River in January
To reach the Navarro, take Highway 128 a beautiful mountain
road twisting through the redwoods between Cloverdale and the Pacific,
passing state parks like Hendy Woods and Dimmick. CalTrans closed the
road in mid-January 2003 because the Navarro River was washing out campsites
and they feared that it would flood the road, but the level was down to
a nice 800 cfs by Sunday Jan. 19. It took about two hours to paddle the
eight miles from Dimmick State Park to the bridge at Route 1 (the drift-boat
The January high water scoured the weeds away, the the pea-soup green water was free flowing and cold, registering 6.74 on the gauge. "Three feet of water makes a big difference," said Howard Schultz, the stern paddler in our canoe. There were several herons, mergansers and unusual ducks, but the big thrill was seeing river otters in two different places. Their chittering calls make them easy to find, slithering like water-weasels in the side brush.
The winter sun only lights the river for a few hours around noontime, quickly disappearing behind the high trees and coastal ridge, and the cold wind from the ocean makes you feel the waves, turning the green water to lentil-brown as it gets colder.
is a Class IV paddler and he rated this a Class I run, but there were
about three places where Anet, a Class I bow paddler was very grateful
not to be the one steering. The drive through the redwoods was beautiful,
and Boonville is an interesting place to stop for a bite to eat. This
was a fun day trip.