July 3-8, 2013
A long, lazy, 6-day retreat to that magical spot on the South Yuba. With Carlos and with guest appearances by Genoa and Yorkey!
»jump to the pics & details
Max elevation: 2625 ft
Min elevation: 2182 ft
Total climbing: 512 ft
Started:5/12/13, 9:49:17 AM PDT – N39 20.523 W120 58.307 – 85.8 °F
Ended:5/12/13, 11:34:11 PM PDT – N39 20.195 W120 55.647 – 93.4 °F
the way in
Carlos and I met up outside Nevada City at 9am on the morning of the 3rd. The forecast called for 100° weather for the entire trip and we wanted to get a jump on the heat of the day. We sped down the trail at record speed, arriving at the campsite in an hour and forty minutes. No rattlers on the trail this time.
We staked our claim in the big South Yuba Primitive Campsite; the same spot Jeff and I stayed last time. This site is large, shady, and well equipped with picnic tables and a fire ring. Doesn’t get much better. Part of the plan in arriving on the 3rd was to make sure we secured some space at the campsite before the potential crowds arrived for the long 4th of July weekend. We lucked out 100% and had the place to ourselves the entire 6 day trip, though!
Since we arrived so early and had the site set up by not long after noon, we decided to explore the river. I had never been any further east than the campsite before, so that’s the direction we headed. We slowly made our way up river, playing in the small rapids, jumping off rocks, and exploring feeder creeks. We probably made it about a mile or so before giving in to the temptation to just lay on our backs and float back downstream. Also, the day was heating up and we needed to get in the shade. At night, we brought our cooking gear down to the riverbank and had dinner by the water. Not only was the atmosphere nice, the mosquitoes up in the campsite were all too happy to eat us while we ate. The river bank is miraculously free of mosquitoes. Back at the campsite we started a fire, but soon realized that not even the smoke from the fire was keeping the mosquitoes away. We gave up the view of the fire for the view of the river from the mosquito-free beach.
Day 2 passed by in rush. We set what became routine for the rest of the trip: In the morning, to escape the blood sucking hordes, we took the stove and food down to the river bank and made our coffee. Afterwards, we played around in the water for the rest of the morning and into the early afternoon. It was our most industrious day. We built a small pool along the bank by building up walls of river rock and we erected several rock cairns along the banks. When the afternoon sun became too strong, we retreated back up the hill to the campsite, where the rising temperature had driven away the mosquitoes. When evening approached, we returned to the beach to have another swim and then dinner. After dinner, we invented the first of several rock-based games: Shrine Hole Shooting. On the opposite bank of the river, there is an area where the rocks have formed what looks like a small shrine. To the left of the shrine, there’s a bowl where the motion of the current (when it’s higher) combined with smaller rocks to bore out a small cauldron-shaped hole. The shrine hole. Our goal was to throw rocks across the river and land them in the shrine hole. Shrine Hole Shooting was born.
I woke up at 6:30 this morning. It was 64 degrees outside, but I knew that wouldn’t last. I had my breakfast, threw some snacks and water into my daypack and set off on the trail. The plan was to meet Genoa and Yorkey in the parking lot at 9. I got there slightly before 9:00 and not long after, they came rolling in. Once they had their packs on, we hiked toward the campsite. After they got settled, we took right to the water. The day was already hot and the ~72° water was glorious. We trekked upriver a little way before deciding to ride it down toward the large pool where Humbug Creek meets the Yuba. A good time was had by all, but Genoa in particular got a kick out of riding down the rocky rapid parts with me. York and Carlos preferred taking a more foot-based route along the rocks near the mini-falls. After spending some time in the pool, we hiked back up the trail toward camp to grab some food and some respite from the sun. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the bend just east of “our” part of the river. It was in this pool that Foot Rock Challenge was born. This was our second rock-based activitiy of the trip. In FRC, you’re tasked with securing a river rock from the river bed between your feet. Then you must lift the rock above the surface of the river using only your feet. The longer you can keep it above the surface, the more fame and accolades you attain. There were FRC spin-off goals, as well, such as passing a foot rock from one foot rocker to another and placing a foot rock on top of a large rock that broke the surface of the river. Foot Rock Challenge. Much fun was had by all.
That evening, we followed routine and had dinner on the banks of the river. The evening was capped off by a rousing game of Shrine Hole Shooting. Carlos takes home the prize for the most successful shrine hole shots. Our shrine hole shooting arms fatigued, we took to a more sedentary rock-based activity: sorting out pretty white rocks for Carlos and pretty, smooth, flat rocks for Genoa and York. Before long, the light faded and first one, then many stars came out as we sat on the beach.
Breakfast on the beach followed by a romp in the river. Genoa and I rode more rapids, then joined York and Carlos in the big pool just west of our spot. There we lounged on rocks and watched the dragonflies. We decided to see if we could make it back upstream in the strongest current. It was quite a challenge, but we prevailed through teamwork. Sadly, after lunch Genoa and York had to take to the trail. Carlos and I spent the rest of the afternoon lounging at camp before retreating back to the riverbank to have our evening coffees, dinner, and I read aloud from my book.
This day passed like those before it: Breakfast on the bank, swimming until the sun was too hot and direct, afternoon lounging in camp reading aloud. Those intrepid first mosquitoes signaled it was time to move to the river bank where we had coffee, more reading, then dinner, and more reading. When the stars came out, I did my best to capture some with the camera before retiring to the tent.
the way out – day 6
Wanting to beat the heat as much as possible, we braved the mosquitoes of early morning and started packing up at 7am. We had the tent packed, all our gear stashed in our packs, and were headed to the beach to have coffee by 7:30. At 8:00, we packed up the few remaining items and headed out. We made it back to the cars in under 2 hours and then headed directly to Nevada City for a real diner breakfast!
I couldn’t ask for more. Six days of Yuba River perfection with friends. The sun was hot, the river was cool, the games were fun, and the company was great.
see original post on south yuba trail