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#132456 - 12/04/01 09:24 PM Most challenging driftboat river sections
Anonymous
Unregistered


What are some of the most skill challenging driftboating river sections that you guys run for winter steelhead? I am aware that you won't name some of the upper end zipperlip river sections, but the ones that are fairly well known about.

Don't include ones that are cataraft only type of water, such as the NF Nehalem on the N. Oregon coast (which you could run if you don't mind a bunch of scrapes and dents in your d-boat). One's that come to mind offhand are OR's '6th Bridge' down section of the Nestucca R. Of the bigger inland rivers the upper Clackamas R. has some class 4/5 stuff that's fun to run. The wild section of the lower Rogue River is a nice d-boat challenge to fish. As for WA, although I haven't rowed it yet, pics of some sections of the Oly Pen's Sol Duc R. look like a lot of fun.

What's some other good ones?

Edit: It would be cool to see some pics posted of d-boats running good rapids.

RT

[ 12-04-2001: Message edited by: RT ]

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#132457 - 12/04/01 09:48 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Little Fish Offline
Spawner

Registered: 09/28/01
Posts: 970
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Good topic RT....now I'll know what rivers & sections to avoid. Can we expand this thread to include good rivers for newbies to learn on?

JMS

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#132458 - 12/04/01 10:08 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Anonymous
Unregistered


Ya LF,

A couple good examples of sections to learn to row a driftboat are the lower Skykomish R. and most sections on the lower Cowlitz R. for WA.

In Oregon, the lower Wilson R. from Mills to Sollie is a good coastal section to learn on. The Clackamas R. from Carver to Riverside Park takeout ramp is just a little step up from that, but still a reasonable place to learn - after basic lessons from someone.

RT

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#132459 - 12/04/01 11:09 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
kore Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 462
Loc: Carson, WA
I would say the calawah, is pretty technical in some places. Above 101 the south fork, I think it is called "hells half mile", is down right spooky looking.

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#132460 - 12/04/01 11:17 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
fishhead5 Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 09/06/00
Posts: 1096
Loc: Shelton
RT, any time your fat A@@ is in the boat it makes any river hard to row eek eek laugh laugh

Fishhead5
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#132461 - 12/04/01 11:28 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Bob D Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 03/24/99
Posts: 383
Loc: Port Orchard Wa Kitsap
The upper and lower Calawah. The Solduc at low water has a boat claimer in every drift! A couple of the runs are challenging anytime as you MUST know the slot and it isnt clear at all! And Bear Creek section is a danger boy trip anytime! Ive done the Calawah and Bear creek a couple times in my secreat weapon (not a cat) and it will be a few more till I introduce the Willie (not many though). Its not the lack of confidence or the in-ability to row the stuff. You just cant miss a stroke and you have to know which way to go or its all over on a few of these drifts!

Bob D

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#132462 - 12/04/01 11:35 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hahaha fishyheaddoug5. Hey, who was huffin and puffin and almost passed out when we pushed Fly's d-boat upriver thru the shallows - you or me?!? Let's see... uh, that would be YOU. laugh laugh btw, what would you know about my @$$? Is that where you've been lookin while I was fishing? :p

I've heard about the Calawah but heaven't seen it yet. How about the tougher Cascade rivers? I forgot to mention the Pack Saddle Park on down section of the N.F. Santiam R. That was a fun pull down that stretch. Lookout for Spencer's Hole rapids - a d-boat eater for rowing crackers.

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#132463 - 12/05/01 11:45 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
kalamabama Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 03/07/00
Posts: 329
Loc: LaCenter Wa USA
The upper Solduc in low water is some fun water when you run it for the first time. I would say that would rate high on my tough river list. I have never run the calawah but would sure like to give it a try ( after I talk to someone who has run it).
As to good rivers to learn on I would start with the NF Lewis and the Cowlitz. After that the Kalama is good. Just respect the force (of the water) and be carful. Any river can eat a boat.
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#132464 - 12/05/01 08:19 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
GBSkunk Offline
Fry

Registered: 03/12/01
Posts: 20
Loc: Oregon City
Anyone ever try drifting the Suiattle?
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#132465 - 12/05/01 10:57 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
$$B-MONEY$$ Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 339
Loc: Eastside,Wa
The upper sky! Big rocks, big drops, and lots of flow. Boulder drop.......... eek eek eek .
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#132466 - 12/06/01 12:10 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
$$B-MONEY$$ Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 339
Loc: Eastside,Wa
The upper sky! Big rocks, big drops, and lots of flow. Boulder drop.......... eek eek eek .
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Vision Pro Staff
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#132467 - 12/06/01 01:02 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Skywalker Offline
Spawner

Registered: 03/10/01
Posts: 578
Loc: Snohomish, WA, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by BK:
The upper sky! Big rocks, big drops, and lots of flow. Boulder drop.......... eek eek eek .


