Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend Update

Little Goose and Lower Trout Lake Creek.

Went up to run Kenobi Gorge on Sunday. I doubt this will be run again anytime soon, there is wood everywhere. Chewie and Sarlacc Falls both have really bad wood.
The wood in Chewie (as is often the case: all photos by Matt King)

The wood in Sarlacc. It doesn't look unrunnable here, but Matt assured us you would not be able to run this drop without crashing over/through a branch. With the wood in that hole, a less than perfect line would be very, very life threatening.
There is also a lot of other wood. Nick and I tubed this run last summer and none of this wood was there, so its all new this year. Looks like it will not be going anywhere as well. So after hiking our boats in and doing a bit of scouting, we hiked right back out. It was still cool to be back to this place, really a gorgeous place, with the area around Imperial falls being super unique. The walls are crumbling columnar basalt that is really pleasant to see. These walls are worth the trip on its own. I haven't seen anything like it before (except of course the last time I was here with Nick).
The rock cycle in progress.

The spring right next to Chewie is really tasty as well!
We still wanted to go boating, so Dan, Robby, and Matt headed for the Truss, while Shane and I headed for lower Trout Lake Creek.
I had only heard about one group of people running Trout Lake Creek recently, which is unfortunate. This run is a perfect next step up from the Middle White Salmon and a good intro to adventure boating. The run isn't very hard, but has quality whitewater without many dull sections. I was expecting "The Ledges" to be maybe III-IV, but they were solid class 4 and really fun! This was Shane's first class four in a kayak and he killed it! He was following me down, but I eddied out behind a hole and he kept going, probing the second half of this long drop. He hit his lines and punched all the holes perfect, nice work!
There are a couple drops that are hard to scout without going onto private property, but the owners were super nice and waved us over to let us know we could walk through their yards and even open there gates if we needed so long as we didn't let their llamas out. I won't describe the drops much because these are fun ones to figure out on your own. I was surprised by the many small horizon lines and high quality of rapids. Once the stream joins with the White Salmon, the flow doubles and there are some splashy, pushier rapids. All class three and fun. The geology starts to look like the Farmlands at this point, but the rapids don't get big. We took out at a bridge right above a lowhead dam on what I believe was Little Mt road.
Levels were just over 3.5 ft on White Salmon at Husum. I would strongly suggest kayakers who feel they are ready to do class four try out this creek. Just be polite to the landowners and try to stay near river level. Also know that portaging the Ledges would be near impossible on river right without trespassing. Even though the landowners have been gracious, river left might be a better option, actually, the best option is to just run them.
The other crew had a good run on the Truss, with Dan getting his first no portage descent, and Robby (less than ten times in a raft ever), ran everything except BZ. Matt sacrificed running Big Brother in order to set safety, but said the center would go well at that level, and had a good run in general. Dan decided he was running BZ whether anyone was in the raft with him or not. Now, BZ isn't a tall falls, it is just a really big hole. With most big holes, speed is a part of the plan, not the case this day. Dan's plan was to drop in, get surfed, have Robby or Matt (who was clipped in to the walkway) throw him a rope and pull him out. The first part worked (the getting surfed part), however, he was immediately pulled back in, flipped, then recycled a couple times out of the boat. Finally he balled up, hit the bottom of the river, then squatted off downstream, being under for half a minute without a breath. Matt gave chase to the raft, almost losing his paddle climbing into the raft, then eddied it out below Maytag and R1'ed it back up the eddy after retrieving his paddle and getting his boat into the raft. Saving the crew a lot of hassle tracking it down on the Middle White.
Dan redeemed his Karma at the BZ takeout, then we went back to Troutdale, then on to Monmouth. I finally arrived home at 2:30 after a couple more stops, long day.
Special thanks to Kait for helping drive, and spending the whole day following us around.
All photos by Matt King

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Little North Santiam: Opal Gorge

Photo: Matt King


Stream: Most people do this run as an extension of the Classic Opal stretch, but locals do it as a stand-alone run all the time if they are looking for a shorter trip.  Either way you start this section at Three Pools.  It is easy to walk up to the top of Thor's along a short trail to get some action in right away.

