Thursday, December 29, 2011

Little North Fork Wilson

Pete brought Andrew and I along on an adventurous trip into the Wilson river drainage Thanksgiving weekend, 2011.  It was a fun adventure, and I'd go back if using a lower put in.  Here is Pete's account of the trip.


Stream: The Little NF Wilson enters the main stem about 1 mile before the Wilson enters the Tillamook Valley.  The upper reaches are steep and wood ridden, only seek this out if you enjoy adventure boating as you will spend time problem solving on the banks.  There are some steep boulder piles that have some futuristic lines in them up there.

Lower down, near the confluence with Shadow Creek the stream matures and starts to become quality from a whitewater sense.  The best of the rapids are class IV, and there is a healthy dose of these class IV's.  The access situation isn't ideal, but the road-less nature of the stream is a big part of it's charm.
Flows:  We were there on Nov 27, 2011.  This was a good first time flow (low, but still worth doing at that flow).


There is another gauge to look at that is more similarly sized to the LNF Wilson than the Wilson and not too far away.  However, it's not in the same drainage so it is there to compliment the Wilson gauge, not replace it for guessing whether the Little North Fork Wilson is in.  This would be the Scoggins Creek gauge, and it was at 120 cfs the day we ran the LNF Wilson.


Access:  Take out at the Mills Bridge Drift Boat Launch along Hwy 6, at the confluence of the LNF and mainstem Wilson Rivers.  45.4718, -123.7391

To get to headwaters we drove 12 miles up Hwy 6 from the take out and crossed the Wilson on Cedar Butte Rd, which we followed for 2.2 miles, then veered left.  1/4 mile later we turned right, and followed this road to a bridge over the stream 45.5611, -123.6386.  It was tiny up here, and the first few miles were enjoyable in the sense of adventure.  There were a few engaging rapids, but also a healthy dose of portaging. 

If I were to do the run again, I'd drive 6 miles upstream from the take out and turn left on Coast Range Rd.  I'd take that 4.7 miles and use an old spur to walk down as close as I could get to the creek, then schwack the rest of the way to the creek 45.5253, -123.6855.

I recommend anyone doing this run take a look at a map and find the way that looks best to them.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Anna stands guard over the realm of the falls.

We got on the Riverhouse and Dillon Falls section of the Deschutes this weekend.  Andrew came prepared with his new rear mount for the Gopro which resulted in some cool shots.

We all did many laps on the 25' dam at the put in which is a total blast.  This drop is really easy center right, but has a pulsing hydraulic on the left that is either a smooth ramp or sticky hole depending on the surge. There was an exciting moment when Nate got caught in this hydraulic, but a combo of composed surfing by him and Skip being on top of his game (especially for a non-boater) got Nate out of there safely without a swim.
Nate and my first run went as hoped.
Dualing Green Nomads

We did the rest of the run without scouting from shore (which would have been a pain with the thick brush and sharp rock) which upped the fun level fun.  Every drop was boat scout-able except one which we ran blind.  There were two others that wouldn't hurt to scout.

There was some good quality stuff in there.  This would be a great backyard run.

We then headed up to Dillon Falls.  Everybody was a bit cold, but Nate and I still decided to give it a go after various heating techniques were applied.

  Nate had a sweet boof line down the left into the fold, and I did a delayed boof in the center.
Nate with a silky line.

 We waited while Anna decided to join, she wanted to seal launch in below the falls and just run the gorge.  There is a notoriously sticky hole just below the falls that she was funneled right into the center of.  She was able to roll up once but after multiple ends pulled and swam to the right shore.  Her boat pinned on the left in the gorge.
Last breath of air for awhile.

Nate lowered me in my boat to a point I could connect another rope to her boat.  He pulled me back and we struggled getting the pinned boat to budge.  We had a pin kit in the car, but the ground crew was unable to find it.  With darkness closing in and no pin kit, we left the boat tied off to a boulder and headed downstream through the short remainder of the gorge.  We changed and by the time we made the short drive to Bend it was dark.
Nate and Andrew cold, but happy with the day.

