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The upper Kern River, Kernville, Calif.

The upper Kern River, Kernville, Calif. This relentlessly chilly ribbon of water in California's parched center is as refreshing as a float trip can be. This time of year, the river slows, making it an ideal inner-tube run. Bring your own tube, and for $5, raft companies such as Sierra South will shuttle you to a drop-in point. Take an hour -- or several. The trips run at your own pace; (800) 457-2082.
Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
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