Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Truss

Paul Guinea, Eric Arllington, Matt King and myself all ran the Truss last weekend. It was Matt's first time running it, and he did really well. It was a little exciting seeing him surfing a hole in the first rapid! But he worked out and had a flawless run down the rest of the river. I walked Lower Zig-zag and BZ, while Paul had a no portage descent of the run. I ran Big Brother for the first time, which I was happy about. I had a clean line, upright and away from the cave. Double Drop was at a fun level. I think everybody made it through that upright. We didn't scout so Matt had a blind first run of Double Drop. The rest of the run went great and was fun but not super eventful. Paul and Eric ran lower Zig-zag which doesn't look very bad right now. Here is the video.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Little White video

This is the video from Ryan Morgan and my first trip down the fabled Little White Salmon.  The level was 2.5 feet which was a clean level for everything except Island and a drop right above it.  Spirit also looked very clean at this level though we didn't run it.  The left side of Chaos did look a little weird but the right side line didn't look super retentive, and you could still make it down the left.   Here is the video

First Time on the LW from Ryan Morgan on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Name Change

I changed the name of the blog do to the fact that I am no longer in high school. I have started college at Western Oregon University. I don't know if the new name fits, but it is going to be the new name. I also think the picture fits. Credit goes to Aubrey Russell for the picture.
Here are some pictures of Lower Lewis falls at low water and high water.  
high water taken in June low water taken in September
And Upper Lewis falls.  They have both been run this high, though the Lower looks a lot worse to me at this level.
and this is the Upper falls the day we ran it.
all photos by Aubrey Russell

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quartzville Creek/Canal Creek

Both pictures by Pete Giordano
        Two weekends ago I got to run Quartzville creek with Matt King, Pete Giordano, Paul ?, Jason Rackley, and James Bagley.  I had high hopes from reading Jason's description of it and I was not let down.  The run is every bit as fun as could be hoped.  It is class IV-IV+ with a minimal amount of time spent not running a fun drop.  We did two laps, with the second definitely being the funnest, as we didn't scout, just flew down the run.  My favorite drops were Grocker and wooden wall, they were both low stress boofs, with short, but requiring focused lead-ins,
          The run starts with TD, a boulder garden with a pin spot that is easy to miss if you know where it is, followed by an 8 foot slide that Matt went for the gut on both times.  It looked fun, but for some reason noone else was up for it, the rest of us boofed left.  Right around the corner is Grocker, it has a narrow lead in to a small hole that is the crux, deciding where you line up for the final ledge.  If you are in the right spot, you take a couple strokes, then launch off the rock center right, if not the consequences are minor.  Some fun, easier drops lead to Wooden wall.  I wasn't really looking forward to this drop because it looked like an uninteresting drop with high consequences.  It turned out to be much funner, much less consequential, and more interesting overall than I had imagined.  The move came down to one critical stroke, but it still took some effort to get lined up
 correctly.  Once you hit your boof, you bounce up and get pushed right and passed the log.
The log is just out of the shot on the left hand side of the picture 
I was told it used to be much more difficult, I am glad it has changed to what it is now 
        Some mellow water leads to David From Behind, this was next on my list of fun rapids.  Most of us snuck on the left side, where you had to boof right then ferry hard to miss a rock.  Again, low consequence, but interesting.  Pete decided to try out the much more complicated right side, and ran it perfectly.  After some smaller rapids, we arrived at Corkscrew, which was the most anticipated drop for me.  We can be thankful that there are people who are willing to cut logs out of drops in the summer, because this one would be unrunnable without the help of "Spider", who cut a log 43' in diameter out of this drop.  This drop was a super fast mini S-turn with no hole, again, low stress family fun.
Awaiting Jason's whoop at the bottom of corkscrew.  What I remember most was flying into the eddy at the right to a whoop from Jason, who was leading the cheering squad on this day.  I have never boated with someone so excited to be on a river! He mustered up a cheer for every boater on every major drop!  It's nice to a have that kind of enthusiasm on the river. 
   Next is Movie star, this had a big hole that James, Matt and Pete ran down the gut on the second lap, while the rest of us boofed right.  
   Below here are some fun boulder gardens, then a small ledge before the take out, Matt went for the ender and got popped completely out of the water! This is the same ledge on the Oregon Kayaking trip report for the creek.  
      After this we headed to Canal Creek to do the falls to falls run.  It was way too low, but Matt and I did it anyway.  The upper falls had wood, making it what I would deem unrunnable.  We ran from the lower bridge down, taking a fair amount of plastic off my new boat :(  
      I would like to say thanks to Matt for the invite, and the whole crew for showing me down this very fun run.
Both Pictures taken by Pete Giordano of me in my new boat.
   