Boulder Drop in a drift boat????? I wanna see films of that.....sounds like one of those "Tragedy in Snohomish County, film at 11:00" kinds of stories.

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#132468 - 12/06/01 05:52 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Anonymous
Unregistered


I don't have good pics of running whitewater in dritboats because in the really good stuff me and my passengers took the ride, without having anyone to take the pics. I only have some of the rafting and inflatable kyak photos (posted some before). Hope some of you guys have some good ones.

But I do have a recent pic of Team Vision running their toughest rapid ever for them. In fact, Parker got scared and asked to be let out so he could walk around it, leaving Fly and the Kid to run a BIG rapids that made them wet their pants! Here is that picture:

[img]http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=1432992&a=10739464&p=57124067&Sequence=1[/img]

I did find this one of me rowing a pretty easy roller slot on the Spruce Park run on the mid big Nehalem R. It is almost as tough a run as the NF Nehalem, but not as small rocky for scratching driftboats:

[img]http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=1432992&a=10739464&p=57124069&Sequence=1[/img]

[ 12-06-2001: Message edited by: RT ]

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#132469 - 12/06/01 05:11 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
retriever Offline
Smolt

Registered: 09/11/00
Posts: 94
Loc: Renton, Wa
The double rapids below Whitcom Dimmel on the Sol Duc were a treat the first time. I still can't read it, but I know to stay left despite my instincts.

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#132470 - 12/06/01 05:23 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
GutZ Offline
The Original Boat Ho

Registered: 02/08/00
Posts: 2948
Loc: Bellevue
Come on, Dan! Lets do the Calawah. We made it down the Sol Duc without any one getting seriously injured. I'll admit the pucker factor was pretty high there a few times.

GutZ
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#132471 - 12/06/01 10:54 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
JohnnyCoho Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 01/22/00
Posts: 190
Loc: Rockport,WA,USA
Skywalker, If Ya can get a copy of it, the old Lavro video has footage of good friend and great oarsman Dan Neibauer rowing the Boulder Drop on the Sky "with life-jacket".
Upper Sky is a tough one though.
Sauk used to be one of the toughest in the State when the "Dragons-Tooth" was there. Made the Boulder Drop on the Sky look easier than it is. Still a few tricky spots up here, always somthing new after a good high water.
I've looked the Suiattle over up and down and can honestly say,"it aint floatable with a drift boat!"
Upper Skagit below Newhalem Dam is a fun one!!!
Ya should see the rafters faces when they see a drift boat comin' down it. (not for fishing, just for fun) hehehehe
As for "Hells Half Mile" on the Calawah,...."Just say HELL NO!!!!!!" guys that have rowed it need to find a good source of bottled adrenalin.
eek eek eek eek wink
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John's Guide Service
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#132472 - 12/07/01 07:00 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
GutZ Offline
The Original Boat Ho

Registered: 02/08/00
Posts: 2948
Loc: Bellevue
Man, I was really hoping this thread was going to take off. There seems to be no reliable (?) source for information on drifts. At least none that I have been able to find.

There seem to be only two ways to get information about specific drifts. Cough up the dough and go with a guide or get over the fear, drop it in and go for it.

I am taking precations for the later such as painting CALL 911 on the bottom of the boat. I have also applied this side up stickers. Got my whistle, horn and radio. Also carrying some emergency gear for starting a fire, if (when) we get dumped. (Sounds like an idea for another thread - what emergency gear do you carry in a driftboat)

The most exciting (scariest!) piece of water I have ever drifted is the Sol Duc from the Hatchery to Whitcomb - Dimmel. 4 1/2 boards. Lots of rapids, which proved to be passible even in an 18' Eastside. We did get hung up but good in one spot. The river breaks into 3. We went left. Big VW Boulders in which we got hung up but good. It got late (dark) before we off the River. I can't wait to try that again!

Oxbow on the Hoh looks like fun. I have heard there is even more exciting stuff "up in the Canyon"

See you out there!