We spent 5 hours getting dinner then off to our final destinations for the evening.

Andrew made a quick video of the two bigger drops using his Gopro mount on the back, then the normal use of a Gopro, then a final one of it mounted on a boom.  It turned out well I thought.  Here it is.

Riverhouse run Upper Deschutes from Andrew Bradley on Vimeo.

It was a long trip, but without water over here in the Valley its a worthy journey.  With many runnable sections, the Deschutes offers a low water respite.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Third Person Mount

1. Remove all gear in the stern of youre boat and take off rear grab loop , nuts and bolt.
2.  We went to a Ace hardweare and looked around in nuts and bolts for awile picking out the things to use for the mount. We had some scrap sheet metal laying around that we used to connect the nuts and washers. Also it was used for the base and top of the mount where the gopro sits and the mount rests a square peice of quater inch tubing was used to get the height for the mount.
3. Welding the peices together we did not use stainless steel so we painted everything after it was all said and done.  The bracket that the mount connects to we spot welded.
4. Bothe of the pictures show front and back side of bracket we welded. We did this so the bolts do not have to be held on the inside when taking off the mount or putting it on the bolts will not spin on you.
5. We drilled the holes on the boat just alittle bigger so we didnt have to force the bolts in.
6. Measuring the hole distance for both the the mount and bracket.
7.  The flat part of steel that base started out as for the mount we bent with a rubber mallet to form to the outside of the boat.
8. As one person drilled the holes on the mount the other took the back piller out, to put the bracket in.
9. Holes are drilled for the mount put it on and bolt it down. Make sure every thing is done and set with the brackt you may have to bend it up at an angle to get the piller to sit back in its spot.
10. Foam piller is back in make sure it is snug and in the right spot.
11. If you are to set your boat up in this way I would recomend making your bracket peice very strong. The way we set it up is we can innerchange both the mount and the grab loop in a few minutes so you do not have to paddle with the mount for the whole run. Also using a pool toy noodle as a soft out side and leash on the gopro and to help the mount float if it is to get nocked off on the water.

- Andrew

   ~Andrew Bradley

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Black Rock: Under Crossed Polars

I had a team video project for school and we decided to make a film about a fellow Earth Science student Patrick Stephenson, and the Black Rock mountain biking area that he rides and builds at.  It was my first attempt at documentary style movie making instead of just eye candy (there is still some of that at the beginning and the end).  There is one kayaking shot of Matt King, then Andrew Bradley running Spirit Falls.  I know some of you are mountain bikers and have visited this place so you might appreciate it.

We will probably show it again during the academic showcase this Spring, so it should be a bit more clean cut by then.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

PDXfilm festival

As is par for the course for me, I wasn't able to go to the film fest this year.  I did spend an afternoon editing something for the blog, then figured what the hey, might as well enter it in the film fest.  I had some issues with the school network so could not come back and take this any further than a rough draft, so please excuse the cheesy, choppy introduction.

If nothing else comes from this video, realize there is still good stuff out there to be explored.  Don't be a part the 99% who have never run anything not in a guidebook ;)

Ok, two cheesy thoughts on one blog post is enough, here is the video!

 *Most of the footage was taken by Ryan Scott.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Hagen Update

With heavy rains on Wednesday night, I was able to bust out from work early on Thursday and got in a quick run down Hagen Gorge. Andrew Bradley and I started the hike around 1:45 and took off the NF Washougal at the first bridge before 4 oclock. Happy to report that the gorge is clean of any nasty wood. The log at the bottom of Euphoria Falls is still there, but is still easily avoidable. As was reported last year, the jam/dam at the top of the gorge is nastier than ever. With a good flow, it would be very easy to get flushed into the logs. I managed to catch a small one boat eddy on the left, but it involved grasping onto bushes and a sketchy exit from my boat. Andrew basically drove up onto the gravel bar in the center of the river and had to ninja move out of his boat on the fly. Be careful approaching this hazard and eddy out early. Other than that, the trip was a blast. Having missed out on this creek last season, I was happy to get back on and remind myself how much I love the Hagen Gorge.

