Scroll down for packing list and other trip details, please note that all photos were taken before the era of COVID-19. Scroll down for Complete COVID-19 protocol.
Dear Parents and Campers:
I am pleased to welcome you to an amazing kayak wilderness camp on the pristine shores of Loon Lake, on the western edge of Desolation Wilderness. The breath-taking terrain that surrounds our sea kayaking destination is rich in natural diversity with a colorful history of early settlement. This true wilderness adventure is designed for youth, 11-14 years of age.
Our camping adventure will begin on the shores of Loon Lake at 12:30pm on July 14 & ends on July 18th at 2:30pm. Our first meal will be dinner so please pack a bag lunch or stop along the way.
Camp Fees: The cost for our wilderness kayaking adventure is $750 per person (This price includes kayaks, camping fees, permits, kayak instruction, naturalist guides, meals and tents). Personal camping equipment such as sleeping bags and pads are to be provided by participants.
Registration: To register for this program please email Kim Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm if there is space on our roster. Once confirmed, send a deposit of $150 to: BWV, 127 Mason Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Space is limited and only guaranteed with a deposit. The balance of $600 is due by May 16th. As an alternative, you can make a payment for $155 or final payment of $618 at our secure payment center via pay pal.
Cancellation Policy and Travel Insurance: A full refund of your deposit is given if cancellations are made before May 14th. After May 15th, no refunds are given unless we can fill your space on the roster. Please scroll down for more information on travel insurance. During the era of COVID-19, we highly recommend Travel Insurance, that will protect your investment.
Please review our COVID-19 Protocol for our kayaking programs at: COVID-19 UPDATE
For more details regarding our COVID-19 Protocol for Our Loon Lake Wilderness Camp, please scroll down past the packing list to our Loon Lake Camping Information and COVID Protocol Section.
Directions: From the Santa Cruz area, take Highway 17 N (merges into I-880 N) and merge onto Mission Blvd/Ca 262 E towards I-680/Sacramento (680 can also be accessed by taking 280 S). Continue towards Sacramento and merge onto US-50 E via the left exit: Sacramento/South Lake Tahoe. Continue on US-50 E through Placerville and Pollock Pines. Ice House Road, which leads to Loon Lake, is 22 miles east of Placerville and 8.5 miles east of Pollock Pines. Crystal Basin/Ice House Rd. is a left exit just after the road crosses the South Fork of the American River.
You will now start climbing in elevation to reach Loon Lake, which is about 28 miles from Highway 50. In 24 miles, look for a small brown sign on the right side of the road that reads: Loon Lake 4 miles. This sign is shortly past Wentworth Springs Rd.
At the brown sign take a right towards Loon Lake, approximately 4 more miles. When you reach the next sign for Loon Lake bear left and follow the road around the lake passing over two spillways. If you do not bear left, you will enter into the Main Loon Lake Campground and boat launch. Turn around and exit right around the lake.
Plan on about an hour from the intersection of US-50 and Ice House Road and approximately 5 hours from Santa Cruz to Loon Lake ( if the traffic is reasonable).
Arrival to Loon Lake: We plan on meeting campers and parents at the end of the second spillway (dam) where we will launch our kayaks. A map of the area will be provided at the pre trip meeting or sent to you.
Hotels in Area: If you choose to stay at a hotel either before or after the trip, the West Haven Hotel is located in Pollock Pines, approximately 1 hour 15 minutes from Loon Lake (their number is:1-800-424-9928). Slightly further away in Placerville is a National 9 Inn, (530) 622-3884. For information on hotels in Placerville please visit: Hotel ideas.
Camping Options (before or after trip): Camping is possible at Loon Lake or at nearby Union Valley Reservoir. Reservations can be made by calling:1-877-444-6777. There are primitive camping sites around the lake just before the second spillway closer to our put-in. Reservations are not required. The North Shore RV Campsite is also an option and is available on a first come basis (see enclosed map). For more details on camping options call the Eldorado Information Center at: 530-644-6048.
Your Guides: Kim Powell, owner of Blue Water Ventures will be leading this program. Kim has been organizing and leading wilderness expeditions for students since 1985. She is a certified sea kayaking instructor through the American Canoe Association and Wilderness First Responder. Kim will be co-leading this trip with another competent wilderness guide and our interns. As always, thorough instruction in kayaking, safety and low impact camping will be provided before each activity.
Parent Meeting: June 15th 7:00pm at 127 Mason St, Santa Cruz. In previous years, parents have gathered to design a plan for getting campers back and forth from Loon Lake. If you can make this meeting we will discuss gear, food, packing questions, COVID and thoughts on car pooling.
The main objective of the pre trip meeting is to have parents develop a strategy for getting kids back and forth from summer camp. The list of campers and contact information will be provided at the parent meeting or emailed to you.
The meeting will be held at my home on Mason Street on the West Side of Santa Cruz. Heading north on Mission Street/HWY One, take a left on Bay Street. Mason Street is a few blocks down on the right. https://bluewaterventures.org/loon-lake-trip-insurance/
I am looking forward to our adventure in Loon Lake!
