Thursday, December 27, 2012

Little Luckiamute: In to town


Stream: This section has a write-up in the back of Soggy Sneakers but gets little attention.  It doesn't have the best whitewater, but it does have whitewater and is roadside.  I ran it a number of times while I was in college because it was close by and I could jog/scooter the shuttle between classes.  If you are a class V boater the drop below the take out might interest you.

I usually started at camp Tapawingo, but it is possible to start at the white gate at the take out for The Gorge section.  Below the Tapawingo bridge is a short bit of class I-II before the creek drops away through several steep and braided channels.  Sometimes the top had to be portaged.

Below here it's class III or IV depending on flow with some flatter parts.  Watch out for wood but there was never enough to bother me.  Before reaching a decommissioned park there is a steep rapid that is pretty intermediate at normal flows but on one high water trip it was not and the person I was paddling with took a heinous swim and lost their gear.  They were pretty shook up.  I'd rate the drop more IV+ that day with some real holes.

Below the park the creek eases off and it's splashy class III at high water and technical class II at low water until you pass under another bridge.  Below this bridge things build slowly back to class III-IV depending on flow and there are a couple ledges with solid holes at high flows.

Work right as you approach Falls City Falls, the eddies along the bank over there are plenty easy to catch but you wouldn't want to miss them and if you enter the lead in too far left you might not be able to stop above the Falls.  Fortunately it's easy to scout the take out before putting on from Falls City Falls park so I'd definitely recommend doing that.

This is the end of the trip, but you won't be able to help but look for the line at Falls City Falls.  It's a pretty serious and messy drop, but if you decide to run it taking out at the foot bridge with the gauge on it behind the market is easy.
Flows:  3-4 on the gauge in town is the friendliest flow, not too manky or pushy.  Outside of that range the choice is yours to make.  Usually it's easy to make a decision on flow by looking upstream of Falls City Falls from the take out.  The photo below is just under the "3" mark.

Pat Welch has an online estimate, I usually look for 400-1,000 cfs for this section but have run it both higher and lower.  If levels are rising I don't want to see that gauge above 500 or so though.

Access:  Drive into Falls City Falls via Falls City rd, a short way past the High School and near the end of town is Fink's Market.  Pull in here to grab your food, water, beer, etc for the day and then walk down to the water where the gauge is located under the foot bridge.

Get back in the car and drive across the only road bridge in town and then immediately turn right.  There is a small gravel parking area in about 100 yards with some boulders and sometimes a port-toilet.  This is the take out, where you can check out the eddy situation above Falls City Falls.

To get to the put in cross back over the bridge and immediately turn left, then left again in 1/4 mile.  The road becomes gravel, continue about 3 miles to a right turn into Camp Tapawingo/Black Rock Mt Bike area.  You will shortly cross the put in bridge where you will find ample parking.

Original Write-up

Plan B: Falls City Falls

One of the first things I did upon arriving to college freshman year at Western Oregon University was to go check out the waterfall that was in the neighboring town of Falls City.  Driving there and asking locals to its locale I found it looking pretty marginal that day, but maybe at a different flow it would go?

I have returned to that falls many times since that first trip at all variety of flows.  I had never felt inspired to run it.

Last weekend my roommate Pat and I were trying to get to the Valley of the Giants, but got turned back by snow.  I figured we were driving right by Falls City Falls on the way back so might as well take a look at it.

I knew right away that it was runnable on this day, the flow was perfect and I had the feeling.  All I had was the IK, but sometimes I feel better in that thing anyway.  I scouted for half hour or so then had Pat drop me off half a mile upstream to warm up and remember how the IK handled.

Arriving at the falls I scouted for a few more minutes and then headed to my boat.

The line went exactly according to plan and can be viewed below.  I never thought I would run this drop and it was surreal to paddle towards it and then away from it.  Another personal boundary breached, another piece of my puzzle connected.

I think the online estimate was about 700 cfs and stable or dropping, and the painted gauge wasn't there yet.



D Patrinellis said...

That was a pretty sick line to stick in the ducky. Impressive.

Jacob said...

Thanks Dan!