Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fall on the Kern River

After a long season, even the Kern River requires a rest from the annual whitewater run off that allows us to play all spring and summer. The river mellows, the cottonwoods, alders, and willows all swap their green foliage for bright colors and eventually relinquish their leaves altogether in preparation for a long winter nap. A brief time of reflection and regeneration in preparation for the Spring of 2010. Kern River rafting is California rafting at it's best. We suppose the river deserves some down time, as do we all. Kern River Outfitters wishes all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving and we look forward to seeing all of you next spring, when the river and Kern River Outfitters, renewed, will again provide the most exciting whitewater action in California.

Friday, August 14, 2009

National Geographic Adventure Magazine Dubs the Kern a Must Do Rafting Trip

National Geographic Adventure Magazine just listed Kern River Outfitters and our Upper Kern River as a must-do rafting trip. The August/September edition highlights the Class Five Thunder Run stretch on the Upper Kern in this list of six Wild and Scenic river trips that should not be missed.

Our sister companies, Rogue River Journeys and Idaho River Journeys, round out the list offering trips on the Rogue River in Oregon and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho.

We feel lucky to be able to offer trips on three of the six Wild and Scenic Rivers listed in this piece. If you would like further information on any of these fantastic trips, feel free to give our office a call at 1-800-323-4234. We would be happy to help you organize your visit to any one of these fabulous rivers.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Friend of KRO: Dave Derr

This is a time of transition for Dave. On Monday after 30 years of service he retired from the fire department. Dave is married to Dawn Jordan, KRO’s top notch Office Manager.

Dave was 21 years old and working as a union carpenter in Los Angeles when his family moved to the Kern Valley. He’d come up and visit them on weekends and enjoy the outdoor activities and natural beauty of the area. When the weekends kept getting longer, he realized it was time to get a job in the area and move to the Kern River. Firefighting appealed to him because you have the opportunity on your calls to make a bad situation better for people.

Over the years Dave has boated the different sections of the Kern River many times. His favorite trip is the 2 -Day Lower Kern because it has a little bit of everything. As Dave says "You have your “woohoo time” interspersed with quiet sections. And then of course there is the KRO Lower Camp which is set up with a buffed out river kitchen." And it is tough to keep Dave out of the kitchen.

After seeing him at work in the kitchen and tasting his dishes at a couple of bbq’s he was recruited to make the ribs for our Annual Pub & Grub trip. These mouthwatering morsels have just the right combo of heat and sweet and unbelievably he has offered to share the recipe with us. Of course if you’d like to stay out of the kitchen just sign up for next year’s Pub & Grub on July 8-9, 2010 where Dave’s Ribs are paired with cold steins of frosty brew!

In a recent intra-company Rib Cookoff, Dave’s ribs were the clear winner over Jim Ritter of Rogue River Journeys. While accepting his 1st Place Ribbon, Dave graciously commented “I just want to say that Jim’s recipe was excellent. It’s too bad that his long drive to the cook-off put time constraints on his preparation and he had to use canned sauce.” Dawn, Dave’s assistant rib maker, sighed and added “Jim had to use Larrapins”.

Dave’s summary of life:

Favorite rapid on the Kern River: “Pinball, I enjoy its technical aspects”.
Favorite part of the rafting company: “Socializing and meeting new people”
Dave’s favorite person in the world: “ I am married to her, Dawn Jordan”.
Quote from Dave: “When Dawn is happy, I am happy.”

Everyone at KRO congratulates Dave on his retirement!

Dave's Ribs

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Wash ribs and pat dry. Season well with black pepper and garlic powder. Roast uncovered for 1 hour.
Remove from oven. Mix 2 parts soy to 1 part worcestershire sauce and pour liberally all over ribs, making sure that liquid comes up at least _” on sides of roasting pan. Seal pan with aluminum foil and return to oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and cut into chunks of 2 or 3 ribs. Brush on your favorite sauce and finish on the barbecue.

