Thursday, April 16, 2015

100 rivers: part 2

For awhile now, my father has been working towards the goal of having run 100 rivers.  For awhile he was sitting in the high 90s, only a couple away from his goal.  With his birthday coming up this last February we hatched plans to accomplish his goal the day he turned 52.  The weather cooperated and the Quartzville drainage had plenty of water.

Power was out in the Lebanon area due to a dozen or so power lines that had fallen onto HWY 20 with the high winds, slowing things down a little but before long we were cruising up the always longer than I think its going to be Quartzville road.

We started the day on Upper Quartzville for some fun assurance before hitting his 100th stream in the form of Canal Creek, a tributary to Quartzville.

Quartzville went well and we had a blast, even with two new pieces of wood blocking the classic lines in David from Behind and the log duck.  We used an alternate put in that added a neat culvert rapid and dropped us into Quartzville just before Technical Difficulties.  Quartzville really is a great run with easy access and many class IV rapids.

We set our second shuttle at the confluence of Canal and Quartzville and headed up to the Canal fork of Canal Creek.  I had heard from the generation of Corvallis Creekers (Eric Fostermoore, Rick Cooley, Josh Grabel, Chris Gabrielli, etc) before the current version that the Canal fork had some stuff on it including a class V rapid.  We hiked/roped our boats in and made good time down the stream, there were logs here and there but nothing to complain about.  Before long we reached the Class V drop, which looked tough and consequential and we decided to portage on the right.  Below here were a few more fun rapids before reaching the confluence with Elk Creek and the stream became Canal Creek proper.   We had plenty of time so continued down this fun stretch of stream that had lots of class III slides, one larger blind slide (center left was good) and 2 stand out boulder gardens near the end.

The day was ultra smooth and rewarding, the power was even back on by the time we returned to Sweet Home, allowing us a food stop on the way back to town.  Here is a video of the trip.



Quartzville Creek gauge went from 1200-6000 cfs throughout the day.

   -jacob

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Drift Creek (Siletz Drainage)

Photos: Priscilla Macy

I expected this run to have only a handful of mediocre rapids separated by miles of flat water.  Lucas, Priscilla and I all wanted to see it anyway so went there on a sunny Monday after the 2015 Wind River Race.

Put-In for the guidebook run near North Creek.


 We found the run to be more enjoyable than expected at around 1,000 cfs with entertaining intermediate rapids in a nice gorge.  The run is described well at americanwhitewater.org complete with plenty of pictures.  The first gorge is the best, with bedrock rapids back to back, good scenery, and unique lines available.

First Gorge


The middle of the run doesn't have much going on, but it keeps moving.  Near the end of the run the whitewater picks back up and there are a few more rapids.

A nice boulder garden leads into this ledge that is larger than it may seem in the picture.

 Lucas scopes out a line.



 Once you see the pumping station on the left the run is over.  The two mile paddle out at the end isn't the greatest, but it can be tolerated.  I would say this run is worth doing at least once, preferably more if you live close by.  It is a great option when there is plenty of water in the coast range, but you are not feeling like a mission.  Access is easy to figure out and its bridge to bridge.  I'd say if you enjoy Jordan Creek in the Wilson drainage, you would also like this one.

The run went by much quicker than anticipated so Lucas and I hiked into Drift Creek Falls afterwords and paddled down to the normal put in.  This upper run wasn't full of wood as anticipated, but there were only two rapids so that was a one time thing for me.

Lucas runs the larger of the two rapids.


 The event of the day for me occurred on the upper run when I went to eddy out behind a rock and there was a bald eagle perched on a rock in the eddy.  I had to brace as I leaned away and he took flight, both of us caught off guard!

Directions are on the americanwhitewater page, but here is an overview map to show you where in Oregon the run is.




          -jacob

Friday, March 27, 2015

Elkhorn

No Coffee down there, T minus 1600 feet.

All photos: Emile Elliot   

Elkhorn is too woody upstream of Big Twelve Creek to be worth running in my opinion.  From there down a few large rapids with wood still need to be negotiated before reaching the final canyon which has some nice boating and is described on Oregonkayaking.  Crunch N' Munch requires some creative portaging when flows are up, Razorback is just downstream and should be run center/right, erring to the right.  Getting to the creek is the largest obstacle to overcome.  We have it on the list this summer to try and figure out access via Big Twelve Creek, it looked to have some clean drops on it.  When we ran Elkhorn, we put in near the end of the road on the north side of the drainage (NF-201) and ran out of light shortly after exiting the final canyon section.


