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California
A Weekend Whitewater Expedition
"[The] Middle Fork Feather is the most spectacular and most difficult river in this book: 32 miles of Class V—and worse—rapids in a remote, steep-walled canyon," wrote Jim Cassady in his definitive rafting guide, California Whitewater (North Fork Press, 1995). One of the first in the United States to achieve Wild and Scenic River status (in 1962), the Feather is one of the last to lure a commercial outfitter courageous enough to lead clients down those near-continuous Class V+ rapids. In 2009 Sierra Mac, known for pioneering and perfecting the legendary Cherry Creek/Upper Tuolumne run, will be the first to maneuver paddle rafts through the Feather’s first three canyons, each one more technical than the last. "I’ve been boating since the 1960s, and this is the hottest thing I’ve encountered," says Sierra Mac owner Marty McDonnell. The put-in is a straight shot 140 miles northeast of San Francisco. The four-day trip starts with six-foot drops through volcanic-rock chutes lined with cedar forest. The river then narrows and steepens through metamorphic bedrock and ends in Devil’s Canyon, which passes through a thousand-foot wall of granite. "Those few who successfully negotiate this river will share the wilderness adventure of a lifetime," Cassady promised.

Outfitter: Sierra Mac River Trips; sierramac.com
Price: $1,800
Length: 4 days
Departs: May–June

Next: New Mexico: Into a Billionaire’s Playland

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