MyOutdoorBuddy.com Outdoor News Regional Directory
New Feature

Click on Columnists  to access travelogues, field reports, advice, humorous tales and answers to your Q’s! 





Products-Services


Website of the Week

                                




Kayak Camping in California

 Alex Huntash, KayakCritic.net , author photo, myoutdoorbuddy.com

By Alex Huntash, KayakCritic.net
03/13/15 -- Outdoor recreation is more popular than ever. Every weekend cheerful families and day-trippers migrate to parks and wilderness areas. They are all after the same thing: peaceful union with nature. A trip to the woods offers relaxation unmatched by any yoga studio or meditation clinic. There’s nothing like spending time alone, or with a few close friends, undisturbed in the wilderness, just you and the stars.

Of course, the problem is that as camping becomes more popular, the areas we flock to for solitude become more crowded. It’s harder than ever to find a place to be alone in the woods. And isn’t that the point?

Why Travel with a Kayak?
Thankfully, the nation’s rivers, lakes, and shorelines still offer untouched territory. Most people travel to their destinations by car, then embark on a hike of two, five, maybe ten miles. Easy access guarantees these places will be crowded every weekend of the year.

Traveling across water is more difficult, and therefore brings fewer visitors. A river of forty or fifty miles may have three or four access points by road. But every inch of that river may provide scenic spots for picnicking or camping, far from any road. This all adds up to mean that the intrepid kayaker has wide opportunities to find isolated wilderness. Kayaking allows you to glide through natural areas silently, within yards of native wildlife, often without ever breaking a sweat.

A group of happy kayak campers saying hi to the camera. Photo courtesy of Headwaters Adventures, Redding, CA
Camping with a group is also fun and gives the kayakers a chance to learn from others and to develop lasting relationships. Photo courtesy of Headwaters Adventures, Redding, CA

Kayak Camping
At first, camping in a kayak can be a little off-putting. Loading gear for a few days into a tiny boat then bumping your way down a swift-moving river? First timers feel sure their boat will tip, spilling all their precious gear into the river. Like any outdoor sport, though, with preparation, almost anybody can take to the river.

First off, you need the right boat. “Recreational” or “sea” kayaks are the ones to look for. These boats are long (11’ to 16’) with lots of space and are very stable. Most of your equipment is similar to backpacking or car camping -- a tent, sleeping bag, some kind of camp stove, food, and water. The only addition, really, is large watertight bags to stuff everything in. Throw the bags in the kayak’s hull, or strap them on top, and off you go.

Where to Kayak?
Northern California
Northern California boasts a multitude of places to kayak camp, freshwater and marine. With mountains means streams and rivers that run into lakes, and hundreds of miles of coastlines, there are plenty of shore and island trips to keep a kayaker busy for decades!

Clear Lake State Park, located near Kelseyville, is the place to start. At 44,000 acres, with 100 miles of shoreline, it’s California’s largest lake.

A great trip is from Aurora RV Park (Lucerne) to Clear Lake State Park. Park and launch your kayaks at the RV park then enjoy the seven mile trip across Clear Lake. Bring a GPS unit and check out maps beforehand, as you’ll be paddling across open water. For the night, choose one of the campsites at Kelsey Creek campground.

Trinity River, in the Six Rivers National Forest, offers more challenging whitewater kayaking and camping opportunities, too. Put in off Highway 3 near Tangle Blue Creek. You can enjoy Class 3 and 4 rapids over the next eleven miles, ending at Trinity River campground. However, you should be experienced. My advice is to get lots of local information before setting off. You may also wish to hire a local guide who knows this stretch. Make safety your #1 priority as help may be far away.

Choose one of the primitive campsites then continue downstream the next day for a calmer five miles to the headwaters of Trinity Lake, taking out on Highway 3 near Trinity Lake KOA.

MacKerricher State Park offers a variety of habitats: beach, bluff, headland, dune, forest and wetland. Tidepools are along the shore. Seals may be seen on the rocks off the park’s coastline. Photo courtesy of the City of Fort Bragg
MacKerricher State Park offers a variety of habitats: beach, bluff, headland, dune, forest and wetland. Tidepools are along the shore. Seals may be seen on the rocks off the park’s coastline. Photo courtesy of the City of Fort Bragg

A saltwater trip for intrepid kayaker is from Mackerricher State Park (Fort Bragg) to Van Damme State Park (Caspar). This is fifteen miles of ocean paddling, so here again you must be prepared and experienced. You’ll be rewarded with striking views of California’s beaches against a mountainous backdrop. Bring a GPS and preload the coordinates for the state park (as well as emergency take-outs). You’ll actually paddle up the Little River about a half-mile to reach the campground.