The stream exits the Pool at the base of Thor's and goes around an island.  At low flows both sides are rocky, right is the standard route.  The next mile is class II and gives you a chance to get warmed up.  The entrance to the gorge is obvious as the walls rise up and a rapid presents itself.  This is the longest, yet least challenging rapid of the section.  You can run the entrance wherever, though I like to stay along the right bank.  The lines converge near the bottom and a boulder in the center of the river creates a ledge.  At low and high flows it is best to boof off the left edge of this boulder (covered at high flows) and at medium flows it is fun to boof off the right shoulder of it.

This lands you in the calm pool above the Mystery AKA the Un/Un (unscoutable/unportageable).  The standard line is 6 inches off the left wall at the lip, pointed towards 1 o clock and letting your nose drop.  If you have the correct angle a shelf will shoot you out cleanly into the aerated pool below.  Angled too far left or right and you will likely receive a glancing blow from either wall before being shot out into the pool below.  
The right channel gets run too, but not as often.  There is even a middle boof at high flows as well.

                                               A right side run of Mystery AKA the Un/Un at very low flows.
                                                              Photo: Lucas Rietmann

There is a small ledge below here that develops a respectable hole at high flows before another calm pool.  The next horizon line is the Undertaker, as far as I know this drop has been run once at 5,000 cfs (by Willy Dinsdale) and portaged by every other boater who has ever run this stretch of river.  The left side portage is quicker, but there are about 5' of this exposed portage that are slippery and this keeps a lot of people who would otherwise enjoy the run from paddling Opal Gorge.  I don't want to tell people it's no big thing, and it's true that if you fell it would likely be the end of you, but lots of people have made the portage without issue and most of them are more than willing to repeat the trip.   The decision is always yours, and if you really get freaked out you can always attain back upstream to get to the river-right portage at med-low flows and below.

                                                                             Don't fall
                                                                       Photo: Matt King

                     Eric Foster-Moore is all smiles after passing the crux of the Undertaker portage.
                                                                  Photo: Matt King

There is another boulder just below the Undertaker (Tombstone Rock) that can be run on either side so long as you are driving strongly back to center.

The next rapid is Unicorn, a long Boulder Garden that is entered on the center/right and then run down the main/center channel the rest of the way.

A moving pool separates the runout of Unicorn from Henline Rapid which can be scouted from the right at normal flows and left or right at low flows.  Lines exist far right and far left, avoiding the center of the rapid (where most of the current funnels) at the top and bottom.  There is an undercut bottom-left that makes me squeamish here at low flows, but it is covered at normal flows.

                                                Brian Butcher runs left at Henline Rapid.
                                                           Photo: Lucas Rietmann

The next horizon is the Sierra Slot, which used to have a boof on the right but things seemed to have changed a bit and that line seems to flip people onto their head.  The new standard line is the same as the old, running the right channel driving hard left with a right stroke into a fold that can rinse out the sinuses but lands in a forgiving pool.

Below here you are free of the gorge, a half mile of class II leads to the last portage at Elkhorn Falls.  If you look at this rapid and decide it looks like something you may want to run (main line or sneak), first walk out onto the finger of rock creating a pinch in the outflow and see for yourself how much of the river actually flows under there.  The portage is ultra easy on the left.

                                Michael Freeman making the first move of Elkhorn Falls at flows under the            .                                                    recommended flow range (still a class V rapid).
                                                             Photo: Lucas Rietmann

A half mile downstream is the Elkhorn bridge with a staff gauge underneath on river right.  I generally like taking out at the Elkhorn bridge these days as it avoids another mile of class I and flatwater down to Salmon Falls, the other take out option.  

That said, Salmon Falls is a good drop, and if you have never paddled it before I would encourage you to paddle down to it and make up your own mind about whether it's worth the flat water or not.

Salmon Falls can be scouted thoroughly along a retaining wall on river-left, you won't be able to see much from river-right.   For me, if levels are below 1,000 cfs I choose to portage the lead in to Salmon Falls and seal launch at the lip.  Over 1,500 cfs the center to left line Rick Cooley demonstrates below is most appealing.  At 1,000-1,500 cfs I usually take out at the Elkhorn bridge.  

