where we stopped for lunch.

Then there was this spot...The Jumping Rock.  Notice there are no pictures of me...I don't jump off rocks, they scare me.




God I hope he doesn't land like that...

Oh good! (Marcus)

And this is my brother, Ian...Mountian Lion, it's long story.

Our day was long and glorious.  Once out of the river...some of us had to shuttle up to get the cars.  
The kids and I did this instead.

And we all lived happily ever after.

The End.

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