Our New Favorite River

Wow, the Cal Salmon is great! When we arrived on Thursday night, there was NO ONE there at Nordheimer Campground. We ventured up the road a bit to Otter Bar, home of a world famous kayak school. Peter, the owner, showed us around his place and it was great. What a nice spot he has and the whole place is pretty much powered by a micro-hydro unit that feeds a bank of batteries. How eco is that! 

Lodge at Otter Bar Kayak School

Lodge at Otter Bar Kayak School

Battery Pack at Otter Bar Lodge

Battery Pack at Otter Bar Lodge

Peter suggested some of the local runs above the Forks of the Salmon and provided info on the runs below. Our camp up the South Salmon at Hotelling that night was recommended by the locals. Deserted except for a local worker that camped there every night.  

Camp at Hotelling

Our "Hotel" at Hotelling

We ended up running the Methodist Creek run on the South Salmon the next day. This was a very nice Class II+ to III section with the best rapids just above the confluence with the North Salmon. Not much action for the newest boat in the fleet, a Sotar mini-Legend. If you want one of these great boats, contact me and I’ll give you a great price! We took a break and went for a hike up Wooley Creek the next day. It had plenty of water to run and some pretty good drops in the couple of miles we hiked along.  

Sotar mini-Legend

Neil resting on the new Sotar mini-Legend

The next day we got the scoop on the Butler Creek run. This Class IV run is less difficult than the Nordheimer run just upstream. The outfitter we talked with (Momentum) was very friendly and helpful (?) telling us how they run the first drop at Double Drop. The driver even picked me up as I was doing a bike shuttle. Thanks Rinaldo! I ran Double Drop exactly as described. That was one steep drop over there, but better than in the center. Lacey followed with a less-than-perfect run. Well, the video shows just what happened… She redeemed herself with a great run through Marble (aka Gaping Maw).  

The next day, we were welcome to tag along on a Nordheimer run with Momentum, but opted out as Freight Train looked just a little too munchy for our taste. The guides did admit that it was at its juiciest level. Maybe next time at a lower level. We decided to wait at Butler Creek for the commercial group to come down and then tag along behind so that there would be adequate safety at Double Drop. We waited forever (it seemed) before they came around the corner and then they took off downstream. Those stern frames with paddlers can really motor! They wouldn’t have been much for safety at Double Drop anyway, but they did show us a line exactly the opposite of how it was described the day before, down the right this time. It was no bid deal, there is a nice seam over there that I had spotted from the road scout the day before. Now why didn’t I just go that way before? 

All in all, the Cal Salmon is a fabulous river and we’ll definitely be back!

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