Lower Kern Whitewater Rafting

Water levels on the Lower Kern are perfect for rafting. On July 25th, we sent a video camera down to Sundown Falls and Powerful Possum to capture some whitewater footage. With warm temperatures and great water flows, a rafting trip on the Lower Kern River is the perfect way to escape the heat. Give us a call at 1-800-323-4234 to book your trip today!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Perfect rafting flows on the Lower Kern River

Southern California's Lower Kern River, which offers-up some of the best whitewater rafting in the west, has been flowing at a perfect level for over a month and continues to release great rafting flows from Lake Isabella. Lake Isabella is the dividing feature between the Kern River's Upper and Lower stretches.

The Lower Kern River is well known for exhilarating rapids ranging from Class II to Class IV, warm water, and a spectacular canyon that twists and turns on its way downstream. Most two-day rafting trips launch near the town of Lake Isabella and rafters are treated to a few warm-up rapids before dropping into the more serious Class III and IV drops.

Teamwork is a key ingredient for success on the Lower Kern River's rapids!

At our camp, which is approximately half-way through the stretch, visitors are treated to spectacular meals prepared by our guides... or should we say chefs? We are the only outfitter that has sleeping decks and thick sleeping pads (commonly referred to as "Paco Pads" - the industry leader in outdoor sleeping pads) for our guest's comfort.

As night falls on the Lower Kern River canyon, our camp comes to life!

The second day of the two-day Lower Kern rafting trip starts with a delicious breakfast and then it's back to the rafts for more Lower Kern whitewater. After five miles of class III and IV rapids, we pull over for lunch to enjoy yet another tasty river-side meal. Upon reaching take-out at Democrat, you'll be thoroughly soaked (and maybe a little tired).

Whitewater, sun, and the fact that you don't have to worry about logistics, meals... or anything. What could make this trip better?

We'll be running the Lower Kern through mid-August and would love to prove to you how wonderful an experience it is. Call us at 1-800-323-4234 to begin planning the most excellent of summer get-aways!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sundown Falls on the Lower Kern River

The Lower Kern has some great class III and IV rapids. One of the largest drops on the river is a rapid known simply "Sundown" and it is also one of the most photogenic rapids on the entire stretch. Today I hiked down to snap a few photos and test out a new video camera. The photos turned out pretty well and video turned out fairly good as well. Thought I'd share them with you here, enjoy!

Here's the video of Gary, Matt P, and Travis dropping into Sundown:

A few photos:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Powerful Possum on the Lower Kern River

The first day of our two-day rafting trip on the Lower Kern River ends with a bang. Powerful Possum, a class IV rapid approximately 200 yards above our private Kern River Camp, is the largest drop on the Lower Kern. Check out this video of some of our runs today:

Pub and Grubbing on the Lower Kern River

The Pub and Grub was an amazing success last night at our Lower Kern River Camp. We had lots of great brews and piles of food. Thank you to the Kern River Brewing Company and Loadie Brewing for joining us! Here are a few shots from the evening:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Kern River Valley Firework Show

For those of you who missed the Fourth of July fireworks show this last weekend, here are a few shots taken by Mike Spradlin, one of our most senior whitewater rafting guides and local to the Kern Valley.

They shot the fireworks over the lake, which made for some great lighting effects!

Of course, we tend to think that the natural star and moon show above our Lower Kern River camp is a great show as well - so if you missed out on the fireworks you've still got something to look forward to. The night sky is incredible when you escape from the lights of the city and you will see more stars than you ever dreamed existed.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sixth Annual Kern River Clean-Up Day

Kern River Outfitters is proud to sponsor the sixth annual Kern River Clean-Up Day on July 11th. We will be floating the Kern River, cleaning up litter along the Lower Kern from Keysville to Democrat Take-Out. This is a great opportunity to make the Kern River an even better place to visit, work on, and live near.

Help clean-up the Kern River!