Whether you’re looking for an easy afternoon float, or a multi-day trip, Northern California's waters have it all.

Southern California
Kayaking is gaining popularity across the nation, and southern California is no exception. The area hosts abundant opportunities to get out and paddle, with state and national parks, U.S. Forest Service areas, and national forests.

Kayak camping is great for small rivers or any size lake. When paddling a river, it’s important to plan ahead and have a car or person to pick you up at the end of your trip, since paddling upstream is not an option. There are several outfitters around SoCal, such as Southwind in Newport Beach and Irvine. They are a reputable outfitter I’ve had great experiences with, and can take a lot of the headache out of planning your trip.

A camper sitting under a tree along the lake shore edge, his orange and gray tent setup nearby. Photo courtesy of Headwaters Adventures
If you come prepared you may be able to enjoy a great experience in solitude. Photo courtesy of Headwaters Adventures

Or, do a little research and head out for one of the many public spots around SoCal to kayak. This area is unique in the amount of ocean paddling it offers. You can load up your kayak then hit the ocean and paddle up the coastline in search of a good camping or fishing spot.

The Santa Monica Mountains, just west of Los Angeles, is a great place to kayak camp. Point Mugu State Park, on the north end of the mountains, is probably the best choice for sea kayakers because it is located right on the shoreline. The park offers great camping opportunities from group camping to hike-in sites located a short distance along a trail. Leo Carrillo State Park is also located right on the coast. It has a family camping area and a few hike-in sites. Find more information about the Santa Monica mountains here.

The Channel Islands are located west of the Santa Monica Mountains. These five islands offer an absolutely pristine marine environment. Their separation from the mainland has allowed wildlife on the island to develop independently of the mainland, meaning these islands have a very unique array of flora and fauna. Be warned, though: traveling across open-ocean in a kayak is for the experienced paddler only. Navigation can be difficult and weather can turn on you pretty quickly.

If you don’t think you’re up for the open ocean paddle, consider traveling to the islands in a powerboat and bringing kayaks and gear along. That allows you to safely reach the islands, but still enjoy the pleasurable paddling opportunities around and in between the five islands.

Channel Islands National Park is one of the most impressive sites in southern California. Each island has a designated camp area where you can spend the night. Park regulations are strictly enforced to make sure this pristine environment remains untouched and unsullied by park visitors. Read more about this amazing place, and make camping reservations at this page.

These are just a couple kayak camping opportunities in California. Part of the fun of planning a camping trip is finding your own favorite spot. Use maps and national park to research camping and paddling areas and find a place that best suits you. There are even a few books out there. My favorite is PADDLE ME: A Flat-Water Kayak and Canoe Guidebook for Central and Southern California by Janice Green.

Basic Tips for Camping with a Kayak

· Get waterproof gear. Most kayaks have a hold that manufacturers claim to be waterproof. They’re not. Buy large waterproof bags and look for waterproof clothing and gear.

· Try out kayaks before you buy. There are many different kayaks out there with different features and designs. Don’t go out and buy the first one you find on sale. Rent kayaks to try different styles and see what works best for you.

· Ease in to kayak camping. Don’t start with a 30-mile trip with class V rapids. Try an overnight trip on a calm lake first, just to work out the kinks in your camping methods. Slowly work up to longer trips on more exciting bodies of water.

· Research and prepare. I can’t stress this enough. When your GPS gets wet, or when your map blows away in the wind, you still have to get home. Make sure you know the area you’re kayaking in well, and make sure someone knows where you’re going and when. I enjoy reading about different destinations, so I’m usually researching a spot for months before I actually go.

Southern California is really an outdoor lovers’ paradise. Hundreds of outdoor recreation destinations lie within just a few miles of some of the nation’s largest cities. Of course, being so close and convenient means these places are often packed with other people. And if running into other people (or their dogs or their music or their litter) spoils your camping trip, tossing your gear into a kayak and paddling out to a secluded spot may be the just the thing for you.

Anyway, if you want to know anything about the wildest waters to ride or which type of kayak is best as your vessel of choice. Let me know!

Alex Huntash is the editor of KayakCritic.net, a site dedicated to reviewing all types of kayaks as well as kayak accessories and gear. He also offers advice regarding traveling and camping with kayaks. His reviews and recommendations can be found at his website. He can be reached by email at alex@kayakcritic.net.