  -Jacob

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lewis River video

Here is the video from our trip down the Lewis river this September.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hunter Creek

Last Saturday I was able to talk Tim Brink and Bruce into yet another rafting first descent I had scouted during the summer.  This time the drops were not nearly as big as our Lewis river extravaganza, but the unknown factor was astonishingly higher.  We planned on running Hunter creek, which is buried deep in the coast range.  While I very much enjoyed the run, it will most likely not be run again.  First off, the gate is only open during hunting season, which isn't the end to the access issues.  It is quite possible that you could get a car stuck in the logging roads given the gates open and close at the whims of logging companies.  I have already been in a case similar to this while scouting in the coast range, and it is a stressful and unpleasant experience to say the least.  After the gate, you are treated to a long drive in, followed by a long hike in, just to check water levels.   Then you can start setting shuttle and deal with how to coordinate the rest of your trip.  This is too bad since it is a decent run.
      We got skunked by low water on the upper and middle sections, but decided to try out the less mysterious lower run.  This trip started in excellent fashion, with a peal out into a 15 ft slide we named Bino-gawker in reference to a truck load of hunters that were present to watch the colorful boats through their binoculars slide down this very fun slide/falls.  After this is a short ledge, that demanded its own respect when it gave the raft an exciting shove in the wrong direction [the upside down direction:)].  Shortly after this was Shotgun, the big drop of the day.  I felt it looked good and had a perfect line.  I eddied out on the right above the drop, and once again chose not to get footage cause I was ready to go and didn't want to wait for the camera to get set up ( it was in the back of my boat), which is becoming a theme.  I ferried out to river left and launched a boof off an 8 foot drop into what appeared to be a boil on top of a foot of water.  I landed with just a little left angle to keep from being blown into the large, sticky V-shaped ledge hole on the right, and took a couple strokes, boofed the bottom six footer, and was in the pool.  A very fun rapid I thought, they should make them like this more often :)  The raft ghost boated it,  they were perfectly capable of running it, they just weren't feeling it on this day. Then we took on a few more small rapids before we arrived at a large horizon line.  It turned out to be a 200 yard long series of slides, with multiple lines for each.  We named this one slip and slide, cause the water was low and we were doing just this all the way down the drops.  After this came the two miles of class two we knew we had in store.  It took a long time and drained most of the excitement from the upper run as we dealt with low water, some log dodging, and the ORT raft.  There were amazingly no portages, but it did take us at least an hour to make it down to the take out bridge.  
       Despite the long run out I was so glad to have done this run because of all the work I had put into it and also to get a first documented descent of Shotgun (of course I have learned not to stake to much on it actually being a first D, but first known/documented I can do).  I am very thankful that Tim and Bruce were willing to come along, and that I got to see another awesome place I would never have seen without my kayak. 
 Here is the video,
-Jacob 
     SFY@W-1070-970

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lewis (falls section) birthday run