To thank everyone who participates in this event, a tri-tip and chicken dinner will be provided at 6:00 PM at Miracle Hot Springs Camp Ground. There will also be the band "Out of the Blue" to provide live entertainment.

If you would like to participate, please contact Brian Cosgrove at the Kern Valley River Council via phone: (760) 549-3760. Please bring your own leather gloves, drinking water, and sun screen. Trash bags, rafts, and river shuttle are provided.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Return of the Pub and Grub on the Lower Kern River

Most already know that the Kern River offers up some of California's best rafting trips and whitewater, but only recently can the Kern River Valley boast about their beer. The Kern River Brewing Company opened their doors in 2006 and quickly became a favorite after-paddle hangout for guides and customers alike.

The Pub and Grub returns in 2009!

Two years ago we "brewed-up" a grand idea: we took the world-class 2-day rafting trip we offer on the Lower Kern River and paired it up with beer tasting at our private camp along the banks of the river. Of course, the star and feature of this event is the Kern River Brewing Company and their selection of outstanding brews.

Last year's Pub and Grub was an outrageous success!

This week the tradition lives on! We still have space on the first day (our Camp Run trip) that concludes at camp. You can spend the day rafting and the evening and night at our Lower Kern camp tasting beers and enjoying good food.

For additional information on the Pub and Grub, give us a ring at 1-800-323-4234.

Love the idea but can't go on the trip?

You can still experience the magic vicariously (kind of) through our blog. We'll be taking lots of photos and video that will be posted here at the conclusion of the trip. Sure, you won't be able to taste the brews or the food, but we hope to "quench" your interest!

Team KRO

Monday, June 29, 2009

Kern River Rafting Report

In a recent article, Dana Nichols of the LA Adventure Travel Examiner, wrote that on the Kern River, "both the upper and lower sections of the southern California whitewater rafting hot-spot are having a most excellent summer." From what we are seeing, she is absolutely spot-on. The Upper is still running and the Lower season is kicking into high gear with great water flows coming from Lake Isabella.

With most schools out for the summer, NOW is the time to book your Kern River rafting trip. Our most popular dates are already filling up, which means that even if you simply have an inkling that you may want to go rafting later... give us a call!

Here's a short video taken from the first day of our most popular rafting trip: the two-day Lower Kern. It shows footage of two of the rapids, as well as a "behind the scenes" view of our crew loading up boats and getting ready for the day.

When it comes to California rafting, the Kern River is where the action is. Call us today at 1-800-323-4234 to book your trip and splash into summer!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Upper Kern River Clean Up Day

Kern River Outfitters is proud to team with the Sequoia National Forest, California Land Management and other great sponsors in this years Upper Kern River Clean Up Day slated for Saturday, June 13th. If you are interested in lending a hand to help keep the Upper Kern River corridor litter free, feel free to join us at the Corral Creek Day Use Area at 9:00am on the 13th.

Trash bags and a hearty lunch will be supplied. For more information, contact Cheryl Bauer with the Forest Service at 760-376-3781 ext. 630 or Debbie Campbell with the CLM at 760-376 1815 for more information.

Let us all pitch in to keep the Kern River the pristine Southern California Rafting destination for everyone to enjoy.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Whitewater Rafting the Lower Kern

The following is a review of our Lower Kern rafting trip by two customers who joined us on our first 2-day trip of the 2009 season over Memorial Weekend. The original post can be found on their blog at www.justinsomnia.org. Thanks for the kind words and we're so happy to hear that you had a great trip!

------------ justinsomnia.org

Last weekend Stephanie and I drove down to Bakersfield to go whitewater rafting on the Kern River. We’d discovered the Kern coming home from Death Valley last year and made a point of going back to go rafting—which neither of us had done before. The three day Memorial Day weekend provided the perfect opportunity. We signed up for a two day trip, camping overnight on the river.

Bakersfield is very flat, not exactly what you’d consider a hotspot for whitewater. But just east is the southern tip of the Sierra Nevadas, through which the Kern River flows. After spending the night at a Motel 6, we drove along the river up to Lake Isabella, a dammed lake which forms the source of the Lower Kern.

