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Following years of drought and low flows we had great weather and water for the 52nd Kern River Festival! Saturday, the juicy flow on Brush Creek was excellent for the Extreme Downriver Race. On Saturday afternoon the Upper Kern at Riverside Park was about 3500 cfs for the Hyside Mini-me Races, and then went up to about 3800 cfs for the Tom Johnson Slalom on Sunday. All the results are now available on the Events page of the KernFestival.com web site.
How BIG is the Kern Basin snowpack this year?The April Sierra Snow Course measurements are in and with 16 of 17 courses reporting, the Kern River Basin snowpack is at 219% of the normal April 1 seasonal total! This is more than in the big El Nino Winter of 1997-98 and the biggest April 1 snowpack since 1982-83! Yet another atmospheric river event will bring more rain and snow to the Sierra over the next few days.
The heavy snow has resulted from a parade of atmospheric river events and systems with a broad, moist westerly flow. At times lower elevation rain and melting snow has produced high flows on the Upper Kern. Based on the preliminary flow data from the COE gage at Riverside Park, the highest peaks have been 18338 cfs at 8:00 a.m. January 9 and 23863 cfs at 10:00 p.m. February 7. (Flows are from the COE's WY17 tabulation.)
Soon that snow will begin to melt and water is being released from Lake Isabella to make room. Releases to the Lower Kern were increased in mid February and have been running around 4000-4100 cfs since February 25 and side creeks add a bit more. The Lower Kern Canyon is as pretty and green as we can remember. Kayakers have been running the Cataracts higher than ever before. It's is going to be a spectacular year!
In early January, while most of us just stood with our mouths agape, local Kern paddlers Evan Moore (son of Sierra South co-owner Tom Moore) and Johnny Chase jumped on the river and got in some epic runs. Both are very accomplished, elite kayakers who have paddled internationally. On January 5 they paddled Brush Creek and then the Upper Kern down through Chamise Gorge, Upper Salmon Falls and Lower Salmon Falls, Sock 'em Dog and Fender Bender. On January 9 they did a "Bridge to Bridge" (Johnsondale Bridge to Kernville Bridge) in 2.5 hours, with a stop a Corral Creek. They did it without portages and commented that 17,000 cfs was "'kinda pushy... really fun." Now the they're are off to Patagonia for more amazing paddling. Here's a video from Evan during the Bridge to Bridge run.
The big snowpack and big water has already piqued interest in 2017 paddling season, which should be the best in many years. Following is a video posted by Ivan Rodriguez of KERO 23ABC, with some comments by Sierra South co-owner Tom Moore.
Learn to kayak! Our proven teaching method takes you through a gradual progression that maximizes the fun. We've designed our introductory and beginning classes for those who have never river kayaked before, or who have played around with kayaking some, but have not had formal instruction in the fundamentals of river kayaking. We also offer a 5-day total immersion learn-to-kayak class and Private Instruction. Our Kayaking School page has all the details on these, and other whitewater and lake touring kayak classes!Make your 2017 Kayak Class reservations today!
Our world-famous Lickety-Split and Lickety-Blaster raft trips are far and away the two most popular and most affordable Class 2-3 whitewater rafting runs available on the Kern River. Both are full of enough excitement to challenge just about everyone from young tykes to grandmas and grandpas. Looking for more adrenalin? Try our Upper Kern and Forks trips.Make your 2017 raft trip reservations today!
Check out the big selection of New and Used Kayaks on Sale! Get a new boat for the 2017 kayaking season! Bring in your old kayak and we will sell it for you. Really, how many dinosaurs do you need in your garage?
You've seen them at the lake, river, beach and on TV -- learn to paddle a SUP! It's fun and a great way to get an on-the-water workout! We offer a 2.5 hour Intro to SUP class and a more extensive SUP 101 class. We also have 4 Hour, Full Day, and Overnight SUP rentals.
ALL DAY Tube Rental: Shuttles all day, helmet and life jacket - Minimum Age/Wt: 6/50 lbs. - Price: $30 - Reserve online or call 1-800-457-2082!
One-Time Tube Rental: 1 trip down, 1 shuttle, helmet and life jacket - Minimum Age/Wt: 6/50 lbs. - Price: $25 - Reserve online or call 1-800-457-2082!
Shuttle: Departures will be every ½ hour from the Sierra South store starting at 9:00 am weekends and 9:30 am weekdays. Sunday through Friday shuttles end at 2:00 pm. Saturday shuttles end at 3:30 pm.
Guided: If customer would like a guide to accompany them the cost is $50 for one trip. (One guide for up to 8 people.)
One-Time Shuttle Only: $5/person per shuttle.
Note: Renters must wear PFD and shoes. Tubes can only be used in conjunction with our Shuttle and on the Lickety-Split run. No alcohol!