Rafting the American River

One of the greater blessings for Troop 115 is our location and proximity to the American River, the second most-rafted stretch of waters in the United States.  For this year’s trip, we chose to join American Whitewater Expeditions on their South Fork, Lower Gorge Express trip, a good beginner run for brand new scouts.  The scouts put in at Coloma near the Marshall Gold Discovery site, after an entertaining safety briefing by the lead guide (if you fall in, we’re going to save you, but we’ll be laughing at you the whole time!).

Launching in Coloma
Launching in Coloma

The scouts settled in to their positions, paddle strokes, and commands with several miles of class II water that was a mix of “wave train” rapids and swimming holes.  Each of the scouts jumped over to cool off, but there were no takers to run “Swimmer’s Rapids” while in the water. Everyone was eager to enter the gorge, and the class III+ excitement of “Satan’s Cesspool” with it’s wicked sounding name.  When the time came and we entered the throat of the cesspool, the rafts came through with no drama, so we high-fived rafting style…paddle blades clicking together overhead!

Having passed through Satan’s and “Son of Satan’s” rapids without problem, as well as several subsequent class III rapids (“Scissors”, “Bouncing Rock”) we perhaps relaxed too much, giving less thought to “Hospital Bar”.  We dropped into the hole and came out on the wave sidewise, with the low side dipping into an eddy that sucked ASM Dave and wife Cheryl into the river faster than you could say “trustworthy”!  Not to worry however, as they scrambled back in quickly before entering the “Recovery Room”…the next class III downstream.

The boats were filled with laughter and storytelling as we were towed into Lake Folsom for takeout, and everyone agreed that we can’t go back soon enough for another run, and to earn the Whitewater Merit Badge.  Thanks American Whitewater Expeditions for a great trip!!


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