Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Letter From The Left Coast

From Nick Scoville,
SC+K Team Paddler

It is always great when your friends and family come to visit. However, when you live in the Pacific Northwest it is always better if they can boat.

When I asked my brother what he wanted to do while he was in the Northwest his answer was fairly simple. “I want to go kayaking”. I turned that answer into an excuse for a 1000 mile road trip.
With the rivers in late summer recession, we turned our focus on one of the West Coast’s premier sea kayaking venues... Ft. Bragg and the Northern coast of California.
The first place we hit was Van Damme Park which is roughly ten miles south of Ft. Bragg. I was stoked to have a 4-6 ft Northwest swell and virtually no wind. This was gave us plenty of moving water to make things interesting but was also manageable enough to access and explore every bay, cave, and feature.
This cave led to a beach which was walled in on all sides by a 50 foot cliff. It is great to show up somewhere so far away for one day and have the weather work out this perfectly. Below Cory hits his line perfectly on one of the many sweet pour-overs.
If anyone is ever in this area and looking to do some boating I would highly recommend hooking up with Jeff Laxier and Cate Hawthorne of Liquid Fusion Kayaking. They offer great day trips, introductory and advanced rock gardening courses, and, if you are so inclined, BCU skills assessments.
I had high aspirations of finding some great boating on the Lost Coast. However, after burning through a set of brake pads and seven hours of off road driving with no beach access, we abandoned the plan in favor of the paved road. I think the next time I go to the lost coast I’ll take a bike or hike it. I am sure either option, would be faster than driving. As a consolation we had the time to stop the next day at Trinidad bay which while not on the original agenda was certainly worth doing.

As we made our way back across the bay Cory pointed out a crack in a building sized rock on the beach.
From a distance it looked terrible because the surf was breaking into the opening. After a little deliberation he talked me into giving it a closer look. It turned out to be a fairly mellow cave due to a sandy beach on the inside which dissipated the wave energy.
I rounded out the West Coast tour with a couple of days of really low volume creeking. Even though we had to drag our boats down a significant portion of this run, the stunning scenery, crystal clear water made it well worth the effort. A few really great waterfalls and a natural riverside hot spring really push this run over the top.

Nick will be back in Savannah later this year for a little southern style refreshment. No doubt we'll put together a winter surf kayak camp in Florida during his stay.

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