Though the members of San Joaquin River Stewardship Program spend much of their time testing the San Joaquin River's water quality, studying its insects, and growing and replanting native vegetation, they also help make their prized waterway fun for visitors. They provide outdoor recreation, such as kayaking trips down calm currents during the day and at night, often teaching participants how to fish for rainbow trout and bass. They also lead nature hikes along the shore, where groups can see wildlife and native plants during bird-watching, animal-tracking, plant-identification, and scavenger-hunt excursions. Their outdoor-school programs reflect their dedication to conservation by teaching hands-on activities, exploration, and critical-thinking exercises for budding stewards. They also provide scholarships in canoe and kayak training, as well as fish crowd-control training, for visitors 10?18 years old. To get visitors of all ages interested in water and habitat conservation, they lead year-round river channel and shoreline cleanup projects on foot or in canoes.
In the warmer months, the runoff from the snowmelt on Mount Whitney combines with the flow of Kern River, creating a series of rapids that eventually give way to a placid lake. Kern River Rafting was created to give residents and visitors a chance to capitalize on the river's potential for fun and adventure.
A convenient shuttle service brings you to the river from the company's home base after you've been outfitted with helmets, life vests, and paddles. Tube-mounted excursions set out from the northerly reaches of the river and go barreling through rapids. Then a ferry brings crews back north for another ride or a jaunt in a Zorb globe. These 12-foot blow-up hamster balls allow those inside to run across water, performing amphibious feats that hamsters can only dream about.
When Brian McInerney reflects on the humble beginnings of Wheel Fun Rentals, Inc., he points to his childhood passion for bikes. "As far back as I can remember, I had a real love affair with bicycles," he recalls. During a trip to Italy in 1987, Brian's affinity for cycling blossomed into a full-fledged obsession when he spotted locals' transporter of choice, the surrey. Inspired, he began importing the Italian four-wheelers to a rental business in the U.S. that eventually expanded into Wheel Fun Rentals, now a nationwide web of shops that also loans out bikes, electric cars and mopeds, and man-powered watercraft. Adventuresome athletes can also compete in activities such as surrey scavenger hunts and blindfold obstacle courses navigated via shouted instructions from a seeing teammate or exceptionally long rounds of trial and error.
Trail And Mountain's owner inherited a love for the outdoors from his father, an avid hunter. Though the son never cared for hunting, he has followed that passion for nature for the rest of his life, honing wilderness navigation skills by hiking landscapes from the Catskill Mountains to the hills of North Carolina. Today, he marries this experience with certifications in first aid in a quest to introduce others to California's wilderness. During single- or multiple-day excursions in Santa Barbara County and beyond, he helms tours and helps coordinate activities for tourists ranging from day hikes to whale watching to paragliding.