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Which section are you planning to run? It is a beautiful river and offers surprising solitude above Healdsburg despite ease of access and nearby highways. I run different sections of this river pretty frequently - the advice depends on which section you plan to run. A fun and easy overnighter packrafting trip from the bay area that I've done a few times is to leave car parked near takeout at Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach and then either "hike" through the charming town of Healdsburg (where you can stop for gourmet breakfast service) to the put-in at Alexander Valley Road Bridge - I don't remember exact length of hike but it is something like 5-7 miles of flat suburban walking on sidewalk. This previous weekend I skipped the walk and just took an uber from the take out to the put-in. Uber driver informed me that I was the second person to use his uber as a paddling shuttle. Due to huge bends in the river, this stretch gives you almost 15 miles of paddling for a very short shuttle/hike. At flows of around 570 cfs there was a small portage necessary due to strainer hazard. Herons, Osprey, Egrets, and other wildlife abound. Even spotted a bald eagle and a very large and very curious coyote.
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