When John and I took over River Runners in 2015 we could only do so with the support of the Centers. Bill and Robin Center own Camp Lotus where River Runners operates. For years their tireless work on the camp ground has provided a beautiful green oasis throughout the dry hot summers. John and I have lived and worked in their space for many years, absorbing all the good advice and good examples they have been willing to share with us. In 2017 we were devastated when Bill passed away, but we are always comforted by the way Camp Lotus is still imbued with his presence. Bill was a great conversationalist and orator who was often invited to give talks about the South Fork of the American River. Yesterday I was sent a hard copy of his South Fork talk. For those of you interested in the rich history of the South Fork of the American River this is a great read…enjoy!Read More
Raft Guiding is a rewarding profession that is both a trade and an art. There is always something new to learn. You will never master the river but through consistent practice and refinement, the river may let you feel that you have sometimes.Read More
In March of 2018 River Runners discovered a trash problem on the ‘Chamberlain Falls’ run on the North Fork of the American River near Auburn. The North Fork of the American River is normally a pristine place so we were disturbed to see so much human impact in that river corridor. Much of the trash was most likely washed downstream from mining camps upstream of Mineral Bar Campground. River Runners organized a clean up event and put the call out to other outfitters and private boaters to join in the clean up effort by contributing additional river guides and rafts.Read More
From the parking lot 400 vertical feet above the put-in, it’s easy to feel intimidated. At first sight the river falls over a ledge, crashes into a rock, and spits a rooster tail wave into the air. The setting is stunning. A quarter mile downstream from put-in a magnificent waterfall cascades into the river in a narrow granite gorge fecund with oaks, mosses, and ferns. All this beauty and madness inspires the strenuous act of carrying the rafts and river gear down a steep hill to meet it. Welcome to adventure. Welcome to aqua incognita.Read More
For a river guide like me it was an obscene waste of a great opportunity. So when I came to be the owner and operator of River Runners, I wanted to offer kids more for their parents money. I wanted to give them the experience they deserved. I wanted to make them fall in love with being outside.
Just like men, women get to say “I like it here and I don't want to go do that”. Pushing someone into doing something is completely opposite to empowerment because it takes their free will out of the equation.Read More
Guest Blog from Teton Whitewater
Whitewater rafting is a great way to reduce stress and help you unwind. Whether you’re an expert rafter or it’s you’re first time, the experience can last a lifetime and help to lower stress levels while connecting you with nature. So take a break from the stressors of your everyday life and hit the mental reset button with an outdoor river adventure.Read More
River guiding is a community event. The degree that the guides cooperate determines the amount of enjoyment on a river trip. I’d like to thank all the river guides whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with over the years; too many to name. We’ve invented new ways, taken risks, laughed, cried, and most importantly supported one another. We’ve been intentional about enjoying our work so that enjoyment radiates out to our guests. Our present crew is carrying on the River Runners tradition of having fun by working well, together.Read More
Living by the river forces me to be flexible. It's always changing here so I have learned not to get too comfortable with the way things are. It's a good thing, because this past winter turned out to be the biggest precipitation year since 1983. We had never seen the river get so high. We had only heard stories.Read More
River Runners' guide John K reflects on rafting the California floods of 2017, the last few years of drought and its impact on his life as a whitewater rafting guide and enthusiast in California.Read More
Over the course of this past amazing summer I have given a lot of thought to what sets River Runners apart on the South Fork of the American River. It is not just all the extra curricular activities we do, like swimming, jumping off of rocks and stopping to skip rocks and pick berries, it is also how much we care about you and your experience both on and off the river...Read More
Summer in Camp Lotus has that smell of lingering wood smoke in the cool morning air and that sound of rustling leaves against the constant but faint roar of the river. Summer seemed to arrive so suddenly this year. From jackets to sunscreen, the temperature jumped into the hundreds and sent us plunging into that ice cold water of the South Fork of the American River...Read More
In April a six year old boy rode up front with a gapped toothed smile just being pummeled by the huge waves created by 3000 cubic feet per second of water on the Chili Bar section. He couldn't get enough. That was until he convinced me to jump in the river with him. We both thought that was enough!...Read More
We wind our windows down as we exit in Visalia and wait for the faint scent of ripe oranges to creep into the cab of the truck. The sweet smell of water and life eventually overwhelms the grit of the road behind us.
Watching the finish line: headlights on the sign, we arrive at the Hideaway. I fall into a deep sleep on the banks of the Kaweah...Read More
Chamberlain Falls on the North Fork of the American River. We always make sure to come out here as much as we can in the winter and spring. And we drink in the experience as if the river is going to go away. But of course it doesn't, only the waters will slow by summer to a warm stream. Changed but still there. Untamed, undammed and inexplicably beautiful.
Giant Gap - North Fork of the American River. Stunning scenery, great rapids and just all around magnificent. This trip took 12 hours from Placerville and back and only 4.5 of those hours were on the river, so you will notice that there is a lot of driving, walking and carrying involved...and it is all awesome!