We drove up to the Lower Kern to get in one last trip for the season. Unfortunately, they reduced the flow Friday afternoon, and we made the questionable decision to go anyway on Saturday morning. Hardshell kayaks and IK were doing OK, but it was a tough trip for the rafters. It was taking much longer than anticipated, some folks had run out of drinking water, it was getting late, so at 5:30 pm we decided to leave the boats at the top of Deadman's Curve, hike out, retrieve the vehicles, and come back and finish Sunday morning. Came back Sunday to find all our boats stolen, an old 16' Avon Pro bucket boat w/ 6 paddles, an blue Aire IK with foam floor, a 2010 Blue/green/white Jackson Fun, and a yellow Wavesport EZ, along with throw ropes, pin kits, float bags, etc. It seems extremely unlikely that anyone would have carried all that up the steep hill to the freeway. However, there is a private river camp just below the rapid, on the other side of the river. It seems most likely that someone was watching from that side of the river, saw us all hiking out, went down and loaded all the kayaks in the raft, paddle across above the rapid, and drove the gear out from there. I can't believe that anyone associated with a professional river running company would do such a thing, but you could see that people have driven around the gate in the past, so it wouldn't have to be anyone actually associated with the company. We did see a full sized white pickup tuck with white camper shell and roof racks come partway down the gated road Sunday morning while we were looking for our boats. Seemed kind of odd they just parked way up on the side of the canyon instead of driving down to the river, but who knows.
If any of you see any of this gear being peddled, or hear stories of someone bragging about scoring some major river booty, please give me a call at 805 441 1045. Also, it was a borrowed raft, so we have to replace it as soon as we can. If any of you have any leads on a good used 14-16' raft, let me know.