There we met our guides from Kern River Outfitters: Ryan and Abby. They introduced themselves, both had multiple years of experience rafting the Kern, and they went over the basic orientation: wear your life-vest tight and don’t bring anything valuable on the boats. I decided I was going to take my camera in the waterproof, see-through camera bag I’d bought for the trip anyhow. Hell, if I lost my camera, that’d just give me one more reason to part with $2430.

Ours was their first two-day rafting trip on Lower Kern of the season, and we were a relatively small group. It was just Stephanie and I plus a family of 6. With Ryan and Abby, that meant 5 people per boat. They took us down to the launch site, we helped them get the boats into the water, and then we went through our second orientation, the serious one: how to survive an “out of boat experience.”

Finally we were in the boats, Stephanie and I went with the two parents and Abby, and the four kids with Ryan. At the beginning the water was calm, so we practiced our strokes, which meant taking commands from Abby who told us what to paddle when. “Forward-one”, “forward-two”, and “forward-three” will be burnt into my memory forever.

It’s hard to actually describe the rafting part other than to say I liked it when I got splashed! It was not a continuous series of rapids, but rather several distinct and short sections of Class II, III, and IV rapids punctuated by longer sections of smoother water. I also found out that it was well-nigh impossible to take any pictures while you’re actually going through the rapids, because you’re busy paddling like crazy. So most of my pictures on the boat are in calmer waters.

I knew this trip was going to be really special when we stopped for lunch. While we gulped down cold juice, Ryan and Abby prepared a gourmet deli lunch on one of our rafts, flipped upside-down. They put out several kinds of whole grain bread, sliced avocados and tomatoes, sliced cheddar and pepper-jack cheese, romaine lettuce, deli ham and turkey, with like eight different condiments, including pickles, roasted red peppers, two types of mustard, mayo, and horseradish. There was plenty for all of us to make heaping sandwiches and come back for more.

After an afternoon of paddling (now just a happy blur in my memory), we stopped for the night at their private campground. Ryan and Abby immediately set to preparing dinner in their fully outfitted cooking area. They put out some “hors d’oeuvres” (chips, salsa, bread, and homemade spinach dip), while we explored their game library.

Dinner was ridiculous. I mean that in the best way. Somehow they managed to make a fresh salad, garlic bread, roasted vegetables, pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts, smoked chicken, and tri-tip. I started joking that this was really an outdoor cooking trip with a little bit of whitewater rafting on the side.

There were sleeping decks situated through the campground, along with inflatable sleeping pads. The weather was warm enough that we didn’t need our tent (which we had brought just in case). We slept in our sleeping bags, under the stars, with the sound of the Kern River below us.

The next morning we had another gourmet camping meal, toasted bagels, cheesy eggs, bacon, fruit salad, coffee and tea. We packed everything up, and headed down to the river for our second day of whitewater, this one had a little more Class III and IV than the previous day. Once again it was a blast. They’d even stationed a photographer at one section of rapids so we got some great shots of us going through the whitewater.

Totally awesome.

Click here to view the original post on their blog!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Safety on and off the river

Safety, both on and off the water, is the number one priority on all of our trips. Before each trip we gather at the put-in and the trip leader gives a thorough "safety talk" to the group. On both private and commercial trips, safety talks are a great way of making sure everyone is on the same page. The safety talk is also a great time to ask questions, many of which are shared by another member in the group.

One way of viewing a safety talk is this: it's much like learning to change a flat tire on your car. Every time you go out driving you don't expect to get a flat, however, when you do get a flat tire it sure is nice knowing what to do about it. That's what the safety talk is about. It's about being informed and having an idea of what to do if a problem does arise. We don't flip boats or have swimmers every time we go out on the water and, in fact, it really is quite rare to have an "out of boat experience". None-the-less, it is a good idea to be prepared for such events.

