More On the Lower Russian River Dams

Thursday, June, 20, 2013, Guerneville, CA.

The day started out with my dentist

I had an appointment with my new dentist this morning. The plan was to pull off a crown and see what is decaying under it and put a new crown on. She got the old crown off and took out the decay, but something isn’t looking right to her, so I’m likely headed over to her husbands who is a root cannel specialist. This tooth already had a root cannel, but has never been quite right. Anyway, I like my new dentist and the people who work with her.

After that, I went over to Home Depot to get some little things for my van and while driving home decided it would be a good day to kayak from Guerneville to the Vacation Beach dam and back, as they are just supposed to have been installed for the season and it would be a good time to check if I was right that they were holding back the water that normally would fill the estuary when the mouth is closed.

The dams are put in on June 16th and taken out on October 1st.

I went shopping at the local Safeway. I bought five big yellow onions, some mushrooms, some green onions, and some Kosher beef hot dogs. I think those things do not have corn products on or in them?

So, off to Guerneville to go to Johnson’s Beach to kayak. There is a summer dam at this beach.

I was surprised to see so many people down there, but it was a bit warm today.

I put my boat in the water at the dam. I was surprised that this year they did not put packed rock in there for cars, it was loose gravel and it said to have a four wheel drive to use it. I do have a four wheel drive Subaru, so I was set. It’s not that far to walk to launch if you don’t have a four wheel drive car.

This photo was taken just after I put in the water and started down the river, looking back at the Johnson’s beach dam.



Here is another shot of the Guerneville dam a little closer up. The green thing is a fish ladder. I launch my boat by the fence, across the river, where you see the two people in little kayaks still on the beach. You can see my tire tracks in the loose gravel. I bet that loose gravel gets quite a few cars this summer.

Note the water is falling over the spill way in this one. That means it’s full, so it is passing water down the river.jbsummerdam


As I made my way down the river, I spiced this green heron on the rocky beach shore. Usually I see them in the brush, hunting fish and maybe bugs too? They have a real long neck, but usually keep it in the retracted state as this one is in. The neck can stretch out to catch things.



About a half mile or so below this dam is the old side channel, which goes under this side bridge that used to be part of a summer road across the river at this spot, but is not longer put in. This is where I’m headed. I like to go down the channel here as it is sort of remote and you can imagine you are anyplace you want to be in the world.sidechannel


This one is of the channel, just where it comes back into the river. The sand on the right is a little beach on the end of the island.sidechannel2


This one is a river view looking back to the area where the channel is, which is also known as the Guernewood Park beach. It’s a popular beach for todays teens.riverview


I passed this guy in the motor boat pushing his dock to his place to install it for the summer. They put the docks in, in the summer and take them out for the winter, as the winter water can rise up to where you see the house in the background.docks


I continued down the river until I ran into the Vacation Beach dam, which I think is maybe two miles down the river from the Guerneville dam, known as the Johnson’s beach dam.

This is what it looked like as I approached the Vacation Beach dam. This one has a summer bridge across it for cars. If one wants to continue down the river from here, one goes to the boat take out on the right and packs it around the dam. You can’t see the boat take out in this picture, but it’s just to the right, out of sight.vbdam1


This dam is usually the last one to get installed, so it’s the last one to fill up. Here is a picture of the spillway area and guess what?  There is still about eight inches of board left before the water spills over it, so I was right about the water not making it to the Jenner estuary yet. It should spill over these boards sometime tomorrow, then the Jenner estuary will start to fill more rapidly. The river’s mouth is closed with sand, so that is why it will fill.vbdamspill


I hung around the dam for about a half hour before starting back up the river to Guerneville.

When I got back up to the little channel with the sandy beach on the end of it, there were these little baby mallard ducks taking it easy in the sand, looking more like pigs in the mud.

I approached them for a good picture and momma duck dropped out of the sky to see what was going on. I was able to get to within two feet of these little guys and the momma too. Nobody spooked, so I got a good picture of them.ducks


I continued up the river, it was pretty warm and I was wishing I’d worn a swim suit or shorts so I could go in the water. If it was really hot, I’d go in anyway.

This photo is looking up at the Johnson’s Beach dam, which is mostly just out of sight.riverview2

That was it for the day, I took my boat out and went home.

This is a nice, good, short, kayak trip, down to the Vacation Beach dam and back from Johnson’s beach.

Had a nice day even though I went to the dentist. :O)

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