                                                                     Photo: Matt King

Then there are those who try the far left lead-in to Salmon Falls, some of these people even manage to go over the main drop upright. 

                                                             Photo: Lucas Rietmann

Flows:  400-2,000 cfs on the Little North Fork Santiam Gauge is the range I am comfortable with; ideal first time flows on the Elkhorn Gauge are 5-6'.

If you are a well-traveled class V boater, I have heard 3,000 cfs and stable or dropping is a magical level to do Classic Opal through Opal Gorge.  Though I can't recommend that flow to anyone who doesn't already know the gorge.  At this level Mystery is run center, and the Undertaker needs to be portaged on the right.

Locals have done the run up to 5,000 cfs, some of them have regretted that decision while others have had a great time. 

Access:  Take I5 to Salem and head East on Highway 22 towards Detroit Reservoir.  In about 22 miles turn left at a flashing yellow light onto N Fork Rd. 14 miles after turning off Hwy 22 you pass Salmon Falls, which is the lower take out.  To use the upper take out continue upstream 1 mile and park your vehicle at the intersection of Elkhorn Rd (which leads promptly to the take out bridge) and N Fork Rd.  At the end of the day you can walk to your car and drive it down to the bridge to load gear, but locals don't like boaters leaving vehicles at the bridge all day. 

From either take out continue upstream on N Fork Rd to get to the put in, after a few miles the road turns to gravel.  Just under 2 miles after this happens you will make a sharp right onto a road marked by a kiosk and some boulders that leads downhill.  Just under a mile after making this turn, pull right into the paved Three Pools day use area (not signed in 2015).  Stairs at the far end of the parking lot lead down to the put in.

Notes:   Iv'e been asked a couple times how to scout Mystery before putting on, since it can't be done once on the water.  This is how Iv'e done it.    
 -    After crossing the bridge over Henline Creek, the road will go uphill slightly for a couple hundred yards or so, when it switches to going downhill look for a place to pull out on the right (if you get to the left turn you have gone too far).   Walk perpendicular away from the road straight towards the Little North Santiam, you will reach some cliffs overlooking the gorge.  If you poke around for awhile, you will be able to see whether the left side of Mystery is clear.    44.840054, -122.332117

Original Write-up

Well, Matt and crew seemed to have a lot of fun on Opal Gorge a couple weeks ago, so Nate and I decided we would head back for each of our second runs down this PNW classic. I had to be back to class that evening, so we met at the Swiss Village restaurant at 10am. I was a little apprehensive about the drizzle (the conventional wisdom in 2010 was not to do the gorge if it was raining). Nate had done the left side portage before and was confident it would be manageable. Plus, if it was really that bad, we figured we would just do the right side portage.
We put in and putted around the put-in pool for a couple minutes, then were on our way. The class II went by quick, then we were at the first boulder garden.  This boulder garden is a good skill check, if you feel comfortable on this drop the rest of the run will be within your ability but maybe a half class harder.
This put us in the pool above the Un-Un. I didn't feel like hanging out here thinking too long, so caught the final eddy for a peak, didn't see much, then dropped over the left side where a quick reconnect propelled me into the pool below (don't boof).  Nate joined shortly after with a similar line.

After the next small drop we eddied out on the left above the Undertaker. When I had portaged on the right side, the drop looked runnable (as in Tyler Bradt or Eric Boomer runnable). This time I got a better look and I no longer think that.

*This drop has been run, at around 5,000 cfs by Willy Dinsdale a flow high enough for the sieve to get partially covered*

When we got to the portage, Nate and I walked the route first without boats to suss things out.  Instead of the friction climbing, mountain goat, totally gripped tightrope walk I was expecting, we found a manageable, if exposed, portage route. We did pass the boats to each other at one spot to be safe. The issue is definitely the fact that IF you were to slip and fall, you would have very close to zero chances of living.


At the time this video was shot (a time before GoPro!) you can tell we were taking the portage awfully seriously.  After finding it a manageable affair even in the rain on this trip, the stigma of the portage was broken for me.  While I still take the portage seriously, I am no longer apprehensive about it and have returned over 25 times to paddle through what has become one of my favorite gorges.

Level was about 650 in the video, which is a friendly level.