Safety Talk Outline

The outline of our safety talk remains the same for every trip we run and we cover the following topics:

1) Personal Responsibility
Always listen to your guide, watch where you are going, and don't put others in danger with your actions.
2) Lifejackets
Always wear them and tighten them up!
3) Swimming
What to do if you find yourself out of the boat, proper position, don't stand up.
4) Throw bags
What to do if we throw you a bag, how to hold it.
5) Wraps and highsiding
What is a wrap? Is that a type of sandwich? Nope. What is highsiding and how to do it.
6) Flips
What to do if a boat flips and how to prevent that from happening.
7) Trees
Trees that are in the river are called "strainers". Why we avoid them and what to do if you encounter a strainer.
8) Safety on Land

Things to look out for on land. Always wear shoes, look out for Poison Oak, unfamiliar territory so be careful!
9) Leave No Trace

Always leave the river and canyon better than how you found it.
10) River Etiquette
There are lots of different users on the river: fisherman, campers, rafters, etc. Be respectful of all visitors and... Have a great time!

Safety is always our number-one priority but a close second is FUN!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Forks of the Kern Rafting

Our Forks of the Kern staff training trip got off the water May 14th. We spent three days on the river and had the chance to explore some amazing side hikes along the way. We are offering this incredible trip on June 5, 10, 15, and 20th. The Forks is considered the best wilderness class V rafting trip in the United States.

In describing our Forks of the Kern River rafting trip, Outside Magazine said, "The serious heart in throat moments come mid-run at the back-to-back Class V Vortex/Gauntlet doubleheader: a ten-foot slide followed by unscoutable drops that roll on for a seeming eternity."

Here's a short video of our training trip, which includes footage of Vortex, Confusion, and Carson Falls.

Check out our Forks of the Kern Rafting page for additional information.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Amazing Race

It was a proud day for team KRO, as they sailed to victory in the 11th annual Whiskey Flat Trail Run last Saturday.  Shown here proudly holding the coveted KRBC trophy (which comes with 4 filled Kern River Brewing Company growlers) are 2 of the fleet-footed team members, Darby Vreven and David Derr. Not shown, but no less illustrious, are Matt Volpert and Will Volpert.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What to Bring on a Rafting Trip

People joining us on our overnight Lower Kern rafting trips often ask us what they should bring with them.  We recommend:

- a sleeping bag or bedding 
- small flashlight
- swimsuit or shorts
- sunscreen and lip protection
- sneakers or river sandals with secure straps to wear in the boat
- dry sneakers for camp
- sunglasses with a strap
- jacket or sweatshirt
- water bottle
- towel
- hat or visor 
Optional items would include:
- guitar or other musical instruments
- games
- fishing rod and license. 
The Kern River Valley is hot and dry in the summer months. A light change of clothes and a sweatshirt are usually sufficient for camp. Tents are normally not necessary for comfortable sleeping but you are welcome to bring one.
We expect to have a great 2009 Lower Kern season, with trips beginning in late May and extending into the middle of August.  
We look forward to seeing you on the river.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The BEST of California Rafting

When it comes to California rafting trips, the Lower Kern River is a tough place to beat. This year in particular, the Lower Kern River will be the best place in all of California to find plenty of water, great rapids, and a superb value for your vacation dollars.

The Lower Kern River is fed by Lake Isabella, a reservoir surrounded by the towns of Kernville, Wofford Heights, and, of course, the town of Lake Isabella itself. As of April 18, the reservoir is storing roughly 156,482 acre-feet of water. The Lower Kern River rafting “season” is determined by the amount of water held in Lake Isabella and at what rate it is released (which is referred to in Cubic Feet per Second).

If 156,482 sounds like a big number, that’s because it is. A recent water forecast projected that the reservoir will see an additional 270,000 acre-feet, which brings big smiles to our faces here at KRO headquarters. With that much water, we are hopeful that our Lower Kern River rafting season will last until the third week of August, which would be an excellent season of rafting for us.