Kim Powell, MRPA
Owner, Operator & Naturalist
Blue Water Ventures
phone & fax: 831-459-8548
127 Mason St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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___ 1 Sleeping bag- non cotton style; if renting, ask for one that is compact and med-heavy rated
___ 1 Ensolite sleeping pad or thermarest (closed cell only; no foam/sponge that absorbs water)
___ 2 or 3 small duffels lined with a garbage bag or small dry bags for personal gear
___ 1 Fanny pack or small compact daypack—no need for large daypacks!
___ 1 Bathing suit
___ 2- 3 T-Shirts
___ 2 Pairs of shorts (quick dry and lightweight )
___ 2 Pair of long pants ( 1 pair of fleece is preferred; sweat pants or convertible
style pants are acceptable for second pair)
___ Rain gear -jacket with rain pants or poncho with rain pants (durable, no flimsy plastic)
___ 1 Fleece, capilene or wool sweater – medium rated
___ 1 pair of long underwear (top and bottom- fleece, silk or capilene)
___ 1 warm hat (i.e. fleece ski cap )
___ 1 Pair of sturdy tennis shoes or lightweight hiking boot
___ 1 Pair of wet suit booties, sandals with a heel strap for support or tennis shoes — any style is fine but they will get wet. Crocs are not allowed at camp as they offer little support on rocks
___ 2 Pairs of socks —at least one wool or wool/silk blend style
___ 3-4 Face Mask and personal hand sanitizer
___ 1 Bath towel or a sarong can be used as a towel—lightweight and packs up easily
___ 1 or 2 Bandanas – a versatile item to have around camp
___ 1 Ball cap or lightweight hat to shade face & ears
___ Toiletries (toothbrush, paste, lotions -small amounts in small plastic bottles)
___ Sunscreen ( 20 strength or higher ) & chapstick with sunscreen
___ Good body lotion for replenishing dry skin
___ Sunglasses with leash (UV protection)
___ Insect repellent–we like Lemon Eucalyptus by Repel, an effective non toxic alternative to DEET, others prefer the use of DEET.
___ 2 water bottles–full
___ 1 Gallon size container of water (i.e. recycled plastic milk jug or purified water jug)
___ 2-3 garbage bags i.e. Steel Sacs or white compressor bags- for organizing gear
___ 2-3 ziplocs –for organizing and packing gear
___ Small flashlight or head lamp with extra batteries
___ Small journal and pen/pencil or colored pencils
___ 2 carabiners (med. size simple design inexpensive but useful )— to attach items to boat
___ 3-4 face masks and personal hand sanitizer, Campers will be given a Blue-Rag, our version of a Buff that can be used during rescues as a face mask
___ Folded flat camp chair– i.e. Crazy Creek
___ Binoculars and camera stored in dry bag must be compact; no metal frames
___ Dry bags
___ Compact fishing gear
___ Mask and snorkel
___ 1 Sarong
___ Rash Guard-for added warmth in water or sun protection
COVID PROTOCOL: Please review our COVID-19 Protocol for our kayaking programs at: COVID-19 UPDATE
Our COVID protocol reflects CDC recommendations for Camps where not everyone is fully vaccinated. Scroll down to Section 4
While kayaking or in the water, masks will not be worn. Campers will be asked to wear a “buff” around their necks while in the water, which can serve as a quick face covering as needed. During kayak rescue practice, buffs will cover the face of the rescuer as campers work together during a rescue and will be closely monitored. While submerged in the water, masks will not be worn as recommended by the CDC.
During our day hikes, masks or buffs will be worn during parts of our day. We will provide designated times through out the day for “masks breaks”, where campers are at least 3 feet apart and masks lowered. During meal time, campers will be spaced 6 feet apart, masks lowered while eating. Masks will be worn when serving food or lining up at meal time.
A COVID-19 test will be required within 72 hours prior to camp. If a child tests positive and can not attend, no refunds will be given. However, we highly recommend Travel Insurance, that will protect your investment, especially in the COVID-19 era. For a 12 year old, The World Wide Protector Plan which has the “cancel for any reason” add on feature is only $103. Please Follow the link above or consider other travel insurance companies. We realize insurance is an added costs. However, if you search around for overnight camps in California, our program costs are very reasonable and travel insurance is an affordable tool to protect your investment.
Proof of a negative COVID 19 test will be required to join us. Temperatures of campers and staff will be taken mid week or if a fever is suspected. We will provide tents for each camper unless parents state that their child may sleep in the tent with someone in their “social bubble”or a sibling. Tents will be situated close to each other so campers will not feel alone. Campers may also bring their own tent.
If a child’s temperature exceeds 100.4, and/or if they exhibit any flu like systems, they will be isolated from the group. Parents will be called via our satellite phone and an evacuation will begin. All parents will receive the update. We will closely monitor the situation with temperature and general health checks of other campers, interns and staff.
The health and well being of your child and our guides are our upmost priority. As information from the CDC is released or revised regarding overnight camps, we will provide updates here.