GutZ
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#132473 - 12/08/01 02:49 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Kid Sauk Offline
I'm a freak'n CAKE

Registered: 05/17/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Almost on the beach
John is right about the Suiattle. You'd better have genuine steel balls and a death wish if you plan on floating that sucker! eek

How about the upper Elwah?
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#132474 - 12/08/01 11:02 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
stlhdr1 Offline
BUCK NASTY!!

Registered: 01/26/00
Posts: 5726
Loc: Vancouver, WA
The upper-upper EF of the Lewis (from below Lucia-Lewisville Park) is hell in any water condition, and the washougal has it's few tough spots. But I'll never do the upper Lewis again. Other than that I've never been on any real tough water.

How about it BK, you want to try the upper EF?? It is passable as long as you bring some extra sets of underware...
Keith laugh
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#132475 - 12/08/01 11:30 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
The Real Spoonman Offline
Parr

Registered: 12/09/00
Posts: 43
Loc: Tacoma, WA USA
Speaking of the Death Drop-

It's no longer open (and it really bums me out because it truly was the best wild steelhead fishing in the state- better than the OP), but the nastiest shiznit I've ever seen, Calawah, Sol Duc and way upper Skagit inclusive- is the Nisqually from McKenna down to the Tank Crossing. There is a stretch called Kahuna (upper and lower) that ate more drift boats during the late 70s and early 80s...man!! I've fished many a horrified angler out of the frigid March waters below the rapids. I don't know how the hell any of those guys made it through there. The giant rocks and mazes of the same make the Bear Creek float on the Duc look like a lake.

All I have to say is, if you think you are the man on the sticks, go try that float. But get some insurance for the family before hand!

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#132476 - 12/09/01 09:23 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
bardo Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 11/21/01
Posts: 307
Loc: union wa
try the wyonochee gorge. its tough on drift boats. ask bill.

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#132477 - 12/09/01 10:29 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Dick Offline
Juvenille at Sea

Registered: 03/14/99
Posts: 173
Loc: Sequim WA
How about the first drop on the Toutle at the start of the canyon before the big blow? eek eek
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#132478 - 12/09/01 08:24 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Steelheader69 Offline
Spawner

Registered: 12/14/99
Posts: 817
Loc: Tacoma WA
Damned it General ZOg, you beat me to the punch. I used to belong to a whitewater club. We used to do alot of whitewatering. Used to run kayaks and cats on the upper Nisqually. Yeah, I'd say puckers ville in a driftboat. But way up there it's true clas 4/5 whitewater, which is impasilbe with a driftboat no matter whaat a person says. Alot of the clas 4/5's I've run have quite literaly submerged my 16' cat. You submerge a 16' DB and you aren't gonna pop back up like I will smile . I will add this to. Back in my kayak days, Ii've had a handful of friends die on clas 4/5's. One of the main reasons I got out of kayaks. Remember personally seeinnga friend drop off a verticle and not come back up. Luckily we were able to get him out, but the friends of mine that had died weren't accessible without killing us too. Just my disclaaimer, a solid class 4/5 is wicked stuff. It takes alot of strss out of i with 16' cat, but I have a video from our old club showing I do believe an 18' cat literally being thrown 4-5 feet into the air from the compression oof being sucked innto a hydraulic on a clas 4/5. YES, 4 to 5 FEET!!!!

Now, onto drifts. Upper sky Boulder drop. Bear creek/sapho on Duc, Flaming Geyser oon the Green, Upper Toutle are good soliid 4's. Ii do have an older whitewater manual somewhere that llists all whitewater rivers in WA and how to run them and what slots to take. It even lists by mile what classes of rier you are running and for how long you will be in the "zone". Ii still think they'd print it. I may have to buy another one, got rid of some stuff once my kids were born. Had to dwnscale the whitewatering when thy wwer born, and th hunting, an the fishing LOL. I'm more of a fisherman so use my extra time, which isn't much sine i'm asingle Dad, to Fish. I do believe it's called the whitewater guide to Washington Rivers. Check a barnes and nobles, I'm sure thy have it, or go to Amazon books.

I'm actually getting the itch again to d some serious whitewatering. Ii'm an adrenaline junky anyways. Just need to get back into shape once these damned injuries are commpletely healed. Oh yeah, you want a true but puckerer???? I have a picture of a budy running the colorado, all you can see of his 18 foot raft is his helmuted head, the top of his lifevest, and his hands on his cataract oars. All you really see is muddy water al around him and Larry oarin to keep him sel upright. Pretty wild stuff adn i plan on doingit someday.
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#132479 - 12/10/01 02:03 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Kevin Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 07/16/99
Posts: 383
Loc: seattle,wa
The Green river gorge from Palmer down. Only know a couple of old timers who have run it in a driftboat and they said never again. They came to close to losing it.

