Thursday, July 29, 2010

Clear Skies Return To The Kern River Valley

Photo by Brett Duxbury:
The "Bull Fire" that raged through the Upper Kern Canyon only a couple of days ago has moved away from the Kern Valley. This photograph, taken a few hours ago, clearly shows the area north of Kernville scarred by the blaze.

Contrary to recent reports, the sky above is crystal clear and beautiful. Although this fire is still burning in the back country, the Kern River Valley's picture perfect blue sky has returned. Nature's recovery efforts are already in full swing and our trips on the Lower Kern River are running uninhibited by the recent event. Still flowing at levels around 2,000cfs, the Lower Kern is the perfect place to spend a couple of days with friends and family. The water's great, the air is clear, and the scenery is fabulous. Call 1-800-323-4234 to check for availability and reserve your seat in our whitewater playground.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kern Valley's "Bull Fire" Moving North; Rafting Trips Unaffected by Fire

The "Bull Fire" that started just over 48 hours ago in the Bull Run Creek drainage adjacent to the Upper Kern River has moved north and away from the towns of Kernville and Riverkern. Although the residents of these two communities seem to be safe from the immediate threat, the community of Fairview is now in the cross hairs of the fire. With a little luck, and a lot of hard work from the men and women fighting the fire, Fairview will be spared.

Although this fire has caused some logistical changes, it hasn't caused any problems for folks running our Lower Kern trips. The water is better than ever on the Lower Kern and folks are having a blast on the river. The smoke caused by the first day of the fire has already cleared from the Kern Valley.

Here are some photographs of the amazing men, women and machines that offer lightening quick response when fire threatens. Our hats are off to all of them.

Line up of fire trucks in Kernville

"Sky Crane" helicopter scoping the scene

Water Bomber pulling up after a drop

Helicopter making the drop

Bridget and crew having a great time today on the Lower Kern River

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Outfitter Provides Comfortable Camping Options on Multi-Day Kern River Rafting Trips

Kern River Outfitters’ Campground on the Lower Kern River is a Far Cry From “Roughing It”

If it’s the “camping” part of a multi-day rafting trip that has deterred you from enjoying one of California’s best whitewater river trips, Kern River Outfitters has the solution. With a luxurious campground located approximately halfway down the twenty mile section of river rafted on their two-day trips, Kern River Outfitters provides customers with amenities that make the camping experience a far cry from “roughing it”.

Kern River Outfitters, which last year was recognized by National Geographic as one of the “Best Travel Companies on Earth”, has distinguished their Kern River rafting trip experience by focusing on quality and customer service. “We enhance the camping experience by having an overnight camp that pampers customers with redwood sleeping decks, extra-thick camp mattresses, solar lights, outstanding cuisine, and beautiful views of the river,” said Keith Stephens, general manager of Kern River Outfitters.

The Lower Kern River, which is often touted as the premier multi-day rafting trip in California, will offer substantial water flows for rafting trips into mid-September. Reservations are required and trip space is limited to 30 people. For more information on rafting on the Kern River or to reserve your space, call Kern River Outfitters at 1-800-323-4234 or visit

Monday, July 12, 2010

Guide Profile: Bridget Murphy

Bridget joined our team after graduating from our guide training in April of 2009. She hails from New York City and attended the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. She received a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics in the spring of 2008. In addition to her academic pursuits, Bridget was a scholarship athlete for the University of Rhode Island's NCCA Division One Varsity Gymnastics team.

Bridget has flourished in her second year on the Kern. Her guiding skills are second to none and she is a frequent request by guests running our Lower Kern Two Day trips. In addition to her outstanding guiding skills, Bridget has made a name for herself by demonstrating perfect handstands at camp and headstands on her raft in the calm sections of the river. We're happy to announce that Bridget is going to be guiding trips through the first part of September this year. If you would like to request Bridget, give our office a call at 1-800-323-4234 and we will make every effort to schedule her on your trip.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Guide Profile: Darby Vreven

Darby Vreven is one of those rare guides blessed with phenomenal experience, poise, talent, athleticism, and a sunny, outgoing personality. He started guiding on the Kern in 1982 and has seen the Kern River run at levels many just dream about. In 1983, the Isabella spillway overflowed and the Lower Kern ran in excess of 7,500 CFS (cubic feet per second). Darby was one of only a handful of guides who ran the Lower Kern at these impossible levels and has some tall tales of his exploits that day in the Lower Kern Canyon. He is a veteran of two Iron Man Triathlons and has recently retired as a special education teacher for Kernville Elementary here in the Kern Valley.

