Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wiki #5: A desert rose

The boaters here at Into The Outside all have our own lists of creeks we want to run, as well as a collective list of streams we want to explore.  This last year saw us checking off a few of these, while many others remain in the shadows.  Some went well and provided us with fantastic adventures, while others lead us on long hikes with little to no redemption in the form of whitewater.  To us, the reward can come in many forms, and all trips advance our knowledge of ourselves and the world around us.

It is for this reason that after taking off the Deschutes at the end of a five day boating binge, I decided to take the long way home in order to check out an obscure creek that has been on our collective list for awhile now (I think Matt put it there).  I did not have my GPS in working order, so was on the phone with my dad (guiding me from google maps) a lot and flipping through the Gazetteer I had just borrowed from Matt to locate this small creek that appeared to have enough water on the gauge (250 cfs in July!).  I stopped in the town of Warm Springs to grab a couple snacks before making the short drive up a gravel road to its drive-able terminus at a yellow gate.  It appeared to be about a mile to the take out, then a few hundred yards to the put in.

I quickly got my stuff together and hiked as quickly as I could, watching the sun drop behind the canyon rim. I located the take out at a small low head dam adjacent to a large wooden structure whose purpose I could not decipher and decided the stream had enough water to explore.  I followed a path to my left up a small hill and eventually saw the flat water at the top of the steep section.  I put in just below the first set of class five and manked my way down some fast paced whitewater.  I was thankful I had minimal flows, as this would be very frightening whitewater at 500 cfs.  It was truly a puzzle linking eddies, as the run was not boat scoutable and many dead ends existed outside the preferred line.

As I neared the end, the late start was becoming an issue as it became dark and instead of scouting the last class five, I just walked with my boat and put in below, running the rest of the class three to the take out in the dark.  I hiked out by moonlight and started the 3+ hour drive back to Monmouth, lucking out with an open gas station in Madras.

I would not recommend this run to tentative class five boaters.  With water in the creek I believe this short section would be noticeably harder and just as consequential as any of the runs in Oregon.  It was fun piecing it together at low flows, but you will want to be on your game and scout the whole run with 400+ cfs.  The hike is easy and there were no mandatory wood portages in this quarter mile section. If you are all about the burl and gnar this creek is for you.

The desert rose, it has its thorns but if you can keep it online the pedals should be worth it ;)

Film coming.... some other time.


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