Monday, July 16, 2007

East Fork Hood; Upper


Stream:   The old put in used to be up at Sherwood campground, but in recent years there has been a couple wood issues between there and the Hwy 35 crossing a short ways downstream.  As a result most people put in at the Hwy 35 bridge these days.  If you do put in higher you will be treated to the only bedrock on this run, in the form short sloping ramp.

The ramp

The stream changes year to year, but is uniform in character.  That character is continuous steep and bouldery rapids with fun boofs and soft holes. No pools!  It's fast reaction boating and some people find it to be very fun, others don't.  The steepest part of the run starts about 1/4 mile below the Hwy 35 put in and continues for about 1 mile.  This is fun read and run whitewater if you know the wood situation beforehand.  But if you don't some of the steeper sections should be looked at.

After about 1 mile of continuous maneuvering the stream slows a bit, but it is still continuous class III-IV route finding down to the take out bridge.  If you don't have current beta on the wood situation, be cautious your first time down, then take a second lap!  

Flows:   I usually look for about 4-5' with a noticeable diurnal on the Hood gauge and will go down to 3.5' sometimes.  It can be run plenty higher, at some point reaching the class V mark.  At those flows it has been described as a mini North Fork Payette, but Iv'e never seen it at that flow.   If it's running from rain the Hood Gauge needs to be much higher.  I drove along it at 5.5' in the Winter once and it was too low.

There is a new estimate from Pat Welch for the East Fork.  I look for a diurnal of at least 50-100 cfs on that gauge.  It has been run with that gauge reading 300-1,000 cfs with little difference in actual stream flow, so going off the diurnal seems to be the best bet.

It is worth noting the stream always looks lower from the shuttle than it feels when you are on it.  So if it looks runnable but scrapy from the road, it may actually be a fine flow.

Access:  Take Hwy 35 out of Hood River, a couple miles shy of 20 you will cross the EF Hood at the take out.  Continue upstream another 5 miles or so to the put in where the highway crosses the EF Hood again.

Original write-up

July 12, 2007, headed to the Upper East fork of the Hood when the Truss didn't pan out.  We were surprised the EF still had water in July, even if it was pretty low. We put in right below the beggining of the worm and ran down to a roadside pullout 0.8 miles downstream. It seemed longer because we scouted most of the river because it was steep, low, and we had seen a woody section below our takeout.

Typical Upper East Fork Hood
The run was III-IV, but a flip would have been painful, and a swim even more undesirable than usual.
Nick running my favorite drop on the run, it is not all pictured here.

It cleans up with more water.  3.8' in this photo

Then Nick and I headed over to Punchbowl falls on the West Fork Hood for a couple laps, we had fun goofing off over there. The easiest hike back to the top of the falls was on river right, and this meant that the most convinient way back into the river was a nice seal launch pictured here. You can hike up the other side which we have done in the past, but we prefer this route. The hole at the bottom was not sticky at this level, but was still powerful for how little water was going down the gut as Nick shows in this sequence (the same thing happened to me).

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