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WHITEWATER SEASON: Outfitter in Kern River Valley Delivers Thrills to Adventure Seekers

Sierra South Mountain Sports is a family-run business in Kernville that offers a variety of rafting trips.
Posted at 1:39 PM, Apr 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-14 16:39:29-04

KERNVILLE, Calif. (KERO) — For those that live in the Kern River Valley, the Kern River is special – and one of the most visceral ways to experience the river is floating down it during whitewater season.

  • Sierra South Mountain Sports is a licensed outfitter that offers rafting trips on both the upper and lower Kern.
  • According to the last snow survey, the snow pack is at 100%, opening up numerous routes for rafting trips


“This year we’re going to have ideal conditions, we’ll have everything for families that want to go for their first time, to high water in May and June,” said Evan Moore, General Manager of Sierra South Mountain Sports, an outfitter that offers rafting expeditions.

This year the snow pack is at 100 percent, spring has sprung, and the snow is melting to form the Kern River.

They gave me all the proper gear I needed, and our guide Khari went over safety procedures.

“Today we’re gonna be on the lower Kern, which is a class two three section. We are going to be doing a half day, this is our most popular trip, this is what we take young families on,” Moore said.

I was going on the trip with the Kemili family, who were visiting from the U.K.

“We wanted something to mark the vacation we were on and we thought ‘Yep, let's give it a go,'” said Ryan Kemili.

Our raft guide Khari would be leading us and there was support from Sergio, who was there in his kayak just in case Khari needed help.

The trip started out bumpy while the Kemili’s learned to take guidance from Karhi.

“We’re in the wild, we are in nature immersed in something that is more powerful than we are and we have to work together as a team,” Moore said.

“We kind of got into the groove, the guide was really really helpful, made us sound safe and secure,” Ryan Kemili said.

There were thrilling moments, and serene ones.

“I thought the Kern Valley was beautiful, we don’t have anything like that back home, so to experience that,” said Ryan Kemili.

During the slower section of the river we had the chance to jump in for a swim.

There was also an opportunity to just off large rocks into the river.

The guide Khari talked the family through local wildlife, we saw owls and hawks.

A memory not soon forgotten.

“One of the best things I think I’ve ever done, in my life,” said Jakson Kemili.

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