Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kayaking The American River

We are staying at a Thousand Trails park in a little town called Lotus and the biggest business here seems to be the river rafting companies.  Thursday, we decided to take our Sea Eagle kayak to check out the American River.

We are able to launch here at the park and there is a public takeout/launch site about 5 miles down the river.  We took my car down to the takeout site, then took the kayak to the river at the park.  I waited with the kayak while Jim took the pickup back to our site and walked back.

It was a warm day, but I sure was hoping we would not get dumped out of the kayak as the water is a chilly 57 degrees.

There were lots of rafting parties coming down the river so we followed one of them to give us a feel of the direction we should be paddling at the different bends.

We had a leisurely paddle down the river.  The water was flowing swift enough that we really only had to paddle to keep or change directions.  You can see by the dead grass on the mountains how much this  area needs rain.

This was our last rapids before we got to our takeout point.  It doesn't look like much in the picture, but when we hit that middle white section, we both got soaked.

We made it safely and quickly (the whole trip down only took a little over an hour) down the river.  Our biggest problem was maneuvering around all the rafting parties.

We had taken our lunch with us down the river, but when we finished so quickly, we just took it back to the rv to eat.

It was early afternoon, so we decided to head into Placerville to check it out.

We went to this building to check out the little museum inside.  There were two ladies inside who were extremely knowledgeable about the area and told us a lot about the early gold rush history here.

The El Dorado Historical Society is housed in this building, the oldest in Placerville.  It was built with with brick walls more than two feet thick and was the only building left after the fire of 1857.

We were shown a picture with miners going through the town and were told miners would pretty much dig anywhere they thought there might be gold, even in the town streets.

We went through this little museum that contained quite a bit in a tiny space.

We continued down the street stopping at the Placerville Hardware store, the longest continuous run hardware store west of the Mississippi.  We couldn't believe the inventory this store had!  I had been looking for a tiny dog bone cookie cutter and they had it.  They even had a tiny grater perfect for grating chocolate.  Items are still kept in wood bins here and there is a sliding ladder to get to the higher shelves.

 Our next stop was the bell tower in the middle of the town.  This was used to call volunteers to help with fires, a recurring theme in all of the early western towns.

Our last stop I didn't get a picture of, but it was Winterhill Olive Oil.  We had a great time sampling the olive oil and vinegar and didn't leave there empty handed. :)  

It was another fun day in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada!

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