California had an epic snow pack this year that has lead to a few often dry runs having boatable water levels. One such river was the Rubicon. The Rubicon River flows into the Middle Fork of the American River above the commonly kayaked and rafted Tunnel Chute run on the Middle American. The Rubicon has always had a reputation for being a really great class IV-V overnighter run, but unfortunately hasn’t had enough water to be kayaked in six years. According to kayakers who have been boating longer than me, the dam above the Rubicon has a huge diversion capability and therefore has water only about once every five years when the dam spills. And even then catching this river with decent water has a very short window. This year, however, the Rubicon had boatable water levels for over a month. When my boyfriend, Daniel, suggested that the water level looked good and we should try to put a group together, I was very excited to finally try this run.
I put on the river with a group of friends including Daniel Brasuell, Darin McQuoid, Gareth Tate, and Jonas Grunewald, and we set out for a two-day trip down the lower Rubicon. The run was exciting from beginning to end with big boulder gardens and not much down time between rapids. Jonas had just gotten off the Rubicon a few days earlier and the rest of us had never been down before. With Jonas leading the way, we bombed into some large rapids with huge holes.
This is a very high quality run that has amazing scenery, fun, consistent whitewater, and great camping spots. I would highly recommend running this river if it happens to have water when you are in California. Hopefully it won’t be another five years until it runs again! For a video of the run or a detailed run description, check out Daniel’s website: http://www.awetstate.com/Video%5Ckayak47.html (video) http://www.awetstate.com/RubiconL.html (write-up)