Lewis River
all photos by Aubrey Russell
For my birthday, my family, girlfriend and I camped at the Lower falls campground.  It had been over a year since I was here last.  That time I had shyed away from the lower falls after seeing Rush Sturges get stuck in the cave, and I broke my nose running Upper falls.  This year, my goal was to run Lower falls if I was feeling ready.  On Friday I ran the upper section with my stepdad Dave, and I had run a pretty interesting falls up there.  Sunday rolled around and it was time to run the falls section.  Jean Loosmore and John showed up along with Tim Brink and ORT, with Paul Guinea also along for the run.  Jean realized pretty quickly he had forgotten his PFD so he opted to video the show.  After scouting, we all put on and ran Taitnapum, a 20 footer that produced some interesting lines.
Paul went first and cleaned up.  I went next and was planning on a plug for practice, but hit a pad anyway and I dropped at a 45 until I hit the rock face forming the fall which dropped my bow and I came up facing the falls but upright. I got out and got a cool angle of the raft running it from where I was.  I was close enough that when they hit, they splashed a sheet of water onto me as I protected my camera!  Last was John, some miscommunication caused him to be offline and he got turned sideways and dislocated his thumb!  So after some interesting lines we headed down to Upper falls.  We scouted the first class IV sliding drop and all successfully ran that, then we eddied out and scouted the big part of Upper falls.
     Jean's girlfriend was starting to get sick, Jean couldn't boat, and John had dislocated his thumb, so they decided to call it a day and head back home.  Meanwhile we all got set up to lower ourselves to the shelf between the nasty part of Upper, and the sweet 35 below.  Getting into the eddy in a controlled manner is the most crucial part of this drop as I learned last year when I got blown out before I could set up.  This year Ox helped lower me backwards into the eddy and I got a controlled ferry into the river left side of this drop which is a bounce bounce hit into the pool below.  Last year Nick and I went much farther right and it is a ten foot slide into an autoboof 25. I wasn't up for that this year, the water was lower and the pool was not very airated over there. The left worked out great and Paul followed my line.  Next the raft worked its way into the current and dropped off the completely vertical far right side.  Amazingly they landed upright with a couple collided heads(football helmets were a great idea).  From here we hightailed it down to Middle falls.  Paul went for the gutsy left side slot and came away upright.  This drop was really technical where he went, the video and pictures should give you a good idea.  I went for the low stress far right slide with a paddle twirl after the raft slid down sideways.
 The raft had already taken off by the time I finished talking to my sister, mom, and Aubrey.  Paul and I played catch up for the next half mile.  We finally rounded a corner and got out above the big one.  Paul and I headed down to scout while Tim and Ox started lining their boat down to below the lead in rapid, which was too narrow for the raft.  I have not looked at a drop as long as I did that one and still decided to run it.  I wanted to do this perfect or not at all.  As I was getting closer to feeling ready we looked up to see Tim and Ox loose control of the raft, as we watched helplessly it plummeted over the edge, unmanned.  Well, that sucked.  As Tim and Ox took off to corral the boat downstream, Paul and I again set our sites on lower falls.  After a large chunk of time I decided to go.  I went upstream and got in my boat, I don't remember the upstream scouting or predrop ritual, but as I floated down I saw Paul waving the camera, signaling that he couldn't get it to work.  I didn't really care, I wasn't running this for the media, it was for me and I didn't want to refocus myself again after showing him what I hadn't pointed out earlier about the cameras more detailed functions, so I told him it was fine and continued into the lead in.
         I came through the lead in and slid into the fast water leading into the falls.  I haven't been so focused on a drop as I was then.  I saw where I needed to go, I took a stroke off the top ledge to keep my bow up but I didn't want to plain out because the lip of the 40 footer was just downstream. I was in control right where I wanted to be, I shifted the boat slightly to the right, took a right boof stroke, left correction stroke, remembered I wanted to tuck, took another right stroke as I came into my tuck so as not to throw anything off.  Then I hit, I am guessing I landed at less than 45 because I didn't sub out.  My face hit my arm, which hit my deck, but it was fine because I was tucked just like I wanted.  I took a left stroke and I was sailing through the gorge below the drop and into the huge pool below.  Sweet, it went absolutely perfect.  
     I was feeling just dandy, I was completely satisfied. No one except one random camper saw my descent (Paul was running down from up-top, my family and Aubrey hadn't arrived, and ORT was collecting there boat).  The moment was mine.  I was feeling so good that helping ORT slog there boat up the canyon rim below the drop wasn't even as painful as it should have been.  This did however remind me of the last time I went on a "raft first descent" with Tim on the N. fork Clack and we shlepped the raft up a couple hundred feet through the brush then too after missing the normal portage.  I have now come to expect this from first descents with the ORT crew:).
Paul drops lower falls
    Next up was Paul, I don't know his thought process so I can't give you a blow by blow from him, but it must have been pretty good cause he came away upright as well! 
All in all a great birthday, and I am very glad to have spent it with all the right people, in the right places, doing the things I love doing.  Thanks everybody.
     -Jacob
extracted from my pdxkayaker film fest entryfile:///Users/jacobcruser/Desktop/lewis.mov

