Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Adventure in Northern Washington

Driving Up Tumwater Canyon looking at the snow-covered Cascade Mtns.

Beautiful Drive

Trailhead for our hike... it was so perfect!

Some of the massive whitewater on this section.... Maybe someday.
I spent the weekend with my good friend JoAnne, exploring the Wanatchee River up by the little Bavarian town of Leavenworth, WA. Tucked at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains it was an incredibly scenic area especially with the snow-covered peaks surrounding us. Our goal was simple, to playboat the Wanatchee River and have fun! We arrived Saturday afternoon and headed straight for the river. We had an excellent run and it was fun to be in a play boat again!

Sunday we started with a hike up Tumwater Canyon to admire the quality whitewater above the section we paddled. I wish the photo of this rapid did it justice- It was HUGE! After the hike we headed back to the river to get our surf on! The weather was sunny and hot and we enjoyed several hours on the river surfing, laughing and remembering what it's like to be in a little boat with edges! Needless to say I got a few combat rolls in. Thank you JoAnne for a perfect weekend!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Multi-day Adventure on the Lower Deschutes

Ever since my trip down the Grand Canyon back in November, I've been dreaming of another multi-day rafting trip! This past weekend that dream became a reality! The goal of the trip was to keep it simple and simple it was. The trip consisted of myself, and two friends - Liz and Hayley. We chose the Lower Deschutes in Northern Oregon as our river and the rest of the logistics were a breeze!

We decided to take 4 days to do this section which guaranteed us a stress free trip. From the moment arrived at the put-in to the day we got to the take-out we were on river time. Our only worries were getting plenty of sleep,  putting on an abundance of sunscreen and making the most of our time at camp. This proved not to be a problem at all! 

Finishing Packing and Rigging on Day 1

Practicing my rowing skills with my fearless passenger - Amelia!

Some of the beautiful canyon scenery we passed each day

No river trip is complete without a little costume wear

Getting ready for Day 2

Suns out guns out! It was over 80 degrees each day.

Hayley rowed her own Cataraft for the entire trip

Liz soaking up the sun and keeping track of where we were at on the river map

Camp the 2nd night was perfectly shaded when we arrived which was greatly appreciated after spending several hours baking in the hot sun.


If you look in the above the center of this photo you can see Mountain Goats! We woke up in the morning and got to watch these goats from hours without leaving our sleeping bags.

Since Liz didn't have a paco pad we just put the two we did have together and we all slept on them! No tent required = perfect night on the river.

Liz & I preparing with lifeguard quality chap stick to prevent getting our lips burnt by the sun
View from our last camp looking down into the river canyon

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Patrick’s Creek: Perfect Intro to Creeks

Length: 3.2 miles

Average Gradient: 134’/mi

Class: 3/4

Paddlers: Team Sundance Lori & J.R.

Located in Northern California, Patricks Creek is a tributary of the ever so amazing, Smith River. Known as a great intro to creeks, this run has easy logistics and road side scouting from top to bottom. The biggest hazard on the run is the willow corridors that can get walled out. But, since it’s easy to scout from the road, you can choose your line wisely in advance!

(Looking upstream at the put-in)

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The put-in was at the confluence of Shelly Creek. It was a nice big eddy where we could warm up with some paddle strokes and ferry’s before heading downstream. Once we peeled out of the eddy, it was game on! We made our way down stream, eddy hopping to ensure clean lines. This was a great practice for catching smaller micro eddies that can be easily overlooked on bigger volume rivers. The rapids were all pretty straight forward but, seeing as it was a fairly continuous run, it’s wise to stay alert and keep an eye out for wood.

(Taking the left line away from the wood)

(Eddy hopping my way downstream)

(Looking downstream at a log - easily avoided by running far left or far right)

(Running one of the many fun rapids)

After many fun boofs, punching holes and big waves, we arrived at the confluence of the Middle Fork of the Smith River. We continued downstream for another 7 miles on the Patrick’s Creek section of the Middle Fork of the Smith River to the take out at Panther Flat. This Class 3+ section with one Class 4 (Highway Rapid) is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. From low volume creeking to big water fun, this section has it all! I can’t wait to paddle Patrick’s Creek again!

(Confluence of the Smith River)

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(Entrance to Highway Rapid - Middle Fork of the Smith River)

The best gauge to check is the Smith River – At Jedediah Smith. We put on at 15,000 cfs on the Smith gauge which is a good medium flow for Patrick’s Creek. For a complete guide on the Smith River drainage, purchase a copy of Whitewater of the Smith Watershed: A Guide to Whitewater Recreation on the Smith River. Another great reference is because it shows current and projected flows so you can plan accordingly. This run comes in for only a couple days at a time during the rainy season so be prepared to get it while it’s there!