California rivers that rely solely on snow melt are going to have shorter seasons than normal because they won’t have the stored-up water to release consistently throughout the summer. These two factors; the Lower Kern River with plenty of water stored and other California rivers with short run-offs combine to make the Lower Kern the obvious destination for river rafting trips in 2009.

The Chinese “Year of the Ox” began February 4th but here in the Kern Valley we’re switching over to “Year of the Lower Kern” in May.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gone Green

The Kern River rafting season is gearing up, we all have dreams of California whitewater dancing in our heads, and the Upper Kern and Lower Kern are promising another great season.  
Meanwhile, our famous green bag continues to travel the globe.  Here it is about to board the Aluminum Overcast, a WWII B17 Flying Fortress bomber, one of only 16 left in existence.  Very cool.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Forbes Magazine Lists Kern River As One Of The Ten Best Rivers In the Country

Forbes Magazine recently ran an article on the ten best places to go whitewater rafting in the country and the Kern River made the top of the list.

If you’d like to see the notation click here.

Kern River rafting has never been more popular and the 2009 season is expected to be another great year. Southern California rafting enthusiasts have always held the Kern in high regard as one of the best places to enjoy a California rafting trip.

If your looking to run the Lower, Upper, or Forks of the Kern we are ready to help put your trip together. Just give us a call at 1-800-323-4234 and we will have you in a raft enjoying the Kern whitewater in no time.

Friday, April 3, 2009

We Have a Winner

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the Kern River Outfitters Winter River Poetry Contest is:

Winter River
Snowcapped mountains, blue skies above,
Soft colors of winter that we do love
Beauty, peace, so simply strong,
Relax, enjoy the wondrous song.

Mountain river sounds of rain,
Running wild cannot be tamed.
Beauty whirling to and fro,
Secret whispers we want to know.

Mother Nature at her peak,
Soft hands reaching, find and seek.
A rare gift for those who see,
The real treasures surrounding thee.

Water circling everywhere,
A touch of beauty oh so rare.
Be kind to nature and you will be,
Rewarded greatly, come and see.

Listen closely and you will hear,
The sounds of Spring are drawing near.

Deanna wins a $100 credit towards a 2009 Kern River rafting trip.  
Congratulations, Deanna.

More winter scenes on the beautiful Upper Kern

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

2009 Guide Training is Fast Approaching

Kern River Outfitters 2009 Guide Training is scheduled to launch on April 18th and run consecutively through April 23rd this year. With California rafting summer outings becoming more and more popular every year, increasing numbers of intrepid folks look to our guide training course to either improve their existing skills, or develop new ones from scratch. If you have an inclination to become a competent Southern California rafting guide, you still have an opportunity to sign up. In short order, you’ll be rafting the Kern River in style. Learn about Kern River rafting on the Lower Kern, Upper Kern and Forks of the Kern with the best in the business. Give our office a call at 1-800-323-4234 if you have any questions or would like more information.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring has Sprung in the Kern River Valley

The Kern River Valley hosts one of the most beautiful wildflower shows every year.  Thanks to the heavy rainfall we received in late February, all sorts of wildflowers are beginning to pop up all over the surrounding hills.  A prime viewing location for these flowers is the scenic drive up the Kern River canyon on highway 178 heading east out of Bakersfield.  Several of the Kern River Outfitters' staff members have been hiking and mountain biking the popular Kern Canyon trail to see the hills covered in almost every color of the rainbow.  California Poppies, Goldfields, Indian Paintbrush, Baby Blue Eyes, Fiddlenecks, and Lupine have made their way into thousands of acres along the banks and mountainsides of the Upper and Lower Kern River.  The mass spectacle of the wildflowers is a sure sign that the southern Californian whitewater rafting season on the Kern River will be one for the books.  As the low elevation snow starts to melt with the upcoming warm weather, be sure to check out a second wildflower show in the high sierra gateway to the Forks of the Kern.