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

North Fork Lewis River

I got to go back to the Lewis river this year, which is one of my favorite rivers, there is not many rapids but lots of falls and plenty of exploring.  This year I made the trip for my birthday weekend.  My girlfriend and I went up early and got the camp set up while the rest of my family came up later.  On Saturday my stepdad and I ran the upper North fork Lewis section above the big falls.  The water was way too low but it was enough to scrape down so that is what we did.  The gorge was still fun class III-IV at this flow with a fair amount of wood to portage in the beggining before the gorge.  There are two class five drops on the river, the first is approaching class six, even at this level.    It is a twisting ten foot slide, into a fold, into a tube created by rock and wood, and the outflow mostly goes under a log into a seive.  It was definitely runnable, and I considered it for a short while, but since it goes through the tube it is hard to scout properly and I wasn't really feeling like putting my life on the line.   I did however run the smaller ledge type drop above it that required some creative rock grabbing and a fast duck under a log to run clean. The second best news of the day was that since it was low water we could walk the big drop at river level instead of the brutal river right portage described in the bennett guide.  It still required a fun ten foot seal launch over the tree creating the sieve and away from the river right wall.  My stepdad decided he would rather jump from the log so threw his boat then had a semi dicey walk down the log until he jumped into the pool.  It was cool being in this pool since we figured we may very well have been the first people in there since the drop is unrunnable at high water and the portage at the higher water level requires going way around the gorge.  We also figured noone would ever go in there as low as we were going in there.  Downstream from here where a few more suprisingly fun class four drops for the flow we had and some easier stuff before we reached the second drop.  I had assumed that I would not run this falls but possibly run the other one from the description in the guidebook.  The other one was simply described as "unrunnable" which in the older guidebooks is often not the case anymore, especially since the rest of the falls downstream of Quartz creek also fell into this description and I had run all of those except one, which has been run many times.  I figured they were ruling this one out from height, so I figured that it would be like a 25-30 footer that was probably just fine at the low water level, I was definitely wrong.  On the other hand the lower was described as a fifteen footer with seething undercut walls.  I figured they ran plenty of 15 footers back then and if the leading explorers of there time hadn't run it, then me, not a big fan of being stuffed under a rock, was going to pass. When I got there my opinion started to change pretty quickly, the low water had turned what I am sure was a nightmare at higher flows into a drop that could be run by an average class five boater.  I looked for a bit of time.  The concerns were that the right side fell onto a rock outcropping, and the left side was not long enough to land in without crashing into the wall.  There was no middle route.  The good news was the lip had a rolling wave that looked like it would let me get my nose up if thats how I wanted to run the drop.  So plan A was to drive right to right to left away from the rock outcropping with a big boof stroke landing just a foot or two left of the rock at the bottom.  I realized this was very risky so I looked for a way to error to my left.  It was possible but the option for a boof was not there because of a flake a couple feet down that my tail would catch on.  Also, I would have to land with right angle to keep from hitting the wall when I landed.  So I decided to error left in case I was swept right, and just decide which stroke to take at the top of the drop.  I came in through the lead in, took a stroke towards the left side, and found myself on the left side of the wave at the top.  I turned my boat to angle just a bit right and took a right stroke while keeping my angle right.  I subbed out shortly and resurfaced shooting right and into the downstream current.  I was pretty happy with the drop, one very cool thing about this drop was that when I paddled back upstream from the bottom I saw for the first time a rainbow that did an entire circle!  The rainbow ended right at the nose of my boat, it was very very cool.  So I don't know if this drop is named yet but "Rainbow Pie" while very cliche, seems a very fitting name.  The rest of the run was through a very pretty gorge.  The last rapid pinned my stepdad pretty good on a log and we lost his water bottle, but it was the end of the day and we had both had a lot of fun.
   -Jacob

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Little White (finally)


I finally got to run the Little White last Firday. I had the chance about three times before but something always seemed to happen. My dad and I drove to hood river to demo the jackson super hero for me. We met Ryan Morgan at the take out and drove to the put in. My dad decided to hike in below boulder sluice to avoid the low water gettin busy in his IK. Ryan and I put in at the normal put in and had a lot of fun finding the lines through Gettin Busy (neither of us had run it before). Ryan led most of the way and we only scouted when we had to. Ryan had one short pin sort of thing but worked free himself. We made it to Island and didn't find my dad. It had taken over two hours so we figured he had hiked out. We portaged island and continued on. Everything went very smoothly. We portaged Stovepipe and Spirit and one manky class four. Everything went smooth and we both rolled in Wishbone. -photo by Ryan Morgan.
 - I had a lot of fun and am glad I got to experience the run the first time with someone else who had never seen it so we could figure out the run for ourselves. When we paddled to the take out we saw my dad for the first time in five hours. It turns out while he was hiking in a boulder gave way and he bruised some ribs! He hiked out after 15 minutes of rest and we relearned the lesson of never leaving someone by themselves on a class V run. That won't happen again. So it all turned out alright and I'm glad I got to do the run.
Photo by Ryan Morgan (RIP)



-Jacob

LWS Drano

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lower Wind

Here is a compilation of our last couple runs down the lower Wind, including Jean and John's first times down.
video
-jacob

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tubing Eagle creek

Alex and Nick and I headed up to Eagle Creek again this summer to tube the normal kayak run. I had kayaked it earlier in the year so I knew what we would be seeing. We put in with a throw and go at Skoonichuck, portaged on the trail the class two boulder garden section below the high bridge gorge and put back in right above punchbowl. It was a blast and is a fun low water alternative to kayaking. Between the three of us we ran every runnable drop except the 7 footer that lands on a rock shelf just above the bridge and the top drop of Skoonichuck. Nick even fired up punchbowl. Here is the video.
-Jacob video

Monday, July 28, 2008

tubing and truss

Alex and I went tubing a few days ago and this video is the result. I think I got more beat up in two hours of tubing than I have ever while kayaking. On the Hymelator drop (with the four foot ledge), the landing is only two feet deep so we took big hits everytime we ran it. The drops were fun, but that one was a pretty tough drop for a tube. We had fun though. There is also a couple clips of Theron on the Truss that I shot last week. -Jacob video

