Monday, January 30, 2012

Flood Fun

                                        Photos by Aqualegia Leet, Priscilla and myself

PNW got hit with huge water January 2012.  We had gone from no water to a state of emergency in nearby counties.  Finding a river to run seemed just as hard as with no water unless you were willing to playboat as all creeks were too high.    I ended up not trying to force anything and day one just scouted the local falls near our school that has yet to be run.

Still looked pretty ugly, the recycle at the bottom being the main concern.  Maybe it will get run at some point, but I won't be the one to do it.

Update: Not true

A year later I came back and decided it would be fun to seal launch in to the pool from the summertime jumping point at night.  Similar levels made for a soft landing.

The next day I went for a nice paddle with a fellow Earth Science student through Helmick State Park.  The Luckiamute had gotten absurdly high and we were paddling on the road that is usually 20' above the stream.

                           Jan 20, 2012                                                                         Fall 2016

 Jan 20, 2012      

      Fall 2016

 It was easy to paddle from the park into the river, so I paddled to the top of the park, peeled out into the river and road the 15,000 cfs of flatwater to the end of the park (the river was at 30,000 cfs the day before).

Mid channel.  

I paddled under the bridge which is usually 25 ' above the river and tapped it with my paddle.

Jan 20, 2012                                                                         Fall 2016

I then came back up and eddied out behind this tree.  The current was really moving through the park, you can see this here.

Jan 20, 2012                                                                         Fall 2016

 There were some conveniently placed steps at the gauging station that I used to get out.

Jan 20, 2012                                                                         Fall 2016

The next day I woke up really late and some of my friends decided to join me as we looked for a "secret waterfall".  I had little hope of the drop being runnable because the landing was only a couple feet deep in the summer when I had last scouted it.  We got there and kept on the down low as we crossed a field and got our first glimpse at Shivley Falls on the East Fork of Drift Creek.  It had a ton of water and I excitedly headed down to check it out from water level.  The drop is a two tiered, 30 foot drop with the top drop landing directly on the bedrock creating the second tier (no go).  I had hopes the second tier would be do-able.

I took a trip behind the falls to the other side and decided I would run the lower tier.

Walking over to check out the options.
Patrick Stephenson photo.

 We went back to the car and I geared up, going over all the things my team needed to know to keep me safe.  The big concerns were the 2 ft' deep landing and the lack of eddies to take out in before the stream crashed into some river-wide bushes.

I carried my boat behind the falls and set up next to the base of the first falls, Pat would push me directly through the edge of the first curtain and into the second drop.

The landing of the first falls, and the lip of the second.
Patrick Stephenson photo.

All went according to plan and I was able to execute the line I had planned in my mind,  upon landing I drove across the current towards the right bank where I grabbed onto a tree while Aqua grabbed my boat and I jumped out, stoked on such an impromptu and fruitful adventure.  All said and done we were there less than an hour before we were headed back to Monmouth for a birthday celebration.

My friend who was holding the camera was nervous and forgot to take pictures of me running the drop, and this blurry shot is the only picture we got of the entire falls.  The bottom tier is 10-15' tall.

Thanks to the team from WOU for coming and setting safety!

Butte Creek needs to be over 1,000 cfs before this drop becomes "runnable".


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