Originally Posted by mrdecember
Planning a high sierra trip this summer and wondering if folks have advice for an overnighter on the Tuolumne. Have always heard great things about this river! Will be rowing a 13' gear boat next to a bunch of buddies in kayaks/duckies. End of June. What's it like? What to watch out for?
The Tuolumne makes for one of the best multi-day trips in California. I can almost guarantee you will have 1100 CFS at the end of June. And like studytime said, you will be rafting on a 4 hour release, or bubble- it's super important to stay on the bubble and not fall behind.
The river itself is pool drop, shallow and technical at that level. You'll be shipping your oars quite a bit. Rock Garden is honestly the biggest challenge in a gear boat. To repeat studytime again, Sterns does have a helicopter move where you pivot behind a midstream boulder, or end up going for a ride through the Squeeze. Clavey is straight forward, but I've seen a few private trips wrap on the side of the drop. Stop to scout it on river right.
Bring a comprehensive wrap kit and know how to use it. The T is not super difficult at low water levels, but it can become so when rowing a heavy gear boat.
My biggest pieces of advice:
Please do not try to impose on a commercial trip and follow them. They are on their own timeline that they need to stick to. Plus, max trip size is 6 boats and 27 people. If you need to, watch their lines through Rock Garden from Lumsden Road.
There is a brand new put-in ramp. It's barely wide enough for two rigs, so try to keep everything tidy.
Pack as light as you can, the take-out at Wards Ferry is a bitch without a boom truck.
It's going to be hot as all hell, and the meat bees will be fierce.
Private camps this year, if I'm not mistaken, are Clavey Right, Indian and Mohican. Call the USFS Groveland office to check that, as well as get your permit.
You will have to wait for the bubble each morning. It gets to Indian (7.5 miles downstream) about noonish.
There's no cell service at all. Sat phones will of course work, and there are about 3 different places to hike out. Not very fun though. So bring a good med kit.
Do not leave vehicles at Wards Ferry overnight- they will be broken into and vandalized. You'll see the rusty wrecks of cars in the water just before the bridge. A paid shuttle is well worth it, call Darrel at Tuolumne River Shuttles: 209-559-4605. You'll meet him at Casa Loma the morning of your trip.
I'm sure I've forgotten a few things. Enjoy!