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

N.F. Clackamas

Jacob took Neil and I down the N.F. of the Clackamas on the first of June. It's a shame that this was the first time I'd been down it, because despite all the portages it was a lot of fun. I didn't get too much footage but the stuff I did get was mostly of Stairway to Heaven. Anywho, enjoy the clip! Oh...and thanks for letting me post on your blog Jacob, this is my belly flop into the blogisphere. ~Theron video

Friday, June 20, 2008

Carnage run

I did the carnage run for the first time Wednesday. It was a good level at 3300. Nothing special to report except Toilet bowl is big! Like I don't think I saw anyone go straight into the gut of the bottom hole and go through. People where trying to surf it but it was throwing people around. I think Neil had the best luck in there and was putting on a good show. I got my first rodeo creeking session in this hole. I worked my way up the eddy so I could run it a second time. I dropped in with very little speed and didn't climb the pile enough to get through. I got stopped, pulled back, and threw a few ends before being pushed out the right side. It was a fun experience for me and I'm glad it happened, I was happy with how I reacted. Joe Bob's was reportedly a lot of work but again Neil lead the charge and was on the wave every other time I looked over there. I now have a hole in the bottom of my boat from Rock Creek that I need to fix. I apoxied it for the carnage run but it got scraped off, should be a fun fix. -Jacob

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rock Creek



BETA

Stream: SThis section of Rock Creek starts off with about a mile of class III-IV ending in a 7' ledge that would be challenging to portage (though a seal launch is possible).  Some easy whitewater leads a right bend that drops into Heaven and Hell which can easily be scouted and portaged on the left.  Both drops neat scrutiny before a run, but both have lines that work well.

The end of the portage will likely be the most exciting part of the run for people not running either of the two big rapids.  Here boaters slide down a fun chute and launch into the pool at the bottom, low stress and high fun.

                                                                 Rick Cooley picks up speed
                                                                       Photo: Matt King


  
More class III-IV continues down to a road bridge where Steep Creek Falls comes in from the right.  That drop was run a few times in the past, but sediment seems to have completely filled in the landing zone as of 2008.

Below this bridge the stream looses it's luster for a couple miles.  There is a small rapid here and there but mostly it's class II floating.  Higher levels move you through this section nicely, but if the levels is low just consider it the price of admission and enjoy what scenery there is.

At the end of this long stretch the bedrock appears and there is a steeper class III rapid, do not enter this class III rapid without a game plan.  Just below it the river rushes over Three Swims Falls, not something you want to run without scouting.

There are a few small eddies on the left, catch whichever one you can and hop out quick so your buddies have somewhere to make their move.  This is not a place to push for "one more eddy".

There is a nice bench along the left side to scout and more likely portage.  This falls has a narrow line and has been run a number of times, but the unfriendly landing zone and proximity of a large boulder garden in the runout have most people shouldering along the left.  The boulder garden is worth a look, plenty of people put back in to run this fun part of the rapid.  Give the last hole some respect.  If you wish to portage the whole thing follow the bench under a small tributary falls and back to creek level.

It is about 1 mile between Three Swims Falls and the take out bridge, with a few fun surprises including a long sliding rapid that is best run center/right or right.


Flows:  I guess the EF Lewis @ Heisson is the gauge to use.  It's not a perfect correlation, but it's something.  1,000 cfs is minimum.  Heaven and Hell is less intimidating at low flows, but the class II also loses it's punch...

2,000 cfs is a friendly medium and it can be run plenty higher.  Don't get blown over Three Swims.

There is a stick gauge under the Ryan Allen Rd bridge, 10' was a nice flow where the big drops were runnable class V, and the in-between was pleasant.  As levels drop Heaven and Hell becomes more appealing, but the stretch between Steep Creek and Three Swims starts to drag on.  If you do the run, help out the community and post the gauge height, date of the trip and a picture on the AW page.






Access:  From the town of Stevenson (located on the North side of the Columbia River about 40 miles East of Portland), turn onto SW Rock Creek Dr and follow that to Ryan Allen Rd.  Follow Ryan Allen Road until you cross over Rock Creek.  Check the gauge height on the staff gauge here.

Then return along Ryan Allen Rd (SW) less than half a mile to Red Bluff Rd.  From this turn travel along Red Bluff Rd for 2.5 miles and turn right onto a spur road that leads down to the take out bridge.

To get to the put in, return to Red Bluff Rd and head upstream for 4.7 miles to the put in bridge (crossing Rock Creek at 3.2 miles). 



