Saturday, January 14

Trip Report: American (Arroyo Seco ) - 1/14/06

Run: Arroyo
Difficulty: IV
Flow: 400cfs

The description of the run describes the fact that no shuttle is required as a really positive aspect, but the 3 mile hike up and down a dirt road carrying your kayak is BRUTAL! Pleasant my ass...but the run is worth the hike. I should seriously consider a little cart or wheelie thingummybob if I do this again. They also have some decent pictures on their site including a comparison of high vs. low flows.

This was my first real "creek run". The gorge section is very narrow and very cool from a scenic perspective. The river water was remarkably clean given the heavy rains that had been occurring that day and the night before.

The first drop is deceptive, looks like an easy move but the currents are strong and hole kinda sticky. I got popped against the wall on the left and had scraped along on my arm for a few feet before getting away - fun. Note to self - buy elbow pads.

The run continues with lots of nice drops, but given the constricted nature of a narrow creek type run, getting pinned is definitely possible and a swim would be potentially painful. There's a really fun drop described on cacreeks before you reach Mucho Cojones - we portaged this. I guess 400cfs is considered a fairly high flow and this run looked plain ugly, in fact, maybe they should rename it that.

There's an undercut in the pool after the drop on river right and some nasty rocks on the left very close to the possible boof line river left. If you missed a clean boof line or got flipped, you'd likely be sucked into the reversal and get too close for comfort to the undercut. So we "oooh'ed", "aaaah'ed" and then walked.

There's this "boulder choked" garden towards the end of the run that is barely class III, it claimed two for three in the swimming competition. Unless you want to get pinned or do a geology exam close up and personal of the bottom of the river, or just thoroughly embarrassed, you might just want to walk around this - if your pride will let you!

This is a fun run and good experience, but the drive all the way down to Soledad is a good three hours, and the 3 mile walk to the put-in makes it a little less attractive. I'll do it again, but probably not soon.


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