There’s something about spending time with a river- it is a living metaphor, after all. By observing a river we somehow view our own existence and then it makes sense why water is the worldwide cultural symbol for life. Rivers have always represented the way in which this life moves. It’s beautiful, really.
Whether we are rafting the Weber, fishing the Provo, or floating multi-day stretches somewhere in the American West- rivers have affected each of us at All Seasons Adventures.
When you come rafting or fly fishing with us you can tune in if you choose. To help you do that we’re listing some common river features to keep an eye out for. We’re not going to spell out what they’ve taught us, but keep your eye out and maybe they’ll speak to you too. All definitions from Water Girls at Play and About Sports.
An eddy is a section of water that forms behind exposed boulders and on the sides of rivers around bends. As the river flows by these areas it creates an effect that causes the water in the eddy to flow up stream. Eddys are usually calm spots that kayaks, rafts, canoes, and fish can sit in while the rest of the river flows downstream.
Very generically, a line in whitewater is the path that the paddler will want to take through any rapid, wave, hole, or other river feature.
The river running technique used to cross the downstream current to get from one side of the river to the other without being taken downstream with the current.
Whitewater rivers consist of rapids. A rapid is a series of whitewater river features that are strung together. While it could refer to just a wave or two, the word rapid generally refers to 3 or more connected river features in a section of river.
When a kayaker uses the word continuous to denote a section of river or the river itself it means that there are no breaks in the action. Like river classification, rivers and rapids can also be called continuous independent of each other.
A pool of water is a section of river with no rapids and with very slow moving water in it. It usually refers to a smaller area that consists of this characteristic.
Flatwater is a section of river that contains no rapids. This does not however mean that there is no current. The river can still be moving rather quickly and still be flat.
A wave is a whitewater river feature that is formed due to a boulder or underwater ledge that forces the water rushing over it to push up at the surface. As a wave increases in size it will actually “break” or fall over causing the froth that gives whitewater its name.
A wave train is a series of waves in succession. Wave trains usually consist of three or more waves. The effect of paddling through a wave train is often that of riding a roller coaster.
Hole or Recirculation
A hole is a whitewater river feature that forms as the river flows over an obstruction that is usually near or above the surface of the water. As the water pours over that boulder it causes a recirculation on the other side. This recirculation, or hole, is a frothy and aerated feature that actually flows or pushes upstream. This means that kayaks, canoes, and rafts can actually get stopped and stuck in holes. As the river flows downstream the hole will be “holding” the paddler as it pushes him or her upstream.
The action of being caught in a hole or hydraulic where a person or kayak is pushed down by and pulled back up into the feature over and over again carried by the continuous flow cycle.
Boils are found on very large rivers that have a lot of CFS (cubic feet per second). They’re usually found in spots where the river constricts, forcing most of the water down. Because the flow of the river is so constricted the water is forced back up to the surface and then down again and forms features that resemble boiling water. Boils are very unstable for kayakers and can easily flip them over if paddlers don’t know how to maneuver through them.
Hopefully this terminology will assist you in seeing the river in its intricacy and complexity. Please give us a call at 435-649-9619 to book fly fishing or rafting to experience the rivers in Park City.
We call upon the waters that rim the earth, horizon to horizon, that flow in our rivers and streams, that fall upon our gardens and fields, and we ask that they teach us and show us the way. — (Chinook Blessing Litany)