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Original Write-up
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Nick, Alex, and I ran Rock Creek(Stevenson) last weekend at low flows. EF Lewis at 900 and Clackamas at 3700. Nick was doing his first creek in a hardshell and his second time in a boat in almost 8 months. Alex was in the Aire which was leaking and we had to pump it four or five times on the trip but it was worth it. Nick hit a solid combat roll then worked his way out of a hole in the interesting section of class III bedrock that lead up to the first drop, an 8 foot ledge into a gorge. Alex and I cleaned it while Nick had his first swim when he hit his head on the right wall as he flipped. Next was Heaven and Hell, both drops looked good to go with the top one being a tough double boof, first away from the right wall, then a rock on the left. I ran this and came through fine. We scouted the main drop of Heaven and Hell for awhile before Alex and I decided to run it. Alex wanted to go first. He hit pitoned into the left wall after the first drop but recovered in time to get far enough left to miss the death rock which wasn't in play at this level because of a strong boil pushing hard left. He managed to stay in his boat and fight his way off the rock at the bottom to have a succesful run of his first class V drop! I went next and was a little worried about a second piton so I didn't hit the boof perfect but it worked fine and it was a super fun drop. Below here was a short manky class two stretch then the bridge. It had taken awhile to get to this point so we started making up time. We had heard that Three Swims falls sneaks up on you and is pretty close to the bridge so we where a little on edge but after a mile and a half we realized we had been mistaken and the boredom of low water rocky class two without extrordinary scenery set in. Eventually we made it to Three Swims and began the portage. I seal launched below the falls to tackle the final boulder garden. I had my only wobble of the day in the final hole which I dropped into with no speed and almost got stopped, but I made it through ok. Below here was one dangerous log that is hard to see before you are in the rapid, we all made the eddy on the right though at the right water level this may be a very interesting spot. The weird thing is there is no portage route. The walls are vertical, so the only way to do it was to swim to the log, get up on it, then pull our boats on and try and balance on the log or get in below and make an eddy on the right like Nick did. This spot would be awful at medium or medium low flows when the log is unrunnable still but the water is swifter upon getting back in the water or getting to the log. Be carefull next year because that log looks like its staying for awhile. Below here was one more fun slidey drop before the take out finally came into view. After this we headed to money drop to check that out. It was very big but very clean. I didn't realize what kind of a horizon line a seventy footer would make but its scary enough to make me certain I will never drop off something that big. We then checked out the upper falls and it looked better. At Money drop we saw one of the strangest things. Where the mudslide has been, the walls have become pretty vertical, and halfway up on a little ledge was a deer. It was stuck with a 20 foot drop to not vertical ground and no escape above him. We felt bad but there was nothing to do.

Well, for us it was a great day and I will be back next year when there is water in there again.

-Jacob

Monday, May 19, 2008

Clackamas River Festival 08'

A great festival with tons of boaters, 90+ degree weather, 9,000 cfs in the river, and well organized events, as well as a great after party complete with complementary food from Next Adventure and Ryan Scott's new video Local Scrapbook VI showing made for a great day at the river. It was so much fun. There was too much going on to right about so I made the video as usual. We found a fun playspot on fish creek with great eddy access that some people where asking about so that is in the video along with the big air ramp and some fun in the big ledge at Carter's. -Jacob

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Little North Santiam: Upper Opal

Photo: Priscilla Macy


BETA

Stream: Upper Opal is similar to the Classic run, but a little more serious and involves a hike instead of a walk to the put in.  The full run begins in Jawbone Flats, though sometimes people get tired of carrying their boat and put in at Sawmill Falls/Cascadios Los Ninos.

It's worth making the push up to Jawbone at least once, if just to check out out the town.  At the confluence of Battle Axe Creek and Opal Creek Proper (visible from Jawbone), the Little North Santiam River is formed and this is the beginning of the Upper Opal run.  There is some easy floating up here as the stream carves through one of the most beautiful portions of Oregon.  The whitewater quickly picks up and one seven foot horizon line (worth a look on your hike up) presents a fun slide.   

Less than 1/4 mile after passing under a bridge, the horizon line at Sawmill Falls/Cascadios De Los Ninos presents itself.  Most people scout on the left where there is an easy walking route if you wish to portage or do laps.  At first glance this appears to be a straight forward falls, and at medium levels and up it is.  However as levels drop you start to realize there are shallow spots all over the place on this falls so scout carefully.  Far right and far left are the worst.  The higher the level the less likely one is to land on a rock.

Alan Bergman right on target.  If flows are much below 1,100 cfs, there is a real chance of landing on a rock (under the veil in the photo) here too.  The boof flake marked by the orange arrow is good to go at all flows, though lining it up can be tricky so again, scout this drop thoroughly at all levels.




