Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Little Abiqua Creek

Steve and I spent some time driving through the woods on old logging roads last week before finally settling in on attempting Little Abiqua Creek when the logging companies decided plan A was not going to be accessible from our attempted access points. The geology seemed favorable given the proximity to Silver falls, Butte Creek, and Abiqua falls and the gradient was respectable as well. Getting in was a challenge, but we ended up in a little Rock Quarry behind a neighborhood where we felt we were close enough to start bushwacking. The biggest obstacle was the first 100-200 vertical feet. It was truly the steepest slope of soil I have ever seen. You can't tell very well in the video, but there was actually a vertical slope of dirt only 20 feet in. Where Steve is hiking was the only "draw" in the soil face, and made for an interesting beginning to our hike. We made good time and came to an old road eventually, hiked upstream a quarter mile, then down to the creek.

Little Abiqua Creek from Jacob Cruser on Vimeo.
The stream was tiny. Fortunately we were able to make the first few hundred yards with no portages. Then I had a quick one that I was able to help Steve get over still in his boat, so until the first gorge Steve actually didn't have to portage. Below here was some bedrock and a small slide, then the fun double drop seen in the video. I call this drop False Hope, as when I saw this I was actually thinking this could turn in to a nice whitewater trip. It was small, but just challenging enough to have a clean line that it qualifies as a legitimate rapid. We continued down to the next portage, this was followed by some bedrock that produced another small slide or two, then the run pretty much turned into what we expected from the beginning, a shallow boat beater with wood.
The funnest parts of the run consisted of unique wood dodging scenarios. We even got a workout in when one of the sections forced us to benchpress ourselves under a log to get under :)
I think we both enjoyed this for awhile, but eventually we just wanted to get off the creek. I know Steve returned the favor of helping me over a log in my boat at one point and there was one sketchy encounter with a log. Overall the run went very smoothly and now we know we don't have to go back. When we hit Abiqua creek, it felt like a big river, even though it couldn't have had more than 300 cfs in it. I don't know where we were on the normal Abiqua run, but there was one 4 foot ledge that had a hole on the right, and a good boof in the middle. We took out, and I made it back to class that evening. Even if that did involve me running through campus with my kayak on my shoulder to drop it off at my dorm.  Overall I would have to say I enjoyed the trip, and now I can stop wondering what is in there when I am sifting over the maps.

     -Jacob