Tight lines

Kevin

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#132480 - 01/08/02 10:00 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Grass Hopper Offline
Smolt

Registered: 01/07/02
Posts: 81
Loc: Woodinville,Wa
THERES ALWAYS THE wIND rIVER IN THE cOLUMBIA RIVER GORGE. Don't tell! I now you out of towners love fishing in my old neighborhood. Come on Down! I could use all your lost gear. Be careful! Been There Dun That!
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#132481 - 01/09/02 01:16 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Salmo g. Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 12949
Hmmm, here's my contribution to crazy, I mean challenging, float trips. The Suiattle River, tributary to the Sauk River, would eat a drift boat, but it's floatable in a 12' raft under favorable water conditions - I mean the summer when you won't freeze to death, cuz you ain't gonna' stay dry. The upper Sauk, forks to Clear Creek, is a good run in a raft, probably doable in a driftboat, but I never saw any up there. The Cascade River, tributary to the upper Skagit, I floated once in my canoe - won't try that again, and don't recommend it, but parts of it are doable. Also took the canoe down the lower Sol Duc in low water, when we couldn't get a drift boat down it. That's actually not a bad way to fish it in really low water. Craziest was probably the Weatherwax Canyon on the Wynoochee. Didn't know that was mainly a kayak run before shoving off in the canoe. A couple big rocks fell in after the whitewater book was published, and blocked the canyon, requiring a difficult portage. Don't recommend trying it in a drift boat unless you plan to leave it there and have climbing gear to get out of the canyon. Last but not least is the narrows on the lower Grand Ronde - I've used the raft, but drift boats run it also.

Sincerely,

Salmo g.

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#132482 - 01/09/02 02:07 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
RPetzold Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 11/04/99
Posts: 1143
Loc: Everett, Wa
Salmo g.-
Have you ever floated the Suittatle...I have driven about it and that is some of the nastiest looking water I have ever seen.
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#132483 - 01/09/02 03:16 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Robert Allen3 Offline
Spawner

Registered: 04/23/00
Posts: 762
Loc: vancouver WA USA
stlhdr1 There is a section of the Washougal that is impassible to driftboats! From Big eddy to Mt Norway bridge. Not even Mark Angel could run it and he ran Shears Falls on the Deschutes.

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#132484 - 01/09/02 03:28 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
stlhdr1 Offline
BUCK NASTY!!

Registered: 01/26/00
Posts: 5726
Loc: Vancouver, WA
RA3-
I've only played around on the lower washougal, and most of my time over there is for the summer runs from the shore. I'd love to get some pics of that section on the washougal and also the upper-upper East Fork.. And we wonder why the East Fork still holds the state record for a winter run, it has 4 falls that are 6 feet or higher. Not passible...
Keith laugh
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#132485 - 01/09/02 10:01 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Anonymous
Unregistered


Robert,

Back in my crazier days in my 20's I looked at that narrow boulder strewn whitewater section of mini-falls below Big Eddy on the 'Shou many times before I got up the courage, actually the crazies, to run it in high water with Kevin McKinley (his dad is the former Mayor of Tillamook). That first quarter mile has a hell of a gradient! We put in wide eyed with me on the oars in a custom framed old '6-man' wide tube raft with a special coating from 'Andy & Bax' (they were actually 3-man rafts; 2-man, should be no man, in class 5 rapids as these). We somehow made it down thru there, having to kick off some boulders and using other boulders as intentional pivot helpers. We had on those huge 30# bag rated orange life-jackets, but luckily didn't flip the raft - I don't know how. A game cop who had checked out our truck later saw us pulling the raft out down below this harried section. He told us we were crazy; and that he had helped pull out drowning victims there before. He was really mad at us and let us have the lecture. ... Never again. But we did make it once!

RT

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#132486 - 01/09/02 10:42 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Salmo g. Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 12949
Ryan,

Just once with a friend. Lost an ice chest and almost an oar, but otherwise OK. I know the rules about avoiding sweepers, but some places there isn't an opportunity to scout. A couple commercial raft outfits run it regularly, or used to. The floatable reach, if you can call it that, is from the McCloud place near the bridge down to the mouth.

Sincerely,

Salmo g.