The access road is at about 4,000 feet and often snowed in, the following pictures are from tripcheck and these locations can be used to assess whether the road to Elkhorn will be drive-able.  We had no issues with snow on the road when we did the run.

Day after we ran Elkhorn, similar to the day of.


 The snow conditions where we put on Jan 19, 2015 around 3800 feet, near the end of NF-201 at the junction with a spur road.   44.8153, -122.2886

                                 
The hike in was steep and brushy, but doable.  Dropping 1200 vertical feet, there was only need for a rope at one cliff band.  Lucas part way down the hill.

There were a couple of stand out rapids above Big Twelve Creek, but too much portaging to see a return trip from anyone in our group.  It's unfortunate the wood is there because the creek bed is high quality.

 Ben, motivated as always picked off one of the rapids the rest of us chose to walk.

Eventually we passed by Big Twelve Creek and the stream got a little larger, if we return it will be via this creek.  At some point below this confluence we came to a rapid we had been on the lookout for, since we had heard Willy Dinsdale's story of having one of his top 3 worst swims in this rapid.  We dubbed this rapid "Wet Willy", in light of that sans boat trip Willy took through this rapid when running the stream at higher flows with his brother Ben.  Helmet Cam footage of that event can be seen at the end of the following video.




At the lower flows we had, the rapid was more runnable.  Though most of the group still portaged. 

The top ledge of Wet Willy at lower flows


Only Ben ran the sieve drop at the end of Wet Willy (11:20 in the video).

 Below here be ready to get a little creative until you are below the "Potato Rapid".  There are a few good rapids in this section, also many difficult rapids with large boulders and wood hazards.  In this section Ben caught the scariest eddy I have seen caught in person, mere feet above where his channel went underground.  

It wasn't all a wood fest, there were clean sections of Elkhorn below Wet Willy.  




One of our favorites was a unique triple drop called Blind Luck. signaling the start of the Oregonkayaking section.  Its hard to see around the corner after the first two drops, but it was clean when we were there.  Scouting from the left is harder, but would offer a view of the third tier.

Emile enters Blind Luck


 All of the portages on the run were low difficulty aside from Crunch N' Munch, though they add up after awhile.  Below the Potato Rapid (read Oregonkayaking report) its read and run to the take out with a couple of wood hazards.  As I mentioned earlier we ran out of light just below Potato Rock and ran a half mile of class IV in the dark before stashing the boats and walking to the road.  Ben finished the run in the dark and the recovery team who came in the next weekend to retrieve the rest of the boats (Joe Kemper, Anna Herring, and Emile Elliot) was surprised he hadn't gotten stuck in one of the two log hazards below where the rest of us walked off.

The boats were patiently waiting right were we left them when the recovery team went in the next weekend to retrieve them.  


We had 2,000 cfs which we felt was the minimal flow to be considered "in", though it has been run as low as 1,100 cfs.  The Dinsdales had 4-5000 cfs and called that medium high.  Does this mean 3000-4000 in the LNF@Mehama is medium?  Maybe.  If I go back I would shoot for 3000.

The section I would consider returning to.

  If you enjoy this type of trip, try to figure out access via Big Twelve Creek.  If you do not enjoy adventure, you will not enjoy this creek.


If you do the run, be ready for the unexpected, Elkhorn is full of surprises both good and bad

 We even saw a unicorn!

At the end of the day Elkhorn is a tough day of boating, and a magical place.

Now most of the pictures were of the good stuff, so before deciding an Elkhorn trip is for you take a look at the following video Anna created highlighting the tedious portions of the trip.
       

       -jacob

Thursday, March 19, 2015

North Umpqua: Narrows

The green line is the section described, put in wherever you can below Hill Creek, but above Deadline.  Idleyld Park has access for a take out according to the guidebooks.

This is a nice section of the North Umpqua that reminded us of the Niagara section of the North Santiam closer to our home in the Willamette Valley.  The difference is this run has all the rapids packed into a short 2 mile section.

Our day started at Toketee Hot Springs.  After a night of camping we went for one more soak before packing up and heading to Whitehorse Falls on the Clearwater River.

Ben didn't want to get his dry gear wet, so ran it without any.

Jesse saw the snow in the parking area and decided gear was worth the hassle.

 Priscilla from the side

 After a couple laps on this falls, the crew headed downstream to check out Little Steamboat Falls which was too low for our taste.  We refueled with ice cream and gatorade at the local store before heading down to check out Deadline Falls.


