Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Eel River Mountains to Sea - Day Three

Camp Cranky Pants

On Day 3 of our Eel River trip, we woke to overcast skies.  As we packed up, it started to drizzle.  We put on the river with the goal of getting to below the middle fork confluence - about 16 miles down river.
Overcast skies aren't the best for photos.
The miles sped by quickly.  We stopped for a quick snack at the confluence of Outlet Creek. The 7 mile stretch on the Eel from Outlet Creek to Dos Rios is one of our favorite whitewater runs and one that we know quite well.  We didn't stop and play at our usual waves because we were excited to get into new territory for us below Dos Rios.  The river was flowing really fast.  It took less than an hour to run the 7 mile stretch.
Confluence of Main Fork Eel and Middle Fork Eel at Dos Rios.
At Dos Rios, the Middle Fork of the Eel joined the main river and added even more flow.  We estimated the flow of the river to be about 10,000 cfs (cubic feet per second).  It was moving really FAST!!!  We were watching for a specific campsite on the river but zipped by it and had to improvise.
Signs of the abandoned Eel River Railroad.
Below Dos Rios, our trip once again became wilderness.  The old railroad tracks paralleled the river, but there are very few roads into or out of many stretches of the Eel River.  Occasionally we would see homes in the mountains, but many appeared to be unoccupied.  We pretty much had the river and wilderness to ourselves - well not exactly.
Bear tracks by our kayaks.
When we were scouting a riverside campsite for the evening, we landed our boats on a sandy beach and walked 100 yards down river to check out a creek for water and camping.  When we returned to our boats, there were bear tracks in the sand right by our boats.  The tracks weren't there when we landed.  It gave us pause for a moment.  Fortunately these wild California black bears don’t associate humans with food.  Regardless, we didn’t store food in our camp.
Camp Cranky Pants
We were a little weary from the long day and missing our campsite destination.  Not too long after we set up camp, Jeff went to bed.  We called this campsite - Camp Cranky Pants.

Day 4 - Big Water

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