More Outdoor News

Game Wardens and Ghost Towns

All that’s left of the ghost town of Newville are the remains of this service station. I remember the old hand-pump gas tank still being out front during the 1960s; it’s gone now. Photo by Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
12/02/16 -- Out of beer and three sheets to the wind, the three deer poachers turned west on Newville Road and headed northeast toward Paskenta. Rounding the first bend, they passed the ghost town of Newville. Newville had thrived...Full Story

The Most Beautiful Duck in North America

The drake mallard, with its iridescent green head., by Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan 
11/05/16 -- Ask any waterfowl enthusiast to name the most beautiful duck in North America, and he or she will most likely point to the brilliant, multicolored, drake wood duck (Aix sponsa). Others might claim that the iridescent green head of...Full Story

ODFW Weekly Recreation Report

09/29/16 -- Oregon’s most popular hunting season opens statewide Oct. 1. Don’t forget to pick up your tag by Sept. 30. Forecast rain could make it a good opener in some areas; see the reports below for more information. Don’t forget to...Full Story

An Island of Our Own

Western Toad, by kathy callan
On Patrol, by Steven T. Callan
09/23/16 -- Over the years, Kathy and I have often dreamed of escaping today’s fast-paced, hectic world and moving to an island of our own—an island of trees, flowers, and abundant wildlife, where we could experience the joys of...Full Story

Rafting and Reflecting on the American

Rafting on the American River, by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
06/12/16 -- When I looked at the list of outdoor activities for this year’s Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) spring conference, a rafting trip down the American River practically jumped off the page...Full Story

​In Search of the Elegant Trogon

Male hooded oriole in pomegranate tree, photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
05/18/16 -- I’ve always been fascinated with birds, but I really became hooked on bird-watching, or birding, as it’s often called, during the mid-seventies when I was a rookie Fish and Game warden down on the Colorado...Full Story

The Mudhen King

Don Webster, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
04/22/16 -- There has been a time or two during my life when having some knowledge and experience with the outdoor world has come in handy. Especially job handy. As in monetarily handy. I remember one such occasion...Full Story

Hite Cove

hand holding fish, by phil akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
03/21/16 -- Revered by the Ahwahneechee, later congressionally designated as a Wild and Scenic River, the South Fork Merced originates on the southern slope of Triple Divide Peak in Yosemite National Park. Part of the Clark ...Full Story

​A Letter to Ted Trueblood

Ted Trueblood, photo courtesy of Don Webster
By Don Webster
01/28/16 -- Although you probably know what’s on my mind, I think you understand that it’s important for me to tell you anyway. You, Corey Ford, Nash Buckingham, Robert Ruark, and Ernest Hemingway were writers who wrote... Full Story

Flat tires! Are They Undetectable?

Example of what happens to a flat tire driven at freeway speed and possibly ten miles distance, photo by Don Stec
By Don Stec
11/02/15 -- Modern vehicles handle very well. So it is understandable when some people tell us they did not notice one tire was flat and drove several miles on the flat, destroying the tire. The first time I had heard this... Full Story

Poaching in the Parks

A stately bull elk in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Photo by Kathy Callan
By Steven T. Callan
08/29/15 -- The recent killing of Hwange National Park’s beloved icon, Cecil the Lion, has brought to mind a number of outrageous poaching incidents that occurred right here in California -- all of them inside national parks, state parks... Full Story

Those Wonderful Wildlife Caregivers

Steven T. Callen with one of three orphaned black bear cubs, circa 1981. Photo courtesy of Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
07/18/15 -- One of the more disheartening, sometimes discouraging aspects of a wildlife officer’s job is dealing with injured, orphaned, or imprinted wildlife that cannot be released back into the wild. Wildlife rehabilitation facilities, most of... Full Story

Caribou Wilderness

Susan Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
06/01/15 -- Adjacent to the eastern border of Lassen Volcanic National Park is a remote volcanic plateau on the eastern slopes of what was once Mt. Tehama. Cinder cones, crater peaks, old-growth forest, and azure lakes make up... Full Story

A Jewel in the Desert

Once coveted by the pet trade, native reptiles, like this chuckwalla, may no longer be sold in California. Photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
05/25/15 -- In late April, before summer set in, Kathy and I decided to spend a few days in the land of blistering sands and sharp thorns. I had worked in the California desert during my early years with the California Department of Fish... Full Story

Don’t kill them all! Some snakes are good!