Darby has been the lead instructor for our spring guide trainings over the past few years. His love of guiding and high degree of experience has enabled him to pass on invaluable skills to our guide trainees. He's pictured here running an oar boat through Carson Falls rapid on the Forks of the Kern last weekend. When not on the water, you can find Darby running with his faithful golden retriever, Solar, or mountain biking on the trails that crisscross the Kern Valley.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Casa Colina's Annual Lower Kern Trip

Every year, Kern River Outfitters hosts a group of rafters from Casa Colina Rehabilitation Center on our Two Day Lower Kern trip. Guide Kristen Finstad is pictured above coming through Possum Rapid with a boatload of grinning guests from last year's Casa Colina trip. Anne Johnson, founder and director of Casa Colina's Outdoor Adventures program, organizes this group every year. This inspiring group makes up one of the most rewarding trips we run every year. Today is day two of their 2010 Lower Kern trip. We'll post photos of this year's trip when they come off the water this afternoon.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Magic Eight Ball: What Should Everyone Do This Week?

If you are like the other million-plus folks out there wondering exactly what to do with yourself over the next few days we have great news for you. We've taken the guess work, planning, and decision making difficulties and used our office's Magic Eight Ball to help you find the answer to the century old question of "What Should I Do?"

After shaking and rolling the Magic Eight Ball across the floor the answer shined proud and true: "Go Rafting on the Kern River" it read. We took a photo to post here so you can see the Magic Eight Ball for yourself. To heed its advice simply pick up your phone and give us a call at 1-800-323-4234.

This coming week has plethora of trip options: Double Licketies, Half-Day, and Full-Day trips on the Upper Kern River; One and Two-Day trips on the Lower Kern; and of course the Three-Day trip on the Forks of the Kern (July 10th).

Friday, July 2, 2010

Forks of the Kern: July 10th, 11th, 12th

Pictured above is master guide Darby Vreven exiting from the "Thing" (the last hole in Carson Falls Rapid on the Forks). Darby is rowing a fully loaded gear boat on day three of the trip that came off the water last Sunday. It was absolutely glorious out there.

This season has seen almost unprecedented conditions on the Forks. With flows hovering around 2000cfs, the water conditions are as close to perfect as you will ever see, especially in July.

Chocked full of world class whitewater, Forks of the Kern is one of the nation's premier rafting trips. We have a trip slated to leave on Saturday, July 10th at 8:00am. This trip is one of our "Priority Dates" and features a reduced rate. Take a look at our interactive Forks of the Kern Map and get a tantalizing view of some of the scenery and rapids on this epic run.

If you would like more information, or would like to make a reservation for this trip of a lifetime, give our office a call at 1-800-323-4234 and we'll arrange your trip on this Wild and Scenic whitewater adventure.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Half-Day Lower Kern Trips (Class II-III)

One of our lesser-known trips is the Half-Day Lower Kern. This trip is great for those who are looking for a pleasant mix of the Lower Kern's stunningly beautiful river canyon as well as mellower whitewater than some of our other full-day and half-day trips. The whitewater on the Half-Day Lower Kern trip is class II and III, which means it is perfect for inexperienced paddlers or those who simply want a relaxing float.

The Half-Day Lower Kern meets at 1:00 p.m. at our rafting center. Trips typically get off the water around 5:00 and are back at our base by 5:30. In total, we raft about 6 miles and run dozens of class II and a handful of class III rapids.

In 2010 we are offering Half-Day Lower Kern trips on the following dates: July 4th, July 31st, August 1st, August 7th, and August 8th. If you would like to join us on this wonderful stretch of river, give us a ring at 1-800-323-4234. Click here to download the Half-Day Lower Kern trip notes.