The whitewater picks up below Sawmill/Cascadios De Los Ninos though it never reaches true class V at the recommended levels.  At high flows there may be a couple rapids you would be forced to run blind that the typical Opal Creek boater would rather portage, so I'd stick with between 700-2,000 cfs unless you know the run well.

Below Sawmill/Cascadios De Los Ninos there is some scenic floating.  When things pick back up there will be some read and run and then a blind rapid with some large boulders that can be scouted and run on the left (second photo in this report).

The very next rapid is the nearly must-run Harvey Wallbanger.  Eddy out along the left bank (entering the island on the right side will dictate running the rapid blind) and walk downstream to take a peak for wood.  

                                       Looking down into Harvey Wallbanger from the scout.


There are no big moves in Harvey Wallbanger, just stay right and keep your boat pointed downstream.  There are two soft holes in the narrow bottom portion of the rapid, but I have never seen them give anyone trouble.

Jesse Shapiro lining up the two narrow holes.
                                                              Photo: Lucas Rietmann

Most people catch an eddy on the left just below these two holes and before the exit move.  For the exit move paddlers build up as much speed as can be mustered and ride a strong left stroke through a plucky hole into an alleyway.  It is possible to set safety here on the left side.  There is a large pool below in the event of a swim though for what it is worth, I have never seen anyone have trouble here.

                                                                  Ross George pulls through.
                                                                                Photo: Lucas Rietmann


The river gorges up again a short ways downstream for another fun rapid.  This one is typically run through the left channel.  Run the first tier right to center, and the second tier center to right.  The right channel can also be run driving hard right with hard right angle.  There is a straight forward ramp just below and then the stream opens up for 100 yards.

At this point attentive boaters will notice road abutments high on the right and get ready for Coyle's Boil.  The stream builds from class II-III along a river-right boulder bar, as it turns back to the right there is a steep III+ rapid leading right into Coyle's Boil (portaged more often than not).  You must catch one of the eddies at the base of the III+ before going over the short drop that is Coyle's Boil.  People generally catch the river right one, then ferry over to river left to portage.

Eric Adsit ferries from river right to river left just above Coyle's Boil, with the III+ rapid visible just upstream.
Photo: Priscilla Macy


The line at Coyle's Boil.  
This one gets more runnable as levels increase above 1,000 cfs.
                                                                                  Photo: Priscilla Macy


The portage is short and easy on the left.  If you are the curious type, check out the mine shaft on river left.  You can make your way some distance back there.
                                                                                 Photo: Lucas Rietmann


There is a ledge just below Coyle's Boil that looks like it has a sweet boof on the right, do not take that line as it lands on a rock with face-rearranging capabilities.  Instead run center-right or center-left, it's worth a quick scout for the smoothest line if you don't have a guide.

A hundred yards of easy water lead to the final ledge.  If levels are up I recommend scraping down the shallow right side of the ledge.  If levels are lower check out the left side "Hypoxia Hole".

Take out in the pool below this ledge on the right and walk the road back up to the gate, or continue through Classic Opal.  Ambitious boaters with an early start sometimes try for Total Opal (Jawbone through Salmon Falls) by tacking on Opal Gorge.
  


Flows:  If you are showing yourself down this run without a guide for the first time my recommendation is 800-2,000 cfs in the Little North Santiam at Mehama.

5.3 on the Elkhorn Gauge is my low-end cutoff for Upper Opal.

Access:  Take I5 to Salem and head East on Hwy 22.  In about 22 miles turn left at a flashing yellow light onto N Fork Rd.  In about 15 miles the road turns to gravel, and at 21 miles you will reach a gate where you leave the vehicles, a location that has a $5 fee to park.  You will walk back to the this gate at the end of the day if you are only doing Upper Opal (this is rare, most people continue through Classic Opal).


If you are continuing through Classic Opal or Opal Gorge, refer to those pages for other take out options. 

To get to the put in from the gate, carry your boat past the locked gate up the gravel road about 3 miles to Jawbone Flat along a nice gravel road.  Put in wherever is clever in town, I usually choose to put in at the bridge over Battle Axe Creek.

