Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Headwaters Adventure showcases Shasta

REDDING – Northern California’s newest kayak outfitter made a big splash last weekend with a three-day, three-lake tour of Shasta County that featured a flotilla of kayaks, spectacular scenery, and a memorable paddling camp experience. This one definitely made my "A" list.

Headwaters Adventure Company is the latest kayaking venture of the Arbuckle family. Son Dan started Headwaters in Lodi last year. Now parents Terri and Joe have opened their own

Launching from Lake Britton on Saturday

shop up north. For the last couple of years, they’ve hosted “Camp Arbuckle,” a weekend social event for friends and family. This year, they expanded the guest list to help kick off the grand opening of their business. More than 50 paddlers showed up for all or part of the weekend.

Above: practice session at Lake Britton; below: in the spirit of Yakstock, be sure and wear some algae in your hair

Dan Arbuckle gives mom Terri some tips on rolling 
Beautifully handcrafted yaks on display 
And what a grand weekend it was. Launching into expansive waterscapes against the snow-covered backdrop of Shasta and Lassen peaks. Paddling alongside the most impressively  handcrafted kayaks you’ve ever seen. Making new friends in the process. And eating (and eating, and eating) delicious meals in a beautiful, wooded camp. For me, this event will always be remembered as the Woodstock (Yakstock?) of Northern California kayaking.

The "other falls" near Lake Britton
The tour began Friday at Whiskeytown Lakefollowed by a barbecue in the parking lot of the new Headwaters Adventure shop. On Saturday, we caravanned to Lake Britton, best known for the beautiful 129-foot Burney FallsAfter a short hike, we enjoyed Britton’s “other falls,” then cooled off with a picnic lunch and impromptu skills session with Dan Arbuckle. A perfect day ended with a perfect evening as the Arbuckles hosted a camp barbecue with some grillin’ that left everyone grinnin’ – and groanin’ – from way too much good food.

Joe Arbuckle works the barbecue at shop's grand opening
Sunday began with a camp breakfast that highlighted Joe Arbuckle’s skills with a Dutch oven, which left us well-fortified for the trek to Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park, a remote and rugged spot in northeastern Shasta that can only be reached by water. Large trout cruised clear, cold waters and we got a feel for what this area of California must have been like hundreds of years ago. 
Ahjumawi offers spectacular view of Mt. Shasta; weed-wacker paddling, below

All three destinations offered unique scenery and memorable moments – it was like three separate adventures, my NorCal Yak pals agreed.  And way too much to recount in just one story. So look for more details in future posts. In the meantime, if you’ve never paddled in Shasta County, don’t miss the chance, especially during this unusual high-water season. Get a group of friends together and contact the Arbuckles to set up a kayaking trip that you’ll never forget.    
  © 2011 Glenn Brank