Kayaking the Chocolate Russian River

Tuesday February 11, 2014 Jenner CA.

Chocolate water as in mud

As I read my email this morning at 10:45AM, there was one in there from Ray, saying him and his brother John where going down the river from Guerneville to Jenner and would meet at 9:30AM, if I wanted to join them. I guess I was already a little late for that, so I headed on down to Jenner to kayak for the day.

Because of all the rain we just had, the river was up and muddy and running a bit faster than it usually does. Because the estuary is wide in this part of the river, the water level doesn’t come up too high, but the current does increase quite a bit, but not so much that I can’t paddle up the river without too much trouble, so I decided to paddle up the river a few miles or so today and meet John and Ray coming down the river. I figured I’d likely intercept them right around the Great Blue Heron rookery. If we didn’t meet there, I would just wait under a tree for them to come drifting down the river.

The wind was down as I entered the water. There was some fog with clouds too.

This is my view looking down river towards the river’s mouth as I crossed over the river to Penny Island.river


The water was high enough for me to paddle into the little channel on the east end of the island, but when I got there, these big logs had floated into it during when the water was higher and I couldn’t get in there. The big log looked like it was stuck on a tree branch and wasn’t going anywhere soon. It’d take some more real high water before it moves on out. For now, I’m stuck with it in one of  my resting places.log


If I was going to meet those guys up the river I had to keep going, which I did until I got up to the Willow creek area. I was getting warm so I pulled ashore at the Willow creek entrance and removed one of my sweaters and put my boat back  in the water and continued on up the river. Just about that time, the wind started to increase just a little and I wished I had my sweater back on. the fog was moving up the river just behind me.

This is the spot I pulled ashore at the Willow creek entrance.willowcreek


I continued up the river going a bit slower now and enjoying the day. I was staying just ahead of the fog as it was slowly moving on up the river. The hills along the river are all starting to green up nicely because of the recent rain.

I’m headed up river in this picture and still have about a mile to go to get up to the Heron rookery tree.ranchview


I passed this old ranch with the nice big cypress trees that always looks real scenic.ranch


I was almost to the rookery tree when I spotted Ray and John coming down the river, so stopped at this point to wait for them and this is where I turned around and started back down the river, three miles or so above Jenner. They are in this picture, but very hard to see.turnarond


Shortly after I caught up with those guys they wanted to go ashore for a break which we did here.johnray


Turns out Ray wrote the email yesterday, but forgot to send it until late last night, something about older age?

Here I am following these guys as we drift on down the river, just above Markum hole.riverview


As we approached Seal Heaven, John says, there’s no seals here today. I says, look again John. Harbor seals have a way to blend into the redwood logs that they are laying on and can be real hard to see.

There were two harbor seals laying on a redwood log, which watched us as we went on by.seals


We paddled on under the bridge at Highway one and continued on down past Eagle’s landing. John saw an area where debrie piles up and went over to see what he could find. He’s a fisherman, so is always looking for fishing tackle that has drifted down the river. He didn’t find anything of value in that pile.

John having a look in the pile of stuff.john


We headed on down to the river’s mouth area to have a look to see what we could see.

John, heading for the river’s mouth area.moutharea


With the water flowing like it was, the current is fairly strong near the mouth, especially at low tide, which it just was, so we had to be a little careful we didn’t get sweep out to sea.

We were cautious and stayed back away from the mouth a bit and watched for awhile. The ocean was fairly rough. Seals and seagulls were on the sand near the mouth, as we watched.

The open river’s mouth looking out into the Pacific Ocean.rivermouth

It was about four PM by now and we were all tired out. Me from paddling up the river and back and them from coming down the river for quite a ways, so we headed in for the day.

One thing is for sure. The river is different every day and one never knows just what to expect and that is part of what makes it an interesting place to kayak.

Another nice day on the river, chocolate and all. :O)

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