Monday, July 25, 2011
Snoqualmie Pass for the Weekend
Nate checking in. I'm throwing this post up in a hurry because the runs detailed below won't be in for much longer. Get em' while they're hot. With a week long business trip to Turlock, CA looming in my future, I began to lay plans for the following weekend. After spending several days in the 100 degree heat of central California, I figured that that best way to relax would be a leisurely camping and paddling trip. Having spent the last few weeks paddling the stuff around Portland, I decided that it was time to branch out a little bit and quickly convinced Anna Herring to join me on a foray deep into Washington. We initially had our eye on the Ohanepacosh, but after watching the gauge for a few days, we quickly realized that the ohane (my favorite run) was still going to be too high by the time the weekend rolled around. After examining a few other options, we settled on S.F. Snoqualmie River, east of Seattle. The South Fork, often referred to as Fall in the Wall had been described to me as a miles worth of class 4 ledges ranging from 5 - 10 feet. . I'd also heard about the 20 foot falls (fall in the wall) at the put-in with a rep. for pounding paddlers into a cave/undercut combo. By the time we were saddled up and ready to embark on our mission north, we had picked up Chris Harman and my girl friend Claire (who was down for a weekend in the woods even though she doesn't kayak. Thanks for the shuttles by the way!) We all met up at 9am on Saturday morning, loaded up my Outback and were on the road by 9:15. With a few stops along the way, we arrived at the Put-In around 2 Oclock. Upon arrival it is immediately evident how unique this creek really is. Not only is this section abnormally high in the drainage (the section is less than a mile from the pass where water starts to drop east instead of west) but it is also located between the lanes of I-90. Despite this fact, the run feels completely secluded and you really feel like you're paddling through a tunnel of old growth the entire trip. After scouting Fall in the Wall and descideing to save it for another time, we rounded the bend on the way to the lower put-in (below the 20 footer) and ran into two other kayakers (Boris and Kent?). They immediately offered to show us down the run and we didn't hesitate to accept there generous offer. 10 minutes later we were geared up and floating above the first series of drops known as 'the fearsome foursome'. I believe we ran right, right, right to left, and right again respectively through this series of 5-10 foot ledges. Nothing difficult, just good clean fun. The rest of the run was littered with tight chutes and steep falls. Everything was separated by beautiful emerald pools which made this run a great class IV experience. We had about 300 cfs on the SF gauge.