Opal Gorge from Jacob Cruser on Vimeo.

Here is another video half a decade later that shows the left side portage route at Undertaker, with the gauge reading 500 cfs or so.

After the run we scouted access to Evans Creek, a nearby waterfall studded creek that I have concluded after a return trip to canyoneer is not something I need to kayak other than maybe the last 1/4 mile for novelties sake some day.  Then it was back to class, Opal Gorge is a place to see if you are a boater in Oregon.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Abiqua Creek

Photo: Pete Giordano

1/2 mile

Stream: This is a fun Willamette Valley adventure run that has a nice niche.  When other runs in the area are too low, this stretch still offers a mini adventure with two of the cleanest/friendliest 10-20' waterfalls in the valley.  This section is short, and requires that you earn your turns so it's not an every weekend sort of run, but it's a neat place and an ideal location to start learning/dial in controlling your boat in free-fall.

                                                         Dan Price, dialing and sending.

The first thing to be aware of is the access road is rough, so bring a car with clearance.  From the put in parking area, it's a short walk upstream until a path goes off to the right and down to the creek.  This path is slippery in normal conditions, and downright sloppy when it has been raining.  There are ropes here to assist with the descent. 

                                    Nick Hymel, washing off the mud from the trail in Mamma Dukes.
                                                                                  Photo: Priscilla Macy

The horizon line for first waterfall (Mamma Dukes) is visible as soon as you reach water level.  It is a clean 10-15' falls that has three distinct lines, and loads of mixing and matching opportunities if you take advantage of the eddy in the center of the river just above the lip.  The pool is friendly and it's very easy to lap on river left, especially if you set up a rope.

                                               Andrew Martin goes for the maximum air time line.

                                                                                  Photo: Priscilla Macy

Once you have had your fill (it's not uncommon to get double digit laps) turn the corner and the next, and larger horizon line at Peony Falls will be immediately evident.  Scout left, the most common line is a perfect flake center/left.  It's a great place to practice that 45 degree entry.  This is in my observation, the cleanest and friendliest 20'er in Oregon.

Peony, as clean as they come.
Photo: Pete Giordano

This one requires more effort to get back up to the top for, but is worth a couple laps by roping your boat up a short rock face on river right and then walking a trail back up.  You can even paddle behind the falls.  When everyone has met their freefall quota, float on downstream and into the Mother's Day Gorge.  This consists of a short series of small chutes and ledges in a highly scenic mini-gorge. Take your time, take it in.

                                         Zach Levine leading the train through the bee-bop
                                                                                  Photo: Priscilla Macy

Iv'e made the mistake of blasting through this section too fast, make sure to go slow and enjoy where you are.  

                                                                                  Photo: Priscilla Macy

Sear this image into your mind if you are going to run Abiqua Creek.
Photo: Priscilla Macy

In the above photograph, Johnny (orange boat) is running a distinct ramp, the final ledge above Cattle Ramp.  Cattle Ramp does not have any large eddies above it, and absolutely should not be run without a scout.  Therefore it is a good idea to stop above the ledge in the photo and come up with a game plan.

The typical routine is for the first boater to enter slowly while the others wait above, that first boater grabs the shore in the slow moving current as high as possible and hops out.  Once they are on shore, it is easy for them to grab others and assist in getting others out of their boats.

Looking into the entry way for Cattle Ramp.  You can start to see a root wad (as of January 2019) from here marking the crux of the rapid.  The area marked in yellow is the most prudent place for the first boater to stop, you should not venture into the orange if you do not already know the eddy situation down there. 
Photo: Priscilla Macy

Cattle Ramp was unrunnable the first time we ran the creek, some wood disappeared that Summer and we ran it for a couple years after that.  The current log jam appeared around 2016, and kept the drop from being run for a couple years.  Then in 2019 something interesting happened.  A ledge at the bottom of the rapid (created by a stump) blew out and dropped the elevation of the rapid by about 5'.  This created a new form of the rapid, and dropped the stream level low enough that paddlers could go under the logjam that had been the cause of the portage for a couple years.

                                                                              Photo: Priscilla Macy

The drop is now fast and narrow, more narrow in fact than your paddle is wide at the crux.  Pick a blade to rudder with and stick to it.