 -Nate M.
There is another put in that avoids this sketchy move altogether and puts you in 50 yards below the log deck, at the start of the gorge.

Some past Hagen Goodness from Andrew.

Friday, October 28, 2011

How to: Right side of island Drop

Eric Fostermoore just sent me this video of Matt King, Dan Rubado, and Rick Cooley running the right side of Island drop.

 I have only seen video of this section of water, but all the shots Iv'e seen make this drop look really hard to run clean.

 Until now!  Watch all three of them hit their boof off the top drop.  The word from Rick... boof early.

Level around 545 cfs. September 18, 2011  


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bomb Proof

First off, the method I describe below is really only necessary when other more traditional patching techniques just won't cut it. I've seen traditional welds work just fine. However, this particular situation called for something a bit stronger. There was quite literally a hole in the bottom of my boat (a result of a poor attempt at a traditional weld and some very thin plastic.)
I first got this idea from Pete G. who has succeeded at patching several boats in a similar manner.
It actually works!
What you'll need:
4-6 Machine Screws and nuts
Duct Tape
2 sheets of plastic from an old boat (mine were about 4in by 4in)
Aqua Seal
Sand Paper
First Step: Cut out two sheets of plastic from your buddies old boat. Both should be equal in size and should be considerably larger than the area you want to patch. I found plastic that was the same color as my boat, but that this is not necessary. In fact, plastic of another color would just make it that much classier.
Step 2: Place one of the sheets over the area you want to seal on the outside of the boat. Drill holes at the corners of the sheet strait through the boat.
Step 3: Line up the second sheet of plastic on the inside of the boat and drill 4 matching holes through the inside sheet.
Step 4: Now that you have the machine screw holes all lined up, place the sheets of plastic aside for a moment and cover the inside of the crack (hole) with several layers of duct tape. I used a heat gun to heat the duct tape and it conformed to the crack pretty well.
Step 5: Line the sheets up correctly and place a nice thick layer of aqua seal over the entire underside of the outside sheet. Insert the machine screws. They should reach from the outside of the outter sheet through the inner sheet.
Step 6: Twist on the nuts on the inside and tighten er down snug. As you tighten the screws, the heads on the outside of the boat should sink in create a nice smooth surface.
Step 7: Once the patch is tightened all the way together (like a sandwich), use the sandpaper to sand the edges of the outer patch down. It doesn't need to be perfect, but it helps to have the edges as flush as possible to prevent the patch from 'catching' on rocks.
Step 8: Test your patch on low water Olympic peninsula runs in early October. If it holds up (like mine did), you're stoked.
And a quick photo drop: (fall 2011)
Gifford Pinchot
Upper Lewis
Our humble abode for the weekend. Olympic penninsula overlooking the Puget sound.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Imnaha River: Headwaters

Headwaters of the Imnaha
We finished the creek from part 3 in high spirits. Matt had a found a good one, but we still had plenty of energy and another mission planned for the next day. We spent some time driving around figuring out access and giving the flow one last check before getting after it that same evening.

It involved a pleasant hike through the Eagle Cap Wilderness, from the Lick Creek trailhead.

Access would involve a 4 mile hike in, with the first mile being uphill. We shouldered our light boats in the night before to the saddle signaling the downhill part of the hike. It turned out to be a bit longer than we had thought it would be, but that just made the next days portion a little easier. Matt and I arrived at the saddle about twenty minutes after dark. We headed back down the trail to find Ryan (who opted out of this trip), and headed back to our cars in the dark. We camped at the trail head excited about the next day. We said farewell to Ryan in the morning and hoped to meet up with him somewhere near the end of the run as he would be following another trail trying to intersect us at some point.
As Matt and I made it to the saddle, we were impressed by the view. It was hard to capture, but Matt did a good job with the picture that heads the "stream guide" page on this website. We took some time to eat and set up our carrying systems, then it was off down the backside of the trail.

