Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A forgotten Gem in the Holy Land

This run has descended into obscurity in the recent past.  It has a promising write up in the guidebook and flows when other Oregon streams are low.  It could be that this lack of interest stems from the legal issues surrounding the kayakers who were arrested in 1991 for scouting a rapid on private property back when this stream used to be run on the regular.  We checked out the stream this year and were surprised by the quality!  We found the stream to have a number of rapids and lots of paddling!  I can't say it much better than the guidebook, so I have retyped the report below.  You can buy a copy of that book here.

The Nestucca River, classified as a State Scenic Waterway, drops relentlessly through a lush scenic forest into a small valley into which a few small farms are squeezed.  Some stretches are quite uniform in gradient, others are pool drop.  Much of the river can be seen from the road.
    On this run, the river flows through about half national forest lands and about half private lands.  The rights of property owners along the river became a major issue in 1991 when kayakers were arrested for trespassing while scouting the class V rapids.  The issue is not yet resolved.  Do not us private lands to scout or portage around the rapids.
   At the put-in at Rocky Bend Campground, the gradient is nearly uniform.  Shortly downstream is a class IV rapid.  At 1.5 miles below Rocky Bend, after a curve to the right, is Silver Falls, where the river drops over and through a jumble of boulder (class V).  At high water a class IV sneak is on the left.  Immediately following is a class IV rapids in which the river flows around some boulders and over a shelf.  A fast rock garden then leads to a log bridge that is an alternate put in.  Enjoyable class II and III water continues for the remaining 6 miles to the take out on river right.
                                                                                                  ~Soggy Sneakers

 Our take:

We found the guidebook description spot on.  The stream is indeed a State Scenic Waterway, flowing though a forest.  As stated there are a few quaint farms in the valley.  We put in higher up than the guidebook run to get some extra miles.  We were worried that what we could see of the stream from the road was mostly dull looking, don't worry, the best rapids are not visible from the road and the sections viewable from the road passed by quickly.  As the guidebook suggests, we found the entire run to be very uniform in gradient, with only a few sections that diverged from the norm.  This uniform gradient dropped relentlessly over basalt, andesite and alluvium as it incised its way into the valley.  Where the gradient differed, the rapids became pool and drop.  At these location the stream dropped into mini gorges with tricky ledges and slots, but never harder than class IV.  If a paddler feels comfortable on Jordan Creek, they should be able to handle this run.  Though for any paddler looking to see something new and enjoyable this is a run to be missed!  A middle section offered a number of uniform ledges with unbroken holes that could be boofed.  One of these was a double drop with a 3 foot wide line at the top that we were able to boat scout, but might be worth a look at different water levels as you would not want to be offline. This section didn't make it into the film because we were concentrating on downstream progress at this point.

Not long after this section we were pretty sure we caught a glimpse of Jah as we paddled past Bible creek and one member of our group located a nice facility to take a brown in as Testament Creek found its way into our rear views.  We palavered and came to a concordance on the style of rapids in this section.  The consensus was they were all very Church.  There were also two slides we found in the 10 foot range on this upper section that not everyone ran, but those of us who did agreed they provided the most excitement of the day and were friendlier than they initially looked.

Silver Falls was the rapid on our minds all day, resulting from our unsureness of the runnablility/scouting/portaging situation we would be faced with.  As it turns out we were able to scout it from well below the high water line, avoiding confrontation with land owners.  We took a left line and thought the section surrounding Silver Falls above and below had whorthwhile rapids.  We had the recommended flow of 1000 cfs on the gauge, which allowed us to scout all the rapids from river level and still have enough water to float our boats.  I don't recall any portages, though there were probably one or two for wood.

The 3rd edition of Soggy Sneakers has a picture of the run and from other stories i believe this run used to get done a lot more often before the trespass issue and the arrest of the kayakers.  I hope now that the legal issues have been cleared up, people can once again return to this forgotten gem!

  Enjoy your trip to the holy land.

 Edit of the Nestucca River by Anna Herring and Priscilla Macy.

Bible Study from Jacob Cruser on Vimeo.


Unknown said...

Some big waterfalls in that area.

Thomas Hochstatter said...

I just ran the Nestucca with WKCC this weekend 3/27-28-29 at 3400 cfs.
It was beautiful, we did not run the small part on private land but did start above bible creek to below blane. You said it right it is a gem!
Thank you for the video.