                                                             Tyson Cross, committed.
                                                                                 Photo: Priscilla Macy

If you choose to walk the drop, head up into the devil's club on river left and smash your way down to the bottom of Cattle Ramp, as more people do the run a faint trail is starting to appear.  Just downstream is the unmistakable horizon line at Abiqua Falls (95').  Take out at the lip on river right.   Cattle Ramp and the take out at the lip of Abiqua Falls are why people do not run this creek at high flows.


Once on shore, take some time to enjoy where you are.  You can get right down to the lip and check out the incredible columnar basalt amphitheater below.

Taking it in.
                                                                              Photo: Priscilla Macy

Once you have soaked it all in, it's time to go to work.  Shoulder your boat up the sloppy trail 50 feet to the base of a large tree and 15' cliff.  There is not a lot of room to store boats here so if you have a big group it's advisable to leave some boats down by the falls until room is available.

There is a rope to get up the cliff that you can also use to haul boats up.  It's nice to have a couple people up there to share the load.

Once past the cliff, follow the trail up to the road.  When the trail starts to get steep and you start wondering how high above you this road is going to be, plod on assured you are within 50 feet of the end.

There you have it, a Willamette Valley mini-adventure that you can run when everything else in the valley is too low, but you are going to have to work for it.

Abiqua Creek Oregon 2016 from IKNick on Vimeo.

Flows:  You want between 200-500 cfs on the Butte Creek @ Monitor gauge, and can even go a little lower.  The waterfalls are so clean that there is a negligible difference in quality between 200 and 500 cfs.  

High water would be bad news as stopping above the Cattle Ramp and Abiqua Falls would be tough.  I don't know what the cut off is, I just know 500 and dropping is about as high as it has been done and it wasn't sketchy at that flow.

Access:  Find your way to Scott's Mills, about 12 miles southeast of Woodburn.  From the center of town, near the bridge over Butte Creek head southeast on Crooked Finger Road.  In a little over 9 miles the road turns to gravel.  1.4 miles later turn right onto a road with a small wooden kiosk.  Follow the main road straight and downhill 1.7 miles to the put in (
44.9235, -122.5611).  You can either drop boats here and run shuttle or just jog/walk back up to the vehicles at the end.

The take out parking is a small pull out just large enough for a vehicle or two just about exactly half a mile downstream of the put in on the same road.

Look for the faint red-painted squares on trees at both access points next to the road.

Trip Report: Finding waterfalls on Abiqua Creek

(All following photos taken by Megi Morishita unless otherwise marked)

Ryan Cole, Steve Cameron, and Megi Morishita and I ran what for me was the critical piece in a puzzle I had been trying to sort out on Abiqua Creek, on Mother's day 2010. I had committed some significant energy to exploring Abiqua Creek this season (2010), since coming across a photo labelled "Lower Abiqua Falls" online. This labelling had led me to believe the waterfall was below the big 100' falls Tim Gross had paddled over some time ago.
I spent a couple days paddling the lower sections of the creek below the section in the guidebook that starts below Abiqua Falls itself (I figured the guidebook would have mention another waterfall had there been one). The sections from the guidebook take out to the Hwy 213 bridge where the creek enters farmland and becomes totally flat were class II, with a runnable 15' dam and pretty roadside gorges that invited a longer stay. 

John Harmon, paddling some of lower Abiqua Creek at a good flow.

After eliminating the possibility of it being downstream of Abiqua Falls, I felt it was likely it had been misleadingly labelled in the photo I had seen.  

It was time to check out the section above the falls. 

"Above the recommended put in, Abiqua Falls plunges over a 90-foot sheer drop into a pool. The gradient above the falls is steeper, up to 200 fpm, but there is not a put-in far enough upstream to make the portage around the falls worthwhile".

-Soggy Sneakers

I enjoy poking around in the woods so figured I'd take a look at some satellite imagery and then wander around up there a bit and see if I couldn't make something work.

Later that season, when a trip to Opal fell apart, Steve and I tried to find a way into this run from river left and faced a series of gated roads, which led us to settle on paddling down Little Abiqua Creek.

