RRT on the water
Last Saturday my wife Brenda, I guided two clients from Santa Cruz on an all-day odyssey down Redwood Creek as part of the Godwit Days Celebration. Our first stop was the Redwood Creek overlook near the Ladybird Johnson Grove. This dizzying view reveals the Redwood Creek Valley with its fog lined tributaries. Somewhere down there was a ribbon of emerald green that we would use to float back to Orick. After a bumpy ride to the trailhead we prepared to hike down the canyon the final mile and a quarter. After some fussing with the boats we put in and headed down river. About 1.5 miles downstream we stopped at the Tall Trees Grove and made the half mile loop trail. We were amazed at the size and scope of these great trees. Our first portage was near this grove, an easy one but some strainer trees had fallen in, blocking our path. About 1:00 our clients were delighted with the gourmet lunch which included many regional favorites and a fine red organic wine. After a leisurely lunch we again headed down stream. The wind came up a bit but was not awful and we continued on. We did see birds, lest you think it was all about the float and lunch. We saw a: Bald Eagle Belted King Fisher, Pacific Wren, osprey, mergansers, mallards, jays, ravens, Blue Herron, etc. It was a fine trip and one to remember. John
Matt and I have been working on the perfect boat frame for our pontoon boats for some time. We’ve figured out the environmentally friendly wheel to get the boats to the bottom of Redwood Creek (over a mile). I’ve worked out the sail kit that can get us from Patrick’s point Campground down to Trinidad in in 30 mph winds, and now friends, the best invention yet. . . the hammock stand. That’s right, now RRT will be able to offer a hammock option. Imagine pulling up on a secluded river bar, having lunch and then hammocks appear for a little siesta. No need to find a couple of trees to tie to, the boat frames themselves convert into stands and can actually float along while the hammocks are employed. These hammocks are not the skimpy lightweight camp variety but sturdy country club quality, made for real people, we do after all, “Make Adventure Accessible”
Trinidad has had some great crabbing this season. The commercial season does not begin until January 15th so we have had free reign for some time. At first the crabs were not filled out but by now they have lots of weight to them. The weather is always a bit chancy this time of year but recently we have enjoyed a run of clear skies and little wind. Getting out and pulling a crab pot then cooking it up on the beach is great fun and tasty!
As the season winds down, Matt and wanted to thank our guests for a great season. We are looking forward to next season with two new and exciting adventures to be offered in Redwood National Park. As usual these outings will be family friendly and “make adventure accessible” for everyone. Check out our site for these exciting offerings by Christmas.
John and Matt
Although the grey whale under the Klamath River Bridge has been fun to watch, we wish it would move on. The poor thing just can’t get enough food and the fresh water is not good for its skin. Even so, if you get a chance to see the whale, it is well worth it. The perspective from the bridge, coupled with the shallow water gives a clear top view plus the ghostly outline in the watery depths. Matt and I have been pointing out the spot to our guests who follow us up to the Smith from Arcata. If you have a look, the best parking is on the south side of the bridge at a little turn-out. The last opportunity to see a whale in the Klamath was ten years ago so go have a look!
Redwood Riiver Trips had the honor of taking a 91 year-old woman and her five children/relations (ages 66-74) down the Smith River on Tuesday, July 12th, 2011. I was impressed with the gumption and sense of humor of our guests. I really cannot recall enjoying an outing more. There was much laughter and teasing as we made our way down the river. Four guests independently paddled their own pontoon boats while our 91 year old guest rode with me . Everyone walked the Stout Trees loop trail and marveled at the old growth redwoods. Although Matt and I take pride in “Making Adventure Accessible” we are also pleased to have met with such adventurous spirits this day!
While the Trinity is running high and cold, the Smith remains beautiful, clear and warm enough for a quick dip. A beautiful float, glorious walk through the redwoods and a sweet picnic spot, all in perfect 80 degree weather! Who could ask for anything more.
Matt and I took five folks out of Trinidad on April 23. After gearing up we motored out to the front of the head with the electric motors. On the way out some kayakers gave us a tip on where the whales were. Sure enough, as we approached cries of "thar she blows!" went up from our group. We spent a long time in with the whales before heading in.