Some people who tire of carrying their boat put in at Sawmill Falls/Cascadios De Los Ninos, which is an obvious feature about 2 miles into the hike.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Collawash

The plan was to get an early start and run Rock creek, the water was too low. Next option was the Truss, I wanted to run something new. Next option was the middle Collawash, the road was closed. Next option was the Hot Springs Fork and possible park and huck of Blister Creek falls. We got snowed out a mile and a half out. Instead of doing fish to bobs. We decided to do a roadside run that looked interesting enough with a couple interesting-ish rapids(good idea Neil). This turned out to be a decent fall back but I think I will just settle for a well known classic run for the next couple weeks. The run was interesting with one drop that was an easy class four with a nice hole on the bottom right. The run was very pretty and had clear water. There was some fun play and we made the best of the mile long run. I will let the video do the rest of the talking.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Eagle Creek in kayaks

I finally ran Eagle Creek in the gorge in a kayak at the beggining of spring break. I had run a variety of the drops before in an innertube, K-mart raft, and just swimming off the falls. I was there with Eagle creek veterans Theron Jourdan and John Jansky. The hike in was not fun, I don't know how people deal with the eleven mile hike into Cherry Creek when four miles was this difficult! The run was awesome, but I don't have the time now for an entire report. The drops where all great, very high quality. I was the only one to pass on Skunichuck with two others cleaning it and one roll between the two drops. Two drops above Punchbowl there is a log in the near vertical log making a portage the recomended choice by way of seal launch on the right. Punchbowl was great, my line was to drive high onto the pillow and hold a right draw stroke into my tuck as I came off and this worked great. Everyone rolled at the bottom which made sense given the type of drop it was. There was one broken paddle and one accidental freewheel that made for some excitement. Punchbowl seems to have a much lower "clean it" rate than Skunichuck from what I have seen both in video and in person. The last bit of info I will add is that I chose to hike back down to the river at a spot just past the second cliff as you are hiking out. The trail is on the far side of a rock slide and is not a difficult hike back down to the creek. This makes getting out of there much more enjoyable and the creek is moving along class II-III from here to the take out and it also saves a lot of time. A thanks to Theron and John for showing me down the creek and Alex for hiking along and videotaping and carrying food. Nice to meet Rick as well. Here is the video -Jacob

Monday, March 17, 2008

King Creek

Theron Jourdan and I ran King Creek last weekend. The small tributary of the East Fork Lewis that comes in at the take out for the waterfall run/Copper creek. I used google Earth and mapquest to figure out the put in and that worked great. The logging roads we where using were suprisingly not gated and things went pretty smoothly. Our first put in choice turned out to be down a private road so the next option required a 3/4 mile hike in.

  When we arrived at the put-in, the creek had about 80 cfs, just enough to float in. Our first portage was just downstream, but then we where able to run close to half a mile of whitewater without another portage. Somewhere in here a tributary bumped the flow to about 150 cfs and made the eddies more defined. The next mile was class two with about three easy portages (all the portages in the first half of the trip where very easy). There where often signs of bedrock and a few class two slides presented themselves, enough to get us excited, but no real drops occured in this section. We passed a couple more bridges and where pleased by the low amount of wood for such a small creek.

Theron after our fourth portage.
Before too long we could see the clear cut high up on the right that signalled the last mile, the 200+ foot per mile section. Right about here the wood started to pile on. The creek got steeper with some bouldery class four, most of which we had to portage because of wood issues, and the eddies got tough to find. Theron in the runout to one of the class four rapids we ran, just downstream was a log jam. There were a couple sketchy places like this.

We had a couple tricky portages in here, one included throwing the boats from a log across the creek into an eddy. A couple times in this section Theron had his paddle almost ripped from his hands, this was scary because of how challenging the eddies were to catch. A couple times I thought I had seen an eddy from about, but it turned out not to be and I had to scramble to shore and grab on to rocks to keep from getting swept into a log. When there where no eddies we would just drive our boats onto some shallow areas and hop out. The final couple hundred yards held the most challenging section. Theron was in the lead and was reading and running down a class four section when he broached himself on a rock to see downstream. I couldnt tell what he was looking at but when he unpinnned himself he charged left and drove into a tough eddy and signalled me down. I saw him take his throwbag out for the first time so I was a little worried about what might be downstream of this eddy should I miss it. Luckily I stayed in control and boofed into the eddy. I looked downstream and saw the only real horizon line of the day. We got out and looked and were both glad we had caught the eddy. Some people have hiked up the creek a ways from the takeout, including a group of boaters we bumped into at the take out and from what we could tell, this drop is what people call "the waterfall" on this creek.  It drops about 10-12 feet over two steps. The second step has a log that would require a rail slide and boof to avoid a airated room boxed in by wood.


The room
The drop looked doable, but we didn't know if our boats would stick to the log or not so we took a sneak route on the left.  Below here where a couple logs to dodge, then we dropped over the ledge visible from the takeout on the left. From here we flowed into the EF Lewis then ferried across and we where at the take out. The logistical challenges and puzzling were more interesting than the whitewater, and I had a good day on the water. I won't be back, but I'm glad to have had this little adventure.

King Creek as it enters the EF Lewis


The EF Lewis was reading 1800 cfs as I recall.

-Jacob