Sunday, November 21, 2010

The McCleod River

A few weeks ago I spent a Saturday and Saturday night up the McCleod River. It's about 2.5 hours from our home, and is accessed through the Shasta Lake launch at Centimudi launch ramp (Shasta Recreation Company). I went alone as this was a weekend that Lee Ann was at the Christian womens retreat, and there were nice people who assisted me with both launching and retrieving Kokomo (I can launch it alone, but I need help lining it up to the trailer to retrieve it; I suppose someday I'll have to try doing that alone).

After launching, securing the parking pass, and casting off, I realized that the water underneath the boat was crystal clear. I could see to the bottom of it (the depth sounder read 46 feet deep) with fish in between. I hadn't been on Shasta Lake for some years, and it was every bit as beautiful (maybe more so since it was still up around the 3/4 mark in October). So I made for the Pitt River and spent the night on the hook there, just getting in to a cove before dark. The next day I had breakfast at Bridge Bay Marina (met Jim there, and we talked at length about the boat; sent him contact info for Les) and headed up the McCleod. NOTE: For those who aren't familiar with Shasta Lake, there are three rivers feeding into it. They are the Sacramento, McCleod and Pitt Rivers. There are also numerous creeks (including Squaw Creek which makes up it's own arm) and brooks that feed into the lake, but the rivers are what made it when the dam was built.

The McCleod is beautiful and unspoiled. There are a few boat-in campgrounds and a wilderness boat ramp available, but on a sunny day in October, I passed three boats in some 14 miles of cruising. The rest of the trip was wilderness. The miriad of wooded coves available to the prepared boater is endless, and the buttes and bluffs, cliffs and promontories all seem like they're worth a photo (didn't take any, of course - I was too busy enjoying the scenery!). As I proceeded up the river, it grew smaller, and about the time I was carefully watching my depth sounder (it had dropped below the alarm level of 10 feet), signs of civilization and the McCleod River Bridge came into view. A few months earlier, I'd have been able to make it to the bridge to turn around, but I thought better of that as rocks began to appear around me and the depth sounder broke 5 feet. I turned around about 200 yards from the bridge, found a cove about 3 miles downriver, dropped an anchor, and had lunch.

That night I proceeded about half the way back to the junction of I-5 and Bridge Bay Marina (where friends Bill and Jo keep 'Angel', their Crestliner patio boat), and at about sunset, laid an anchor down and called it a night in a quiet cove about a million miles from nowhere. A peaceful night later, I went swimming in the lake (first time swimming off the boat) and lay on the roof to let the sun warm me (it was a bit chilly in the water; the temp reading was 66F). I could have stayed for days, but I set a course for the Centimudi ramp, about 17 miles away and arrived home about an hour before Lee Ann got there.

NOTE: I received an e-mail from Harry Buckwalter noting that he'd had a 'Kokomo sighting'. He and his wife had seen me towing the boat home from Shasta. I hope to meet them some day. It turns out that they got an RF-246 Sedan Cruiser within a month or two of when we did ... and they live in the same county (Butte County) in the mountain town of Forbestown. They're retired, and have time to use their boat. I envy that, but am glad that we find the time to enjoy Kokomo, if not for longer trips, then well-chosen shorter ones.

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San Quentin Prison

San Quentin Prison
One of the more 'captivating' sites along the Corte Madera channel . Rowers from Corte Madera are practicing in the foreground.