Exiting the saddle and on our way into the valley.
We took a few breaks on the way down but made good time. As we approached river level the anticipation grew.

The put in was gorgeous, both upstream and downstream. It was a nice little meadow that made a nice campsite on a return trip.

 *It is possible to hike up from the bottom near Indian Crossing.  It's a mile longer, but the gradient is moderate and it removes the shuttle and in the end saves time.

We paddled a short bit of meadow with no wood till we came to the first granite outcropping.

It turned out to be a neat looking drop, there was a log in the runout creating a bit of a sieve and neither Matt or I wanted to start a trip of this nature off with a bad moment so we took the sidewalk style portage on the left.

Matt gives the "Snakepit" a look.

Boofing past the Snake Pit on a return trip.
1050 and 1150 on the old Imnaha gauge
Photo: Michael Freeman

We boogied some more class III-III+ down to the next bedrock outcropping. This one did not have the same smooth look to it and had wood in the runout. We regretfully shouldered out boats again, not knowing that this would be the last time we portaged a rapid on the trip.

The wood moved each of the next two times we ran the river.

Below here was a short bit of boogie before our dreams were fulfilled. We found gorge after gorge after gorge. A few of which required half hour scouts to see the whole thing since they were totally boxed in by vertical walls. It seemed that each gorge got slightly harder. All were incredibly fun, sometimes classic, sometimes unique, drops. I actually cannot recall many of the rapids because there were plenty of gorges, each with many rapids.

Matt scouts one of many.
After some time we arrived at our first class five gorge. This one required a long scout and a relocation of a small tree. Matt spent his time working out the first drop (the hardest), while I figured out the route through the rest of the gorge.The entrance that Matt scouted was unique and challenging, we ran a chute down the left, then worked to avoid a wall on the right and the left.   Matt lead into "The Leftorium" and we regrouped below the entrance.

Entrance to "The Leftorium"

This dropped us into the heart of the gorge.  I went by Matt who was eddied out. I called out "follow me, every drop goes on the right".  Not 3 moments later I was able to see the whole picture at this point and ran the first drop on the left :)  Matt wasn't thrown off and we had a good run.  The next drop locks you in completely and we finished as we started; left, left, left.  Improvisation certainly has a place.  Exiting the Leftorium was a short class III-IV respite before getting back into more gorges.

We exited this gorge only to float a short distance before a horizon line between high walls. This one we scouted on the right and had us smiling. It was a fun, non consequential looking rapid through two drops with a fluffy hole at the bottom. I tried to tuck and go deep through the bottom hole for fun, resulting in the only roll for either of us this day. On Matt's run, he resurfaced just as a salmon headed the other way took his shot at the rapid!

Myself launching into the rapid.

We had this short bit of flat water before we could see what looked to be another gorge section looming in the distance.

We scouted and ran a couple class four drops before we turned a corner where a logjam required a walk on the left.

Portaging over the boulders on the left, we lamented the nice looking boof the log jam had wedged itself into.  Looking downstream, we could see there was something large in the gorge. With the steepness and the spray from upstream I assumed it would be unrunnable.   Matt was scouting on the left and the crawl over the boulders looked energy consuming. After I could tell he was scouting the rapid and not a portage route, I looked around and saw a way to scout on the right that looked like easier walking so headed over there. The rapid was in fact class V, the first two holes were plucky and not pushing where we would want to be.   These were followed by a slightly marginal goal post move that landed on padded rocks. This lead into some more pushy looking water that lead into a boulder fence that was best run far left to avoid some sieves.

