Dear Friends of MaLode,
What’s up for the 2023 season? Answer: Everything!
For the first time we are pleased to announce not just one, but two Guide Schools, along with the introduction of “Pack Rafting”, and a rowing instruction clinic. These new activities will compliment the return of a full schedule of Whitewater Rafting, Ziplining, Challenge Ropes, Outdoor Education and luxury camping at our beautiful riverside camp.
The Jedi Master, Greg Hawkins, Returns!
All this is made possible by the return of one of our favorite Managers of all time, Greg Hawkins, who managed our whitewater rafting program and helped us develop the Challenge Ropes Course and Outdoor Education Program from 2005-2011. Greg has a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and a Masters Degree in Education from Texas State University, where he ran the outdoor adventure program for a university with 39,000 students. Greg is returning to MaLode from over a decade of managing the extensive recreation facilities of our County’s water district. There is no more experienced or knowledgeable manager on the South Fork, and we are looking forward to the first signs of Spring to welcome everyone back to the river!
Guide School x 2
Those who have been asking will be pleased to hear the Weekend Guide School is back and has been scheduled on April 15-16, 22-23, 29-30. This school is designed to accommodate those with weekday jobs. The Weekday School will be held June 5th to 10th. Please give Greg a call at 530-626-4187, or fill out an application on line, so we can get you enrolled and moving toward becoming a professional river guide.
We are also pleased to announce that MaLode has acquired a new fleet of river craft ….”Pack” Rafts! These are small, light (some models weigh under 5 lbs), single person inflatables you can literally roll up and backpack into remote rivers. Our “Recon” rafts are equipped with such high tech features as self-bailing floors and thigh straps, allowing them to handle even difficult whitewater like a kayak. Our plan is to use their extreme stability and capability to facilitate learning whitewater skills in our existing programs. They will become part of the Guide School to allow students to encounter currents, eddies and hydraulics much more intimately than in our larger whitewater rafts. There is no better way to learn to read whitewater and navigate eddy lines than “paddling your own canoe” full time!
We will also use pack rafts in our “Riverskills” curriculum for Outdoor Education students where they will replace our heavier and less maneuverable inflatable kayaks. Similarly, the more adventurous members of groups enjoying the Family Float trip will have a new way to enjoy the Class II-III Lotus run. As the pack rafting program evolves, we look forward to using these boats to access remote rivers, mount canyoneering expeditions, and have all sorts of new fun……. so stay tuned!
Finally, for the first time we will be offering oarboat/rowing instruction in addition to our usual paddle rafting instruction in Guide School. Most guides realize that this training is particularly hard to get because it requires more expensive equipment and a higher instructor to student ratio. Nevertheless, we believe it is important to master rowing if you are to become a complete boater, and what better person to teach rowing than last year’s Head Guide, Keith Jardine, a veteran of rowing trips on the Class IV-V Tuolumne River and Cherry Creek!
As I write this an atmospheric river is delivering the water we will need. So get stoked, because it is going to be a great year and you should become part of it!
See you on the river,
Scott Underwood, Greg Hawkins, Keith Jardine and the MaLode team