I spent another day driving around up on Crooked Finger road (river-right) looking for different access points I had seen on google earth. I was surprised to find a road that traveled within 50 yards of the creek that we would be able to use as a put-in, about 5 miles above Abiqua Falls. I also knew there was a trail to the lip of Abiqua falls, so spent another day with a friend from school looking for the take out, which ended up being in the pool at the lip of Abiqua Falls itself.

There was an interesting looking mini gorge above that, and the creek looked reasonable at the put in, so I decided it was time to give it a go. We would be able to explore 5 miles of river, maybe find the elusive waterfall from the photograph, and all while skipping what would have been a strenuous portage around Abiqua Falls. 

It rained hard the weekend before, and I saw the gauge raise above the point I wanted it to be. I hoped that this meant it would drop to a perfect flow by the next weekend, so I thought about who might be interested in rolling the dice on a new section of stream. I was surprised that both Steve and Ryan (the first people I asked), were all about it. So plans were made and by the end of the week, Megi had decided to join in and we had a solid crew.

Upper Abiqua Creek from Jacob Cruser on Vimeo.


I spent time between classes all week checking flows as they dropped lower and lower. Finally, on Thursday, it was at what I surmised was the perfect flow and debated running it on my own, fearing that it would drop by Sunday. But talking to Ryan, it sounded like at least he was in come Hell or low water, so I decided to hold off for the group. I got off the Little White on Saturday and checked the flow, it was below what I wanted, but I knew we cold float our boats. We met in Wilsonville the next day and I chuckled when we pulled up in four compact cars as I knew the take out road isn't super friendly. We loaded up and headed towards Scotts Mills.
T shuttle went smoothly (you know you are on the right put in road when you see a boulder balanced on a tree stump), and it was time to put in.
Ryan mustache you a question.
The water level really wasn't so bad, just fine for an exploratory trip. The first 1/2 mile had some fun class III to what would be class four with more water boulder gardens. The bedrock kept trying to poke out and produced a couple of short slides. The best of which occurred at a bedrock island, with the right side being the preferred route. This was a three part drop with the first being a series of small slides, followed by a dividing rock. Steve sent us over the right side, which was a sluice with a few holes to splash through. This dropped you right above the final seven foot slide featured in the video. You could also run left of the island at high water down a groove chute.

 Waggle Dance on a return trip
Below this rapid the run reminded me of the West Fork Hood at 4 feet--mostly low water boulder gardens, with some interesting larger rocks and bedrock on the sides. It was of reasonable quality even if it was never harder than class III. There was a bit of wood, though Steve was able to avoid getting out of his boat until over halfway through the run. The creek entered a gorge and we got excited, but it had no noteworthy whitewater in it. As we exited this gorge, there were a couple logs to deal with, but nothing too bad. This also signals the flattest part of the run which is about three miles in as the gradient peters out and we came to a braided section. This didn't last very long, but had three or four wood situations.
Below this point were a couple small boulder gardens, then we came to a horizon line. This produced a nice 15 footer and scouting revealed another horizon line below. Finally, the waterfalls I had been searching for. The first one we ran down the ramp on the right and was delightfully fun. It looked like there was a boof in the center and the left would open up with more water, but we were all satisfied going right.

The author running "Momma Dukes Laundry Chute".

 We lapped this first 10-15' falls  many times.
Steve, lapping it up.
Below was a uniform horizon line that I worried might be too big. We got out to scout and it looked perfect! It was just over twenty feet and had a perfect flake on the center left.  I gave it a good stroke and pancaked the landing, soft as could be.  I gave some fist pumps because of just how perfectly sweet this drop was. This may be the best twenty footer I have ever run. Ryan came next and stomped a boof as well.

