Thursday, September 18, 2014


This is the stream that comes in just below Dougan Falls on the Washougal.  Less than a mile upstream of the confluence the stream branches into two forks, each quit small.  I ran the slides just upstream of the Washougal confluence with Theron Jourdan one wintery day.  If the stream from the forks down was free of wood it would be worth doing once or twice.  It was pretty clean looking last time I was up there at low water.  My dad may have done it once, or maybe he just scouted and told me about it.  Anyway, it could be an interesting section to do in conjunction with the Washougal Falls section.


This one is in a lot of PNW guide books and gets run all the time.  Here is a report of my dad and friends running all the guidebook sections in a day.

Sandy River in a Day

SF Yamhill

I took a couple friends down the run starting near the Spirit Mountain Casino, adjacent to HWY 18.  They both swam in the first 100 yards so hiked out through a field.  I ran the next five miles to get the vehicle since we had done a bike/hitchhike thing.  Mostly class 1, a couple of 2's maybe with some willows growing in the creek bed.  I have read about good play at high flows including some surfboarding.  I use this gauge, when its nearing 2000 I know the smaller creeks in the area are at a good level.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sunshine (Siletz)

This creek has a place on the "what else can I do" list for Corvallis area boaters.  It used to have an estimate on the WKCC levels page and runs when other streams in the area are high. I think we had about 7,000 cfs on the Siletz gauge.  We initially planned to do Rogers (a scout of Rogers took it off my list, it has dangerous wood and non-captivating rapids), but headed to Sunshine instead.  We accessed it from Valsetz rd.  If you are comfortable with wood its class III-IV, if not its more IV-IV+.  We didn't have many portages and had a good time.  There is one bedrock gorge and the shuttle is easy.  No swims in the group, but one log pin.  Ran with Anna Herring and Michael Freeman.


This creek is a tributary to the Zigzag River (my favorite river growing up). They converge in view of HWY 26 on Mt Hood.  My dad and I ran a short stretch down to the confluence at one point. I recall it being class III and enjoyable.  There is an upper section that is steep with wood, but appears runnable.  That upper section might be an interesting roadside adventure for the right type of boater.  The Sandy gauge is probably useful, but I never took note of the correlation.  Zigzag runs often from rain on snow and snowmelt, Still Creek needs more rain.


Ran this while in the area doing other things. Put in on the south fork 100 yards above the confluence with main stem.  We had fun but I wouldn't do it again.  Ben Mckenzie named the rapid halfway down "The Rapid" as it was the only one. It fed under the left wall, but was only a class IV move.  Under a handful of log portages.  Boaters were Ben Mckenzie, Kory Kellum, Andrew Bradley and myself.  Do not recall water levels but Steamboat was medium low and this creek was low, low.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wiki # 11: Pure Joy Gorge on Quartzville

I am writing about this one as documentation that it has been run.  Its not worth the effort for the typical boater.  I took out at the bridge upstream of the Pure Hate Gorge and put in at a spur road a couple miles upstream of that.  I didn't want to miss the ledge I had seen from google satellite imagery and ended up suffering through some devils club and log portaging before the ten foot ledge which was a boof into a pool.  Below here was about a mile of class III-IV boulder gardens with wood.

First ledge

There is a quarter mile long gorge that was the main event.  The walls soared overhead and my initial attempt to scout on the left was fruitless.  I relocated to river right and spent the next hour meticulously scouting the gorge, groveling up and down cliff walls, traversing animal paths, and wading through the stream.  The gorge was all good to go and classy aside from 3 logs which required attention.

 The first was in a narrow rapid that I portaged on the right (not without struggle), just below here was a fun and unique 10' broken ledge/slide.  This needed to be run in control as the outlet of this ran into a small rapid with a log which needed to be portaged.  Luckily the features lined up below the ledge/slide for me to be able to broach myself between a rock and the wall and exit onto the boulder bar in the center of the river.  From this point I was able to walk across the log to shore.


The next move was to get in my boat, paddle around the corner and boof over an exposed rock onto shore, from here I carried down to a pinch where two more logs blocked downstream progress.  These were also located in such a way I could utilize them in the portage, doing an airplane seal launch into a small, but boxed in hole off of one of the logs.

There was one more class III to exit the gorge and a log across flat water I had missed during my scout many feet above.  I was able to do an iguana move over the log and I was home free!  Below here were two more log portages and a quarter mile of class III slides leading to the take out bridge.  I jogged the shuttle and headed home, glad to have seen a new section of river with a neat gorge.

If seeing the gorge calls to you, I ran this when Upper Quartzville was at a good medium flow.  I would suggest shooting for 3000 cfs on the Quartzville gauge (for a winter run).   Higher flows than I had would likely make the gorge passable if the log configuration stays the same.  If a boater ended up portaging the whole gorge, daylight would become a real issue.

The name is a play on the Iceland/Greenland conundrum.  We found the Pure Hate Gorge downstream to be totally fun and an enjoyable place (at the right flow) while this Pure Joy Gorge is less than stellar.