This past weekend I got to take a trip with my church young adults group. I go to Seaside Community Church in Huntington Beach and absolutely love it. Growing up in a non-Christian family, I never experienced the kind of love that the people at Seaside show, and that love is what led me to become a Christian… Anyways, Seaside has the best summer camps, and the young adults camp was at the Kern River in California. I had never heard of it before! Probably because its over by Bakersfield :p
We camped in the “Hobo Campground,” which was our first choice of where to stay on the river! It’s literally right next to the river, so when I woke up in the morning, the view was spectacular. I was there the last weekend of May and I was happy to realize that there was no mosquito problem! There are fire ants everywhere though! So make sure you have chairs to sit on while you’re around the fire. We also encountered a giant spider which was no fun :p
The site provided an outhouse that was very close to our camp site. It wasn’t the worst one I have been in, and there was always plenty of toilet paper in it, but it was an outhouse… and smelled like one. I’m not sure if the camp site provided showers because who actually showers when you’re camping on a river?!
We went white water river rafting down the river the whole next day! Luckily, someone knew someone who led rafting trips, so we didn’t have to go through a guide and rafting company. Our guide jokingly kept telling us that we were at the “Killer Kern.” While they went over safety, they scared us all so badly. Like my stomach hurt and I was questioning why I came on this trip. There’s a lot that can go wrong, so they had to make sure we knew what to do in a worst case scenario. My rafting partner, Abby, and I were the first to go down the rapids. And we spent the day going down the river heading back towards our camp site. We ended up completing over 6 hours of rafting… which I wouldn’t suggest for that extensive amount of time. It was so much fun though. The rapids weren’t too crazy. I think we experienced up to a class 3 rapid, but it didn’t seem bad. Out of the 12 boats of people we had, only 2 flipped over our 6 hour course!
The water levels were super low so we had to take 2 people kayak-type rafting boats instead of the normal rafting boats that fit 6 people. The low water levels made it more challenging because there were rocks sticking up everywhere! There was only one part where we had to get out and lift our boat over a rocky spot because there wasn’t enough water.
I would suggest this rafting trip for beginner rafters. I had gone rafting once before this trip, but it was when I was in middle school, so I’m not sure if that even counts. Most of the people on our trip had never been before and we all did fine! The rapids weren’t very big or scary. There were a lot of flat and scenic areas to just relax on.
Near our campsites, there are natural hot springs! I didn’t go because I was exhausted, but everyone that went really enjoyed them. It’s a 5 minute drive and then 10 minute walk from the campsite. There are a few different hot springs, all having different temperatures.
Overall, we throughly enjoyed our trip to the Kern River. The view was beautiful, the air was clean, and spending a weekend in nature and away from my cell phone is always my favorite. If you’re the camping type and want to try something new, the Kern River is the place to be!