Indigo snake
By Captain William E. Simpson
04/27/15 -- Most survivalists and Preppers spend a good deal of time outdoors as do many other Americans. Many people have a healthy fear of snakes, and given the fact that there are several species of venomous snakes that are...Full Story

Marijuana Wars and the California DFW

ish and Wildlife Warden Jerry Karnow with suspected poisoned bear at an illegal marijuana grow site. Photo courtesy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden Jerry Karnow
By Steven T. Callan
04/16/15 -- Just after daylight in September 2014, four California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers and four Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies quietly locked their vehicles and began what was to be an arduous hike... Full Story

‘Preppers’ & Disaster Preparedness Myths

Life is hard... it's even harder if you're stupid, John Wayne
By Capt. William E. Simpson
04/14/15 -- We live in a world where civilization, reason and logic are said to be at historic heights, yet so many people today, especially our youth, are making new lows in relevant intelligence and labor under a host of myths and illusions...Full Story

A Happy Dog is a Panting Dog

Pup, Phil Akers, A Happy Dog is a Panting Dog
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
04/07/15 -- Bigfoot’s number one pet is the wolverine but for us humans it’s the canine. Americans are projected to spend $60 billion this year on pets! A large portion of this goes to dogs. We all love our dogs and generally...Full Story

Show Respect and Pass Through Quietly

Butte Valley Wildlife Area with Mount Shasta in background, photo by Kathy and Steven Callan
By Steven T. Callan 
03/05/15 -- “Quick, roll up the windows!” said Kathy. We had just entered the ten-mile auto tour route at Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, when four cars roared by us like we were standing still. Pulling to the side of the road...Full Story

Tactical Survival Axe, AKA: ‘The Bruiser’

USMC Tactical Survival Axe, AKA: ‘The Bruiser’, photo by William E. Simpson
Article and photos by Capt. William E. Simpson
02/24/15 -- I am not an expert with edged weapons, even though I have a trunk-load of them, including the old Buck hunting knife that my Dad gave me when I was a teenager many moons ago. So with that said, I wanted to share...Full Story

Hot Stove

blue lake surrounded by gray snow peaked mountains with green grass meadow in the foreground. Photo by Phil Flip Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
02/24/15 -- Much like fantasy baseball, winter is the “hot stove” season for high elevation wilderness adventures. It is time to study and plan for the upcoming summer. But instead of preparing to draft players, we find...Full Story

A Problem Requiring a Different Approach

A humungous crowd of people.
By Captain William E. Simpson, USMM
02/08/15 -- Most survival strategies and related tactics used today draw upon the methods that were used or which worked in past small-scale localized and regional disasters, and will likely work again to some extent in similar...Full Story

Getting Kids Hooked

Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
01/06/15 -- Now, more than ever, we need to get our kids involved in the outdoors. Many kids are becoming softer and lazier with each generation, losing touch with nature, depending on technology to instantly learn everything, presumably...Full Story

Survival Using RVs

Silver mobile home with striped awning, parked on a grassy field alongside a river with forested hills leading up to snow capped mountains. Photo by William E. Simpson
Article and photos by William E. Simpson
12/26/14 -- Over the past year many people have reached-out to me asking the same question; ‘What can people do to survive a catastrophic event besides sailing to an island on a bug-out boat? This was of course a natural... Full Story

For the Love of Ducks

Snow geese at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. photo by Steven T. Callan
Article and photos by Steven T. Callan
12/23/14 -- With the north wind blowing off snow-covered Mount Shasta, it was brutally cold that December afternoon in 1960. Sitting in the back seat of our family car, I spotted an enormous flock of snow-white birds feeding in the... Full Story

Disaster Preparedness Strategies – Part II

NASA image depicting solar storm impacting earth’s geomagnetic field.
By Capt. William E. Simpson, USMM
11/25/14 -- Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of Disaster Preparedness articles written by Capt. William E. Simpson, USMM. The first was an attempt to simplify the subject of disaster preparedness by focusing on risk...Full Story

Disaster Preparedness Strategies – Part I

Preparedness & Survival by Capt. William E. Simpson
11/12/14 -- Over the past few years, disaster preparedness (“prepping”) has become a popular topic. A very large mix of people have begun preaching prepping, all having different motives for promoting their particular... Full Story

Making Friends With The Neighbors

Wild (feral) stallions competing - copyright Laura Simpson 2014
By William E. Simpson
10/14/14 -- There are few animals in nature that match the majestic beauty of a stallion running wild and free. They rule their territory by day and by night. Recently, my wife Laura and I decided to change adventures...Full Story

Ishi

 Newspaper headline from early August 1911. Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Bee.
By Phil 'Flip' Akers
10/08/14 -- Southwest of Mt. Lassen lies a remote and largely forgotten piece of Cascade foothill region. Dark basaltic cliffs and pinnacles adorn inhospitable river canyons, carved by what is now Mill and Deer Creeks, through bad...Full Story

