Whitewater Rafting on the American River

I keep looking at this photo, moving from face to face, and laughing. What an exhilarating day!

Last Saturday, Aron and I set off with four of our friends (all kids-free) for a half-day trip on the South Fork of the American River.

One can go on trips with any number of outfitters in the area (here’s a list), but we had found a deal with The Adventure Connection and had a great experience. We’re definitely asking for our guide, Nate, again if we do the middle fork.


The base camp in Lotus is just over an hour away from Davis, but once we were on the river we felt like we were in the wilderness. It was such a beautiful day.

If you’ve never been before, I highly recommend getting a boat of friends together. You can go with fewer, but it was nice feeling comfortable with (and confidant in the competence of) the other people in the boat. The section we traveled had mostly Class III and Class II rapids and is recommended for nearly all ages. We saw a few people, including one small kid—maybe aged nine?—get tossed out of their boats, but mostly you just get very wet. Actually, a highlight for me was when we reached swimmer’s rapid at the start and we all slid into the water to go through it on our backs (feet up!). The air temperature was a toasty 90 degrees while the water was a cool 52. That and the fast-moving current made for a good jolt of adrenaline!

Sadly, I don’t have any other photos from the river, but here’s a really old one of Aron and I on the same river—on one of our first dates—in 1999…



P.S. We purchased the top photo from one of the companies that sets up along the river. There are hundreds of boats going down during the peak summer months (and I imagine this is true at any major rafting destination), so if you think you want to buy a photo, try and wear something bright and distinctive–like a red helmet. Sorting through thumbnails to find our boat was a major challenge!

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