We finished the creek from part 3 in very high spirits. Matt had a found a really 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.
Exiting the saddle and on our way into the valley.
The put in was gorgeous, both upstream and downstream. It was a nice little meadow that would make a great camp.
It turned out to be a really cool 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 super easy portage on the left.
Matt gives the "Snakepit" a look.
The easy portage on the left.
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 in the runout should be gone next year, in which case it will be runnable.
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.
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". I proceeded to be 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 right back into more gorges.
his shot at the rapid!
Myself launching into the rapid.
We scouted and ran a couple class four drops before we turned a corner and saw a very large logjam.
Looking back up at this rapid in "Inclination Gorge" doesn't quit capture the story, but you can see something is happening back there.
Not even close to getting over the steep, backed up pile. Looking back at the slot we both surfed out on the left.
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 what we had found.
Some footage from the Imnaha and other Wallowa classics