Tall Trees and Emerald Waters

Kathy at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, beside one of the largest (redwood) trees on Earth., photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
10/06/14 -- Kathy and I recently attended the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) fall conference on the aptly-named Wild Rivers Coast. Stretching from Port Orford, Oregon to Klamath, California, the Wild.... Full Story

Lassen National Volcanic Park

Jim Broshears, Mt. Lassen view from Brokeoff Mountain
By Jim Broshears
07/21/14 -- Lassen National Park is one of the best kept secrets in the National Park system. It may be hard to call a place that has over 400,000 visitors a year a secret but compared to Yosemite’s 2.5 million and the 9.4...Full Story

Peak Bagging in Winter

Peak Bagging in Winter, Jim Broshears, Trailhead Adventures, Paradise, CA, MyOutdoorBuddy.com By Jim Broshears
02/11/13 -- Peak bagging, according to peakbagging.com/ refers to climbing mountains. When a summit is reached, it is “bagged”. You don’t have to go to exotic locations to enjoy this sport, or even be an elite mountain climber...Full Story

The Mystery of the Middle Fork – Part III

Jim Broshears, Trailhead Tales author badge for My outdoor buddy
By Jim Broshears
04/09/14 -- Our search for Tuck’s lost meadow continued in 2013. After three previous trips and multiple days of searching, you might be wondering why we don’t just call it a day. Or possibly question why we have not... Full Story

The 'Death Wobble' -- Be Safe Not Sorry!

Death Wobble, underbody of a vehicle, Don Stec
Article and photos by Don Stec
03/31/14 -- Death Wobble is not to be confused with a front-end shimmy or a wheel balance problem. A Death Wobble (DW) is very common on vehicles with a solid front axle. It has earned its name, not from mechanics but by vehicle... Full Story

The Mystery of the Middle Fork -- Part II

Article and photos by Jim Broshears
03/10/14 -- Our return to the Middle Fork of Feather River would take place in August of 2012. Having nearly 10 months to plan the next exploration, we, of course, waited until the last minute decide our course of action... Full Story

The Mystery of the Middle Fork -- Part I

The Mystery of the Missing Valley By Jim Broshears
Article and photos by Jim Broshears
02/15/14 -- Part #1 Exploring the Middle Fork of the Feather River -- Stories about hidden valleys, waterfalls, canyons and fishing are part of outdoor folklore. Most of these tales begin with “When I was a kid we went to this place” and...Full Story

 

Your outdoor adventures have only just begun
Northern California Fishing News, Northern California Hunting Reports

Fishing News

Northern California and Southern Oregon offer superb fresh and saltwater fishing. Before you make a trip, make sure you have
up-to-date news about where the fish are biting!

Hunting News

This region is also famous for its world-class hunting opportunities. Make sure you are armed with the absolute latest news by checking
the reports being filed daily at MyOutdoorBuddy.com.

Northern California Outdoor News, Northern California Outdoor Reports Outdoor News 

If you like to explore the great outdoors your choices are essentially infinite in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Use our news pages to plan your next outing!

Northern California Destination News, Northern California Destination Reports

Destinations

So many places to visit and so little time, but if you scan
these pages you'll know in advance what lies ahead and what
not to miss in the almost-mythical State of Jefferson.
Buddy Photos

You are there! Towering mountains, vast valleys, unique shorelines. Land, water and air bursting with life. Opportunity presents itself. Llghting is right. Click! An image is captured for the ages.

Photo Galleries, MyOutdoorBuddy.com

Photo Galleries

A preview of coming attractions...if you are planning a trip to this area be forewarned: What photographers have captured will whet your appetite for what will be an outdoor journey filled with wonders.  

Product & Services Directory

Don't let anything come between you and a wonderful weekend, vacation or or auto tour in this region. The fine product and services providers listed here will have what you need to enjoy your visit.  

Come back to MyOutdoorBuddy.com for more Northern California and Southern Oregon fishing, hunting and outdoor news, reports, information, opinions and photos.

Facebook

A friend to all who love the outdoors since 2006

Website Design Photo Credits: MyOutdoorBuddy.com thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of Tule-Lake.com, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Website Design by Anders Tomlinson

©Copyright 2005-2015 by Frank Galusha, Editor and Publisher. Articles and photos are copyright protected and are published exclusively on the Internet by the publisher and may not be copied, displayed, reproduced or published in any other form without the express written permission of same who reserves all rights. Material supplied by others is the copyrighted property of the respective authors. Re-use of any MyOutdoorBuddy content, graphics and photos without written permission by the author(s) for any purpose is strictly prohibited.