 After scouting for awhile I decided I would run it, Matt was certainly feeling the same. The portage on the left is doable, but it would take awhile lifting boats over the car sized boulders for a couple hundred yards. Once we committed, I went back for one more scout and saw what looked to be a way around the goal post move. I decided to take this, though it would require some finesse.  The route I took had me angling right through the first hole, using the momentum to get further right and over the second ledge-hole on the right.  This set me up to again land right, driving right to make it right of a large boulder separating my line from the goal post move. I turned the corner and dropped a ledge that landed me next to the goal post move, waiting for Matt to come through these posts.  Matt ran the whole thing right through the meat, and I rejoined him in the main flow after he cleared the goal posts.  Hot on Matt's tail we made the last couple moves, and let out a cheer as we floated through the class four tailings into an area with some eddies against the wall in the gorge below.

Looking back up at "Inclination Gorge" doesn't quit capture the story, but if you look close there is some gradient up there near the top.

Matt hopped out below this next rapid to take pictures and signal me through. I thought it was going to be an easy drop and we had some miscommunication, so I paddled into this small drop thinking it was a small class four with two ledges. However, I came over the first (and what turned out to be only) drop and had a moment of regret looking at a very backed up little whole.  Luckily after failing to clear it, I found (as had Matt) that while getting over the boil was not going to happen, the recycle exited through a friendly slot to the left.  We had a chuckle over that one.

Whoops, time for plan B.
Below here were more unique, fun class IV-V drops. We were surprised and elated. The run was everything we had wanted to find and more. I won't ruin all the surprises, but definitely don't just run stuff on this river without scouting. The last scout revealed a small ledge, then a big eddy on the right above this log jam (no longer there as of 2015).

The easy portage on the right lead to this view, a straight shot of flat water leading out of the final gorge and into the runout!

We both took advantage of the fun seal launch and soaked in the last 50 yards of canyon as we emerged grinning ear to ear.

There was about a mile or two of busy class II-III and no wood portages before we rounded a corner and saw the bridge and Ryan! It turns out he spent his day chasing Oakland around and never got a chance to get past the runout. We shared in a victory beverage and some food as we geared down, amazed at a quality section of river we had previously heard nothing about as far as paddling goes.

Some footage from the Imnaha and other Wallowa streams.

 We ran this section at 600 cfs, and about double that the next time according to my notes.  I thought both trips were good flows.



A return trip on June 11, 2013 was a friendly medium with flows fluctuating between 1050 and 1250 on the old Imnaha gauge.  This was higher than our first trip, but lower than our second trip.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lostine River: Williamson Campground to Pole Bridge

The Lostine River really stood out on the maps because it's a deep granite canyon with lots of steep sections and has a road that more or less follows the creek way up into the mountains. If you think of the streams in the Wallowas as the spokes of a bike wheel, this is one of the few where the road gets past the rim. The easy access, great camping, and steepness was calling my name and so I started my exploration there, heading up to the creek several times over the course of spring and getting a sense of what flows we needed. When Jacob and I ended up there during our circumnavigation, flows were too high, but we definitely saw the promise, and we got a delicious taste when we knocked off Cherry Picker.
The highest water season in decades forced me to wait what seemed like an eternity for the water to drop, but finally the time came. It started out with some emails, trying to get some good boaters to make their way east. That's one thing that's been hard about moving to a small town in an area not known for kayaking: there aren't many kayakers, you've got to import them from elsewhere. Thanks to some good convincing by Jacob that I wasn't just crazy and the whitewater wouldn't just be a manky-woody-portage-fest, some folks expressed interest. With the groundwork done, and a solid idea that the flows were right, a small group finally came together. First, we knocked off the obvious treasure, Wiki 1.

The first time down the creek we had Chris Arnold, Ty Overeem, and me. We spent a lot of time hiking off the road and scrambling down, only to get a look at a few hundred yards of clean stream. We couldn't really tell how steep stuff was since we were looking from so high up, but some of it made the creek seem like one giant steep boulder garden. Once we noticed the abundance of single-boat eddies, we decided we might as well go for it and we put on. The put in, by the way, is really nice, some wooden steps lead from a campsite to a serene pool with a gravel beach, a stark difference from what lies just around the corner.