A quick scout revealed a technical boof line on the right and a deep water line on the left.  The main concern being a large hole in the center. We were undecided about doing the run so drove down to check out the narrows to see if that one called to us.  It looked like a fun, straightforward move so we drove back up to a pullout 1/2 mile above the Rock Creek bridge and geared up.  There was a pool to warm up in, then a straight forward class III with some fun waves before we pulled over on the left to re-scout Deadline.  Jesse and Priscilla took the chute on the far right, while Ben and I decided the main line down the left looked good.

Priscilla approaches the lip of the right side chute.


Jesse gets lift off on his way through the chute



The left line was a little intimidating, but not too difficult.

Ben shoots through



Everyone hit their lines as planned and we continued downstream through a few class II-III rapids before we eddied out left to check out the Narrows again.  Ben got thrown around a bit in his playboat, but the rest of us were able to stay upright in our creek boats.





This rapid was similar to the one with the same name on the North Santiam.


 We turned the corner to see another horizon and scouted this from the left.  It was a fun ramp into a hole.  Ben went for the meat down the middle, the rest of us went left.  We saw some locals below here that allowed us to hike up to the road through the property they were renting, next time I would continue a half mile to Idlelyd County Park.

We had 1300 cfs in the North Umpqua@ Copeland Creek.  I imagine this section is nearly always runnable.  When flows get spicy, there is a sneak channel to the left of Deadline that may be worth looking into.


If you felt like the run was too short and want to do another run of similar difficulty (but drastically different character), run the last mile of Rock Creek if flows are adequate starting at Anabel rd.  This creek flows into the North Umpqua below Deadline Falls and flows can be assessed from the bridge during the Deadline shuttle.  We got down Rock Creek with the North Umpqua@ Copeland Creek reading 1300 cfs.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Andrew Enlists




Into the Outside's favorite waterfall runner has joined the military.  Andrew left town early this week, but before leaving put together this Edit of his last trip down the Little White as a civilian.  We wish him the best, that the rewards outweigh the sacrifices.

Andrew way, way down below.

Hold tight.


It's hard not to love the guy.

Peony Falls

Andrew has represented the community through his work at local kayak shops and at times on the TV.


Andrew doing the masochists at into the outside proud.  

Andrew, thank you and good luck.




Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pistol River










All Photos: Priscilla Macy

We ran the Pistol River early in our South Coast tour to start the new year.  We had scouted out a couple rivers the day before and were ready to get in our boats.  We ran into some access issues when trying to reach an upper put in, but found convenient access to this middle section.  After a short walk on an old road, we arrived at a beautiful pool complete with bear tracks.


Access Issues.



Wildlife







Put In


We floated a couple easy miles, this part was mostly pool and riffle with a couple intermediate rapids.  One of the rapids had massive boulders, but an easy line to the left.  About the time we started wondering if I had interpreted the maps incorrectly during earlier research, a horizon line between large boulders presented itself.  We scouted from the left, finding shore routes through large boulders.  There was a clear line, but it was a little intimidating.  Priscilla and Anna chose to walk this rapid on the left, while I had success paddling the rapid.

Anna amongst the boulders.

Running the first significant rapid on the Pistol we dubbed "Safety".

This was the beginning of an interesting section of river.  It was obvious this stream experiences massive amounts of water as house size boulders were strewn about all over the place.  This type of river does not usually channelize well, but that was not the case this time.  We found clean lines through a couple of rapids before reaching our next scout.

This rapid had a straight forward lead in to a ledge hole.  All three of us ran this one successfully. 


Downstream the Pistol pinched down and dropped over a ledge.  This ledge had a tricky entrance into a significant hydraulic.

None of us were feeling this one and we all portaged, left was a better route.
"Hammer"

Downstream were two or three more rapids, one of which we scouted and named "Trigger".  The river then turned left and exited the boulder alley and returned to riffles.

We found a rope swing that was put to good use.

Just below here was our take out on the right.  We saw a couple more rapids downstream on the drive back to highway 101, something to check out next time.





This was an enjoyable section of water that could be run at a variety of flows.  The river could handle huge amounts of water and still be runnable, but it would be very class V.  It can also be run pretty low, we had 1800 cfs on the Chetco gauge.


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Nomenclature:  We went with the pistol theme and chose the three basic steps to get a bullet through a barrel.  They are named in order of the process and reflect your (the bullet's) trip through the barrel (boulder alley).

Safety - This is the first rapid on the trip where setting safety should be considered. 

Hammer - This rapid has the potential to hammer you if you do not clear the hole.

Trigger - Pull the trigger on this rapid and you will be clear of the boulder alley, home free.

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  -jacob