Have you ever been kayaking? Did you know that there is a way to kayak on the San Joaquin River? Cherilyn shares her recent kayaking experience with us, and it sounds like so much fun!
Meet me on the river… I’ve gone kayaking.
The San Joaquin Valley and surrounding mountain ranges have so many fantastic adventures. Truly everything from river kayaking to mountain climbing is right here in the Fresno/Madera area. Today, I want to share a Fresno adventure which will leave you wanting more.
Did you know there are river kayak trips every Saturday on the San Joaquin River? It’s a thrill to climb on your kayak with a paddle in hand, and head down the river.
Fresno River Sport Center will not only take you on a tour down the river, but they provide all the gear. It’s fantastic. You show up, pick out a dry bag (for your goodies), pop on a life vest, grab a paddle, and place your foot on a kayak of your choice. My favorite is a “sit on top”. They also have “sit inside” and “paddle boards”. So don’t worry, whatever your passion for the trip, it’s ready and waiting for you.
The guide provides a short safety review and tips before the tour. Who wouldn’t want a few insider tips before popping on your kayak, “Keep paddling at all times, if you stop, the river is controlling you” the guide said. Ahhh, words to live by.
If you’re a beginner or experienced kayaker, the guides have definitely got your back. They travel the river daily to understand the changing currents for your safety. Actually, I think they do it for fun, but will go with their version.
We start with paddles on a leash (we wouldn’t want to lose our equipment) and down the river we go. As we kayak down the river our bodies get in the paddle groove. We haven’t gone too far and the guides ask us to meet in the next eddie. An Eddie is a spot near the side of river with less current. Some of us hang on to tree limb or sit in the succulents occupying the river near the bank. It no longer matters how we are lined up. What matters is you are stopped waiting for instructions with your river buddies.
The river guides (gurus) describe our next mission. “Helmets on, rapids ahead. Go left of the tree and right at the curve. If you can’t divert from the tree in the middle of the river, duck and ride it out” said the guide. Oh my goodness this sounds serious! We might hit a tree! Of course all paths are safe, but the directions, if followed, won’t lead you to the tree. Woohoo, we have options.
We safely navigate the rapid and come out unscathed and feeling like Rock Stars. This process continues as we ride rapids, float and chat with the different folks our kayaks seem to gravitate to. We help each other down the river, regrouping after each rapid to make sure our river buddies are safe. “Oops sorry” are words spoken as our misguided kayaks gently tap each other when regrouping.
A stop for lunch on a dry outcrop and then we are on our way again. I’m not sure if we are more excited to stop and stretch or get back on the river.
The tour guides are amazing with stories of past trips, wildlife sightings and life beyond the river. They are as excited as we are when spotting an egret, beaver or a beautiful home on the banks of the river.
A few winding turns, small waterways and the tour is coming to an end. I circle the beach soaking up a little more nature. Although tired, we are grateful for the awesome adventure on the river.
This is a bucket list item you will want to repeat many times and Fresno River Sport can deliver. They offer Day, Full Moon and Kayaking with Salmon tours. All amazing adventures right here in our backyard.
You have got to try it!!! And when you do please share your river story with Fresno River Sport Center on Facebook.
See you on the river. I’ll be the one with the smile on my face, please say “hi”.
*Thank you to Fresno RiverSport Center for use of their photographs.