PACKING SUGGESTIONS: Please pack only what is suggested on the What to Bring List. As with backpacking, kayak camping requires that we pack with limited space in mind. Several small duffels for personal gear are better than large ones. Everything must be waterproofed by lining the inside of a duffel bag with a garbage bag. Heavy duty style garbage bags are recommended. The white compressor bags found at Costco work extremely well. There is no need to buy expenses dry bags. In fact, clothing can be double bagged in 2 garbage bags if duffels/dry bags are not available.
DUFFELS OR DRY BAGS: If using duffels, 2 or 3 small duffels lined on the inside with a garbage bag for personal gear are acceptable. Outdoor World carries a variety of inexpensive duffels. You may pack your personal gear into 3 small duffels (9″ by 18′” ) or 1 small duffel and 1 medium duffel (12″ by 24″). Dry bags with similar dimensions may also be used. T-shirts and other clothing rolled tightly and fitted into gallon size ziplocs are a good way to organize and compress gear. Sleeping bags and sleeping pads should be rolled up separately in their own stuff sacs (not in your clothes duffel).
SLEEPING BAG: A medium – heavy rated bag is needed. Night temperatures could be in the low 40’s or even cooler. Down, fiberfill or another type of synthetic insulation is acceptable. Bulky cotton covered bags are too big to fit into kayaks and are not acceptable. Compress your bag into a stuff sack lined on the inside with a durable garbage bag.
FOAM PAD: A closed cell foam pad that doesn’t absorb water is needed “Ensolite” “Thermarest” or “Ridgerest” are recommended. Line the inside of your stuff sac with a garbage bag. You will not have room to bring a big bulky air mattress as it will not fit into your kayak.
CHAIRS: We believe in creature comforts while kayak camping! if you would like to bring a compact folded chair, that’s fine. These types can fit flat on the deck of your kayak with additional gear such as a tent packed on top of the chair. You may also purchase sleeves that convert your thermarest sleeping pad into a chair. Crazy Creek has compact non framed chairs that are acceptable and you may buy similar products at most outdoor camping stores. Please do not bring chairs that have a frame as you will need to leave them back in your car.
RAIN GEAR: Good, durable rain gear is essential. A rain poncho or jacket combined with rain pants is required & should be gortex or a coated nylon material. No flimsy plastic that would tear easily.
CLOTHING: Quick drying nylon shorts are great for kayaking and hiking. Sweat pants or pants made of fleece material are recommended although jeans are not advisable. In general, clothing should be loose fitting, fast-drying and comfortable. Your required sweater should be fleece, capilene, wool or a material that insulates even when wet. We may experience cool temperatures so warm pullovers that insulate when damp are crucial for your safety and comfort.
FOOTWEAR: On our hike to Spider Lake we require a sturdy tennis shoe or lightweight hiking boot. When kayaking, you may wear any shoe that you don’t mind getting wet such as a tennis shoe, wetsuit booty or sandal. A sturdy sandal such as a Keen style that protects the toes works well, but open toed sandals are acceptable or wetsuit booties. There are other more affordable brands of sandals other than Keens that provide toe protection. For warmth at night, we suggest socks and a tennis shoe or hiking boot. We have found Crocs to be dangerous on the rocks as they offer little support and are not permitted.
MORE ON HOW TO PACK: Think light! Every ounce adds up to more stuff to carry. Small plastic bottles with screw on tops (i.e. recycled travel size shampoo bottles ) are great for small items such as sunscreen, lotions, shampoo etc.). Avoid sweet smelling lotions that may attract insects. We’ll check out every one’s gear before getting on the water. Small plastic bottles can be found at most drug stores in the travel section or at outdoor stores.
TOILET SYSTEM, HYGIENE AND OTHER TIDBITS: At camp, we will be using the PETT toilet system which can be reviewed at: http://www.easycaretoilet.com/ Our PETT is easy to use, environmental friendly and virtually smell free! Campers are in the water each day so actual bathing is not necessary. Hand soap and hand sanitizer will be required around kitchen prep and after toilet use. If you feel the need for a real shower, a bucket of lake water may be taken 100 feet from the shore and using a biodegradable soap, you may rinse off. No soap of any kind is permitted in or near the lake water. (Joy, Dawn. CampSuds and Dr. Brommer’s are biodegradable).
FOOD AND WATER: As with backpacking, meals will be planned with limited space in mind. Please indicate by email if you have any dietary needs. Everyone will bring two full water bottles and a jug of water. Additional water used will be boiled or purified with a pumping system.
ELECTRONIC DEVICES: Please leave all electronic gadgets such as Ipods, game boys, boom boxes, etc at home. Let the wilderness become your entertainment. May we offer the suggestion to leave your watches at home too.
HOW TO REACH US: In the event of an emergency only, our group can be reached by calling Kim Powell’s cell phone at: 831-345-2417. Cell service has improved each summer but is still rather patchy. The call may not go through. An alternative number is the US Forest Service Dispatch: at 530-647-5250 or the Eldorado County Sheriffs Dept: 530 621-5655. However, the best way to reach us for emergencies only, is through our Satellite phone. We will update parents before camp begins regarding our number and system to reach is.
We are camped at the Pleasant Lake Boat In Campsite and will be in that vicinity most of the time.
Good luck as you prepare for our adventure!