Ryan at the lip of Peony Falls.
Steve went next and though Megi says she doesn't like waterfalls, you would think she runs them all day long based off her line! We reveled shortly in the awesomeness of the back to back waterfalls, then headed off into a progressively tightening mini gorge we dubbed Mother's day gorge. It was a really cool area as Steve pointed out that the area around was all logging areas and more of a valley, but at the bottom was this nice mini gorge which provided an intimate feeling while still affording the knowledge you could escape if you wanted.
This mini gorge contained some fun slip and slide type ledges of the variety you would expect in a mini gorge. This all culminated in the gorge narrowing even more with a few logs dangling from the walls, limiting downstream visibility. I saw Steve scramble into an eddy so grabbed one of my own. I figured this was the final gorge I had seen during scouting. It was a bit slippery getting out, and at higher water I would definitely want to eddy out a bit higher up. We took a look at the drop all the water funneled into, it was unrunnable due to some ugly wood. We were all very happy that Steve was able to, first get into the eddy, then make it out of his boat from the squirrelly, tiny eddy. We all corrected off this and helped each other to get out from a higher, slightly better eddy. If you go back, eddy out as soon as your spidey senses go off, as high as you can.

We looked at portage options, and it looked like there was a reasonable portage to the left up through some Devil's club. It wasn't a really bad portage, but I changed routes and went higher at one point because it looked safer and less clubby up there and that proved to be true. Though I did dig out the last few Devil's thorns from my hand during class today.

The end of the Cattle Ramp portage.
We got back to the water and were now at the take-out pool with the lip of 100 ft Abiqua Falls as the exit to this pool. We decided the easiest thing to do would be to send someone over via swimming/tether and then send the boats on rope to him. Ryan decided he would go, so off he went and the boats and all of us followed shortly.

Getting the gear across
We took some time to check out the very cool place we were in and I made sure to crawl down to the very edge of the falls to get the up close and personal view.
After we finished checking out the place, we hiked out on the trail that hikers take to get to the lip of the falls. We had to pass the boats up a small rock band at one point, then it was smooth sailing for about a hundred yards back to the car.

In a very cool place. Left to right: Steve, Ryan, The Author
We were all pretty excited about how enjoyable the run turned out to be, and were glad things went so smoothly. Our final task was to load up four boats, a bike, four people, all our gear including two bins (Megi had a guitar, camping gear, bike tire, and bag of smores ingredients in the trunk so we couldn't put any gear in there), and a dog into a tiny little Toyota Echo. We then had to get this fully loaded and weighed down car a half mile up an old logging road that was at the very limit of what a Sedan is capable of normally. The car was turning wheels every now and then, but eventually brought us to the top.
The car with the Heart of Gold

(photo:Ryan Cole)
All in all it was a good trip, probably my favorite of the season. The task of completing the unknown and finding access was a worthwhile endeavor. While I would thought I would come back every now and then at higher water, we have only done that once. A new gate has been installed on Crooked Finger road that blocks the upper put in (44.8832, -122.4992).  

However, the short mini-adventure section starting at Mamma Dukes and ending just above Abiqua Falls is still accessible, and we run that a couple of times every year.

Since this report, I have returned many times to Abiqua Creek to run the waterfalls and I have enjoyed it every time.  
There is even a fun trifecta you can pull on the Silverton Plateau.

-naming the rapids-
Since we were there on Mother's day, we figured we would honor our mothers by naming the drops in that theme.
-Drop one/Waggle Dance-
the bedrock rapid with three parts we named Waggle Dance as Megi's mom is getting into bee keeping. Waggle Dance is when bees shake their butts to show the other bees where the food is. Megi's mom thought it was a fitting name as you have to waggle back and forth for the first part, then the second part is through some holes you get to dance through, and the final seven foot drop is sweet as honey.
Steve was our foraging bee for this drop!
-the 15 ft falls/Momma Dukes Laundry Chute- Momma Duke is Ryan's moms nickname, and if it's been raining you are going to want to wash off after the messy put in trail.
-20 footer/Peony Falls- My mom's favorite thing to do is garden, and Peonies are her favorite flower because they are so beautiful, just like this falls.
-Cattle Ramp- This was named before the mother's day theme arose. It fits as it funnels you down a narrow chute until you hit the meatgrinder (nasty log sieve) at the end. Steve also has two brothers, and I imagine raising three boys was as big a handful as trying to herd cattle!
We had 170 on this gauge.

 I would be careful going in above 500 as I don't know what the eddies above final gorge would be like as well as the take out pool.  These drops tend to go even a few days after other runs in the area have dropped out.
-4.5 miles
-140fpm overall with a couple flat sections, with the good sections getting close to the 200 fpm mark.