All photo's taken/provided by Josh Mckeown on previous lower water runs
We had to run out to Bend to grab the small LL Biscuit prototype from Christina Russell last weekend. Luckily for us Christina recommended that we bring our creekboats along to run the stretch of the Deschutes that is above Bend and runs into town. What better than doing a IV to V run and paddling into town for lunch!! We decided to run from Big Eddy down. With access to several of the big drops via roads that run along the Deschutes you can put-in and take-out at multiple spots. Benham Falls V, Dillon Falls V, Lava Falls V and Meadow Camp IV to V. Not sure on the overall length of each or combined sections but I believe Christina said that Big Eddy to Bend was 8 miles. Sounds good. The flows were 1800cfs, almost twice as the write up we'd looked at on Oregonkayaking.net and Christina and Josh told us it was medium flow to the locals in Bend. High I'd say for the normal PDX boaters that head out this time of year normally when the irrigation district is only releasing the lower 900 flows. At 1750cfs pics would have been hard to pull of and being our first time down I'm usually too nervous to throw a cheap SLR in my boat!! It was raining as well. Lava1 was full of weird currents that required you to punch a large boil on river left to catch a eddy or keep driving left into the left channel to avoid the riverwide ledge hole in the right channel. Me and Devin both were a little under the weather from driving 3 hours and opted to portage Lava1, the first s-turn into the eddy. Josh, Jon and Christina met us in the eddy and we ran down through the second s-turn in the left channel. The line through the lower was stay far left just like the first 1/2. The bottom ledge had a descent hole but even being left of center as I ended up was fine if straight and ya punched it.
Josh Mckeown hitting the line in the first 1/2 of Lava1 at 900cfs
Below Lava1 was some boogey water referred to as "cut-em-up". Apply named for what happens if you swim out of Lava1. We ran it far right but it was just read and run class IV.
A long pool after the boogey water and we found ourselves at the lip of "Lava2" One note about the rapids on this run is that all the drops have big horizon lines that prevent you from seeing anything downstream. One exception is "Lava2". OK, not really but when you see mist shooting high into the air past the horizon line you get the gist. Christina felt it was better to give verbal lines on this one and like "double drop" on the White Salmon. You'd probably walk it if ya looked at the beast!! The line was far left till reaching a big pillow of water blasting a huge boulder and cut hard-hard right to hit a boof avoiding the huge keeper hole. Check the write up on Oregonkayaking.net. You'll see the huge boulder in the photo next to the paddler. They refer to it as Barry's not Lava2 that I'm told the Bend boaters call it FYI. That's where you start to make your move and it the photo of Steve "melting the hole". That's the huge hole you don't want to be around at 1800. The rock to Steve's right creates the boof flake we hit. Believe me when I say that you can't paddle hard enough to make the move at that flow. I was digging in till the flake.
Looking down into Lava2 at lower flows of 900cfs
That is the Lava Falls section and now we continue onto Meadows Camp.
Christina Russell on "Amazing" on the Meadows camp section
According to Christina this is the order of rapids on the Meadows Camp section:
Meadows camp is rated 4+ at lower flows but at 1800cfs it's full on V. The change from the two sections isn't too severe but the geology/ seives/ consequence for sure does. On the Lava Falls run a swim in the hole would be bad due to the lava river bed and some wood pinned in a few places to watch out for. Down in Meadows Camp it's less of a lava flow and the rocks are undercut and seived out. "Damn it", which has a irrigation pipe firing out from river right wants to slam to into a huge boulder that Christina mentioned later is a seive and getting on the left side or swim at the boulder could be bad. Plus she said there is wood stuck in the seive as well. Yikes!
Christina Russell on "Damn it". You can see the irigation pipe on her right
The line me and Devin ran was literally ferrying our boats from the eddy above the pipe on river left at the pipe outflow, as close to the pipe the better. It's a lot of pressure and like a big curler pushes you towards the river left undercut boulder. I ended up on the right side pillow of the boulder and braced my way around the right side back into the current. It's very unusual to say the least.
Mario Bros is unlike any other drop on the run. The river becomes very channelized and with all the exposed lava rocks, wood gets snagged easily and is a always changing in the rapid. Christina took us down far left then back center right for the second 1/2. Jon and Josh took two different lines all together ranging from center to far right at the top. Guess it all goes at 1800.
100% is another classic huge horizon line and the last final rapid. Christina tells us, "the line is down the middle". Sounds good. I follow Christina and as I see over the horizon there are three offset huge boulders and we're gonna shoot between them. It's basically a flairing paradise as I head up unto one pillow, turn and head into the next. You don't have much choice about this either. Devin later told me that all he saw was me heading at one boulder and though, "oh sh*$". Then realized that was the line. I think we got the biggest laugh out of 100%.
All in all, I think the write up on Oregonkayaking that happens to be the only one I found doesn't do this run justice and the lines mentioned at the 900cfs would give one really bad day at 1800cfs. I'm hoping Christina and Josh get a write up to Rackley for the 1800 range. This run is up there with the Crooked without the length and runs year round at varying flows. Josh said 2100cfs was the perfect flow!!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
This year I changed things up a little from the Deschutes float of last year. Devin had worked for Wet Planet Rafting in White Salmon, WA with Heather Herbeck on their kids kayaking course over the summer. In trade Jaco from Wet Planet gave us 6 spots or one raft guided down the Orletta and Middle sections of the White Salmon River. For 3 on the team that went. It would be their first times on whitewater, two went with us on the Deschutes last year and one has been rafting with his mom and grandparents in the past. None though on anything like the White Salmon! In the end they all had a blast and the pics show how bored they were on the run.
Much thanks to their guide Matt and the rest of Wet Planet for taking the experience they will never forget!!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Just a few days prior to Labor day weekend, I decided to make a trip out to Idaho after seeing a section of the Snake River "Murtaugh Canyon" was in. The weekend was focused on getting out to Twin Falls to hook up with LiqiudLogic rep ted Keyes and a few friends of Ted's. A bonus was LL's prototype playboat "Biscuit" in the medium size was in Ted's posession as well. Most likely head back to the Payettes and run a couple sections as well. I'll get to the "Biscuit" and Murtaugh Canyon in the next post.
Last minute planning Ted mentioned I should bring Devin's Chico Jefe along to run the NF Payette with him and friends. Uh, OK!? So far it was gonna be playboats only. I'd already loaded the car in preparation of leaving after work so now I had to head home and through in a creek boat? Fine...
Levels for the NF looked good for Devin's first time down the Lower 5, considered the easier stretch of the class 5, 15 miles of continuous whitewater. We had ran into HR boaters Joe Stumpfeld, Bryon Dorr, Rachel Crowder and a few others the day prior after a SF run. Devin was gonna run the Lower 5 on Monday with them and then we'd drive 6 hours back to Portland. Devin had a blast on the run and they added "Hounds Tooth". Part of the middle 5 as the first drop of the run. Several pics in the slideshow are Devin, Joe C1'ing and Bryon with the hand grab on "Hounds Tooth". Other pics are random shots taken as I drove along the run. The pic of Devin running down a tongue is the last big rapid of the Lower 5. What's funny to me is that he's inches away from one of the biggest holes on the run and he's casually wiping the hair out of face!?