Ryan Scott contemplates the calm before the storm.
Heading around the corner from the campground, the creek immediately begins to tilt on edge and starts rolling on downhill. There are lots of nice little eddy moves and smaller boofs as the river gives you a chance to warm up and get acquainted. About a mile into the run, the first recommended scout shows up, pretty much at a blind right-hand corner. Again and as always, never run a blind corner! It's best to hop out at a landslide on the right and walk down to scout. This one really makes you turn back and forth a lot while dropping at a dizzying rate; we called it Tailspin. The photos only include the middle part of the rapid, it's nearly a quarter-mile long end to end. The most important move was a really nice cross-current boof to avoid a nasty log jam blocking half the river.

The Crux move in Tailspin
The Satisfaction of being post-crux: Jacob, Ty, and Ryan get it done in perfect formation.
Still Spinning.
Following Tailspin, the river eases off a bit, but there's no point on this whole run where you can relax. Constant boulder boofs and some wood avoidance keep you on your toes. At some point, there's another blind right corner with some house-sized boulders coming off of a landslide on river left. Stop early for this one, an eddy at the corner is deceptive and caught one of our paddlers off guard on our first decent, forcing him to run the corner.

Condemnation Corner
**Log gone in 2016**
Once he knew he had missed the eddy, he turned and saw that he was headed straight for a river-wide log. Seeing no way out in his boat, he jumped ship and scrambled on to shore, sustaining some severe bruises but otherwise fine. By the time the rest of us ran down shore and made visual contact, he was standing up on a huge boulder and OK, much to our relief.

No good line.
**log gone in 2016**
Condemnation is best scouted and portaged on the left, but hopefully by the time this one comes in again, the wood will have disappeared. And after the portage- more bouldery goodness! There were a couple spots that required some tricky wood-avoidance, but this section was mostly clean as well and quite enjoyable.
Soon the walls start to rise, and the Last Delight Gorge emerges from the forest. You can see it coming from well upstream because there's a huge granite face on river right with nothing growing but stunted little bonsai trees. Once you see this wall, get out on the left to scout/portage the entrance drop, which had wood for us.
Once you get past the entrance, the deepest part of the gorge comes into view, and the substrate changes from boulders to bedrock.

Feeling Delighted! 
The gorge is short, less than a quarter mile, but it sure packs a punch. There's a diagonal hole at the top, then a moving pool into a killer boof. We saw this one when we were scouting before the run, standing on the rocks above like giddy school boys. I've heard from some locals that the boof ledge is the best place around to watch salmon jump. At about 8 feet, they can get above it, but most fish will have to make a few attempts and will enact their best aerial gymnastics.

Scouting the boof 
And downstream of the boof 
Jacob digs deep. 
Ty styling the main attraction.

Below the boof, there's a log jam that looks unrunnable, but can be snuck under on the left. There's a hole under the logs that you kinda blast through while ducking, but the move is quite manageable.

Getting ready for the logjam. 

Many logs, one line. 

After the jam, there's a nice eddy on the left that we all stopped in, just above the last move of the run. The final move consists of a 90-degree turn against a wall that leads immediately to a speedy ski-jump style launch into or over a big hole. The hole took a couple of us for a ride over the two runs, but didn't hold on too tight and everyone fought till flushing.

Coming to the end.

At the take out, we all enjoyed a cold one, thanks to Oakland who dutifully guarded the cooler while we were on the river. I was really satisfied that this run turned out so well and the boys were far from disappointed. In fact, we all agreed that in terms of steep, bouldery goodness, this was the best whitewater any of us had done... too bad it's only in a few weeks a year.

Video with plenty of footage from the Lostine, as well as the Imnaha.