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Kern River

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Kern River

Postby firebirdflys » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:01 pm

For some reason I'm feeling really nostalgic about this place where I spent most of my summertime and weekends as a youth. My parents had bought a small piece of property near Lake Isabella in 1964. I remember thinking what the heck, this place is far from everything. We had to drive the worst road in California to get there...The Kern River Canyon.
At the mouth of the canyon where the terrible road starts is a sign warning people about the hazards of the Kern River and the amout of lives lost. I've watched the number on that sign grow from like 6 or 7 to beyond 280 over the years (not sure of how may now), a serious testament to the power of this particular stretch of Water.
Like any other body of moving water, it has hidden currents and undertows that most folks aren't aware of. It is enhanced by the gorge it flows through and the giant boulders that dot and line the river. I seen years where there is barely a trickle flowing by, to roaring rapids no one in their right mind would get near. Save for the kayakers.
Then there are other times where it appears to be just a beautiful benign meandering body of water. That's where the dangers of this element come into play.

Maybe I'm writing this because summer is starting and people will want to get wet when the heat is on.
Be careful, just because one has swam a particular ocean or river in the past doesn't mean it will be the same next time.
It is the nature of the Lady, She Changes.

Some precautions
Know your physical limits firstly. This is probably the most important, I almost drown in the ocean one year when I hadn't been physically active enough to be body surfing like I used to, A giant set of waves ripped off my fins and within seconds I was sucked into the rip current. If you shouldn't be in beyond your toes, listen to yourself. If you don't know how to swim, learn.
Next is read the water. She is a sensuous being, if you are to interact with her watch how she moves before you jump in. Any good surfer does this prior to cowabunga but rivers can be just as tricky. At the Kern River there is an added danger...the rocks have been polished to a fine sheen, many of the people who loose their lives here is due to slipping off the rocks.
Something I think that gets overlooked is letting someone know when and where you plan to swim, even when there are other people present, all must be on guard. Keep an eye out on your fellow human. When my step son was about 6yrs old he was swept away by a rouge wave at a steep beach while standing right next to his father, the swift action of a fellow beach goer saved the kids life.
I should mention however but it happens, do be careful when the need arises to save another, so frequently the rescuer is the one who drowns.
Never rely on an inflatable device. Use only USCG approved floatation apparatus, ie; jackets or ring. Water wings are fun for a child but be right there in case they fail.
For more on water safety go here:
https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-t ... afety.html

Have fun recreating in the fluid that is our body! :D but remember her powers to give as well as take life. :|

The Kern River is what got me started on this, My local radio station (KLOS: Jonesy's Jukebox) played the sad song by Merle Haggard the other day (ah!, thus the nostalgia) so be sure to give a listen to this iconic country singer and his song about the Kern River.
I had so much fun here swimming, fishing and camping in the 60's, 70's and 80's, then my parents sold the property and I have only visited a few times since, most recently 2016 where I preformed a handfasting ceremony at Peppermint Creek, a tributary to the Kern.
For more information about this amazing and magical waterway see this:

Tragedy continues
Most recent news for this river in the last week is 3 people missing and presumed dead.
An important message for Kern river goers this year.

Kern River/ Merle Haggard
We remember when Merle Haggard built his large estate there near the mouth of the canyon, a timbered arch at the entry hung a sign that read "Hags Place", I knew we were soon to hit the curvy road :annoyed:
The river bordered his property and this sad song was unfortunately inspired by tragedy there.
"I may cross on the hwy but I'll never swim Kern river again."

Car sick?
***an example of the terrible road, I was getting sick just watching the clip!, LoL***

Two views of Kern river (lower canyon)
This was a good view of the river. It's interesting to note what appears to be a little road chiseled out on the left side of the river is the old gold mining rails, you can see a pile of tailings (small rock rubble) also on the left just before and at the end of this clip

And this is a month or so after the flood in 2017, the verdant growth of late winter early spring.

Peppermint Creek area
Before my daughter was born this was a favorite place for husband and I to get away from it all. It got pretty crowded over the years and this particular spot was a favorite for many folks. Lots of people getting drunk and crazy but it was always a fun time. It could get pretty hot up in the Peppermint Creek area and the slides were a welcome relief after the long hike to get there. Unfortunately when I was there in 2016 we didn't make the trek back to this place.
This guys video is a bit long but there were so many to choose from.

Blessings Lady Kern,
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