Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Nestucca River

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, I don't think any of the rapids are visible from the road and the sections viewable from the road passed by quickly. Though no doubt, there is a lot of flat water.   There were a few sections that diverged from the norm, including a mini gorge section up top which had some class IV.  If a paddler feels comfortable on Jordan Creek, they should be able to handle this run.  A middle section offered some anthropogenic fish habitat that could be paddled over.  Take a look if you are unsure what the best route through and over these are.

There is a campsite part way through the run accessible from the river if facilities are needed.  There were a couple tributaries with fun slides in the 10 foot range on the upper section that can be walked up and ran.

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 1000 cfs on the gauge, and we were able to scout all the rapids from river level.  This is as low as I would recommend running this section.  I don't recall any portages, though there were probably one or two for wood.  More water would be better.

 Edit of the Nestucca River by Anna Herring and Priscilla Macy.
A lot of the tributaries and features in the area had bible themed monikers.  We were throwing around a lot of "Church" and "Jah" jokes that day.

Bible Study from Jacob Cruser on Vimeo.

1,000 cfs on the Nestucca gauge provided minimal enjoyable flows.

Take out:  45.2788, -123.7071

Put in:  I don't actually remember, but the fun mini gorges were above the put in used in Soggy Sneakers.


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.