We had the pleasure of taking two different families down Redwood Creek from the Tall Trees Grove in April. The Chabon family had six persons, the largest group we've ever taken. They were delightful and real troopers. We had a light spring rain most of the day and although we had good rain gear, we were all a bit wet around the edges.
Our second family, The McNeill's, had two boys that were the life of the party. Again, we had rain but our spirits were not dampened. We had a fine time in the redwoods.
As it turned out I had the dad's for both groups. Our slow descent from the Tall Trees Grove was a gift for the dads and their boys. When else does a child really get an hour of uninterrupted time with their dad especially in a place of astounding beauty. I love this job!
And now for something totally different.
On July 23rd Matt, myself and Alex (my 12 year-old son) sailed our inflatable pontoon craft six tenths of a mile up the Smith River’s South Fork gorge. We actually put-in on the middle fork then oared up the South until we got to the big pool below the bridge. Once in the pool, we attached the sail kits amid numerous sun bathing onlookers and with a light breeze at our backs headed under the beautiful half-circle bridge and up stream.
The gorge has been cut into solid metamorphic rock. The further up the gorge, the more organic and sculptural the rock becomes. Winter run-off laden with gravel and sand has sculpted the rock over eons. We stopped for lunch at a cobble island with liquid serpentine totally surrounding us. Alex found numerous rocks to jump off of. Our sailing ended at an enormous rapid. We were barely able to squeeze through some boulders at this pool and had to “come about” to get the sails through some boulders. This run is so fantastic we may have to make it part of our Smith River tour.
Eighty degrees, a light breeze, crystal clear water and the beautiful Stout Trees Grove almost all to ourselves, what a beautiful day on the river! Our guests from Utah, a family of four had a wonderful time. Our two young women were outfitted with their own inflatable kayaks and river squirters. Dad was also armed with a squirter (and knew how to use it!) Mom had enough sway over the rest of the family to remain dry for the entire trip, no small feat! Dad had a go at the oars and gave me a break for a while. Everyone had a great day in the Redwoods on California’s premier wild rivers coast!
On June 22 Matt and I took a father and son down Redwood Creek. Our actual put-in is near Emerald Creek. Still enough water for a last minute float late in our season! The boats are outfitted on the river bar after being hauled nearly a mile and a half down the canyon. I'm always sore for days after packing in gear. The upper river is the most beautiful and after two miles we come to the Tall Trees Grove. Our guests are identifiable by the calf-length overshoes to keep their feet dry. Other hikers from the trailhead ask about the shoes and soon learn of our float. A friendly conversation ensues and the trail hikers soon have the realization that our crew will not be hiking back up the canyon at all but instead take a leisurely float back to civilization. On this trip we did see bear tracks on the river bar but no eagles this time.
The second video on our gallery page shows me sailing our pontoon craft. I am fairly new to sailing but wanted the boats rigged after considering a trip to Baja. I ordered the kits from sailstogo.com and have been very pleased with their performance. I built all of the other wooden parts including the center board, rudder and top deck out of a single piece of marine plywood. Sailing has proven to be a lot of fun on windy days when kayaking would not be an option. Matt and I have pushed the limits of these rigs, taking them out in 45 mph whitecaps. The video shown is about a 25 mph stiff wind and it was perfect! There is a little place on the southwest shore of the lagoon that makes for some excellent agate collecting.
It was beautiful on May 15th for the opening day of snapper fishing. Matt and I went south from the put-in off the beach. This section may be closed at some point if proposed marine reserves are approved so we thought we'd better get in there while we could. A giant rock just off shore was amazing to watch there were many nesting mures. A flight of pelicans came overhead flying in formation as they do.
Matt and could have easily caught our limits but pinched our barbs after six fish and let the rest go. All of the fish were blue and black snapper, the bread and butter of the northwest coast. No ling cod today.
Landing the boats on the way back was a bit tricky. Timing is important when landing on the beach even with swells of five feet. No spills today. Lots of folks stopped by as we were cleaning fish and putting away gear.