Road trip to the Kern River Gorge

10:55 a.m. on March 21, 2017 (EDT)
ppine
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4,111 forum posts

Just returned from a trip to find the warm weather.  Death Valley is already hot so we headed to the Alabama Hills for the first night outside Lone Pine. We camped in Lone Ranger Canyon where the first three episodes of The Lone Ranger were filmed according to a local resident.

Then on to Lake Isabella and then Kernville.  The river is running at about 2,500 cfs and is very interesting to look at.  It is hard to imagine how they run tourists from LA through those rapids and all of that brush in the river.  Great restaurants at the Italian place and tapas at the Starlight Lounge.

A trip up the gorge is very interesting with plenty of relief and water falls. Johnsondale at 4,700 feet is the old logging town that was operational until 1978. Now the old company houses and cabins are used for recreation. We were on the edge of the snow most of the time but really enjoyed the warm weather.

Spent St Patrick's Day outside Bishop at around 7,000 feet staring at the snow covered mountains. Saliente.

Thanks and blessings go out to all the friendly people up and down US 395. 

10:00 p.m. on March 21, 2017 (EDT)
whomeworry
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3,550 forum posts

About that brush choked river...

Back in the late 1980s a group of coworkers organized a rafting activity in that very location.  I declined because I don't do motor or water sports, mostly out of self preservation, and partly out of respecting objective risks.  I guessed I jinxed them. 

Their trip was a professionally guided trip, but one of the rafts ran afoul of a tree.  Someone on land recorded the action.  It was a big deal, swift water rescuers and all.  The footage of that event ended up on one of those reality TV shows.  I saw the footage.  It was crazy!  They were lucky, such obstructions are deadly drowning machines. 

Ed

10:36 a.m. on March 23, 2017 (EDT)
ppine
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4,111 forum posts

Thanks Ed. You showed good judgement.

The Kern is a cruel combination of bad rapids, trees and brush, and proximity to large numbers of urban people with little experience. It is hard to imagine getting through a water year like this one without some fatalities.

The river is very interesting to look at though. I have no interest in running it.

The range land is all greened up with plenty of flowers.  The river is loud in the campgrounds providing great white noise for sleeping.  The forest is very interesting with lots of incense cedar and unusual species like Coulter pine. The people are very friendly and used to having visitors. And the restaurants were way above average. Just stay off the river and it can be a great place to visit, especially before the weather gets hot.

6:23 p.m. on March 23, 2017 (EDT)
whomeworry
125 reviewer rep
3,550 forum posts

Being the adrenaline junkie I am, the good judgment was protecting myself from my own worst impulses.  It looks lots of fun, but the technology is no match just when you really need control and durability.  Hydraulics almost always win out. 

Ed 

May 26, 2020
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