Kayaking the L.A. River

Environment: (the built one, that is): LA Observed links to a couple of stories about kayaking the grim concrete trench that is the Los Angeles River. Well worth a read, and don’t miss the 1999 LA Weekly story, in which the journalist makes it to the sea before being picked up by police.

The LA river was once a real river, but due to its tendency to flash-flood, was turned into a trickle in a concrete trench back in the 1930s. Since then, it’s starred in a wide variety of movies and TV; the ones I can remember from the top of my head are Terminator 2, Earthquake, and V (which hilariously stole the river scenes directly from Earthquake, the cheapskates).

BTW, one interesting factor of living in the LA area is that you realise just how much of the TV and film of your childhood is taken directly from these surroundings; last time I was at the local train station, I looked out over a patch of sun-baked scrub and a couple of warehouses, and could clearly see The Six-Million Dollar Man running across it in my mind’s eye — wakka-wakka-wakka.

All along, I’d assumed these great sets were chosen for a particular reason, not just because they were right around the corner from the studio ;)

Talking of my local train station, here’s a good article about a very Irvine situation; it seems people keep a second, clunker car at the train station, due to the shortcomings of the Southern California public transit system.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Riley Carsey
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 01:14 | Permalink

    As a kayak racer and river guide I always would look at the LA river in flood with awe. In ’75 I lived just a block away near the intersection of Victory and Riverside (Burbank/Glendale). After a particularly heavy storm the river came up and I tried surfing the wave just west of victory. The wave piled up where the river left the concrete sluice and hit the acient riverbottom. I was able to enter the river using the horse path ramps. Since the wave was right there I was surfing within seconds. After about 20 minutes I started to tire and as I was working my way out I began to notice police both on foot and in cars on the on-ramp. Well, just as I popped my skirt and put foot on land I was tackled and led away in Cuffs and thrown down onto the hood of a police cruiser. Charged with endangering the life of who ever would have to rescue me. I don’t consider myself a fast talker, but I did myself proud that day. My excuse was that I was in training, yeah that’s it training , because I wanted to join the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team. And while looking for whatever they look for in your wallet they found my ACA card, a Burbank Fire CPR card and a Red Cross Lifesaving card. They pow wowed for a moment and decided to let me go. They even carried my boat back for me. We all shook hands and I invited them up for a day of rafting on the Kern. Did I mention the River was steaming along at 29,000 CFS ??? Aloha. Riley

  2. Posted January 2, 2007 at 18:58 | Permalink

    wow, excellent story! Thanks Riley!