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#132487 - 01/09/02 02:44 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Skywalker Offline
Spawner

Registered: 03/10/01
Posts: 578
Loc: Snohomish, WA, USA
The Sultan launch when the humpy snaggers are in. It's virtually impassible.

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#132488 - 01/10/02 10:42 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Grass Hopper Offline
Smolt

Registered: 01/07/02
Posts: 81
Loc: Woodinville,Wa
I am glad to see a few East Fork fisherman out there as well as Washougal men. You guys are right! Impassable floats! HHa! Ha! Just put them back on the trailer and head for home no drift boat water here!!!
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#132489 - 01/10/02 12:10 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Mooch Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 12/24/01
Posts: 1971
Loc: Low Hole
Some respectful nominations for your consideration:

1. Most exciting floats I'd take with somebody elses boat.
a. Upper Nisqually
b. Calawah
c. A whole lotta rivers in the summer or during low flows.

2. Most scenic, challenging, fishy and long floats I will do in MY boat. (Companion boats recommended.)
a. Winter (higher flows only) - Upper Humptulips. What can I say but thank you, RSM. Bill, I noticed you only mentioned the one that is now closed to fishing, hope I didn't give this one away.
b. Summer (high flow recommended) - Klickitat River. Make it a 2-3 day float through the canyon and have some fun in the sun. Be on guard for snakes and the rocks. A buddy landed a +/- 40 lb salmon from the dark chocolate flows. eek

3. Most incredible drift boat trip I will NEVER do again.
a. Upper Cedar River in the watershed. Incredible, because it is simply the most gorgeous, pristine and untouched stretch of ROYAL blue ribbon trout water I have ever seen on this planet (yes, that includes AK, MT, UT, & CO). I will never do it again because it will never be allowed again and even if it were I wouldn't use my boat. This one time event was santioned by all the proper authorities who were looking for a fool to risk his life and craft to plant fingerlings throughout the upper stretch for a wild steelhead enhancement program sponsored by the So Lk Wash TU back in the 80's. If I remember correctly it took about 10 guys to drag the boat to the river and then help rope it down in many places. Without their help the city authorities would have had us take the sterilized boat out in pieces. We even had to pack out our piss. Got some great photos though. I'll try to find them.

4. Most scenic, wild, fishy and underrated float for both novice and expert.
a. Upper Skagit

5. Insane floats I've had enough sense not to take.
a. Green River canyon. Palmer to Flaming Geyser. OK, maybe the fact that there isn't any real access helped me stay away till I knew better. Boy, am I glad now.

6. Floats I didn't like.
a. None. Easy or hard, I love them all in their own special way. Here are some words to remember:
"Difficulty doesn't make them better and easy doesn't make them safer."
and
"Keep yer hands on the sticks and yer bait in the water."
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#132490 - 01/11/02 09:16 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
OXCAMP1 Offline
Smolt

Registered: 06/04/99
Posts: 80
Loc: VASHON WA US
The falls section of cardiac canyon. Did it back in the early 80's with a bud from Tokeland. Took a 15 fathom shot of half inch poly and iron balls to pull that one off in a 16 foot Lavaro knock-off built at Westport shipyard. Good thing we borrowed the boat for the day as I was bailing steady by the time we hit tidewater wouln't want to take my boat thru that.Anybody out there know where I'm talking about?

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#132491 - 01/12/02 01:12 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Mooch Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 12/24/01
Posts: 1971
Loc: Low Hole
OK Oxbow. You hooked me. Not only am I curious about what the heck a "15 fathom shot of half inch poly" is, but I been wrackin' my mind all day about this mystery stretch of river you floated. Based on your comments such as "cardiac canyon" and "tidewater", plus the assumption it might be somewhere in WA, where you and your friend were able to do it in a day, there are only two rivers that I can think of that meet the qualifications of a steep gradient to river mouth with canyon that are local. I excluded the following: Elwah (not a "cardiac" canyon), the Green (cardiac canyon yes, but too far to tidewater), Nisqually (possible, but tidewaters pushin it). I wanted to exclude the two that remained because I still want to believe that no one is crazy enough to attempt them in a drift boat. But maybe that's what the "15 fathom shot of half inch poly" was for (something you drink, smoke, hit yourself with or wrap yourself in?). I simply shiver to even suggest them, but could they be the Duckabush canyon (please say not!) or the Dosewallips canyon (heaven forbid!). But I guess I could believe anything after viewing a film of a crazy coworker whitewater raft the Tumwater canyon of the Wenatchee River in the 70's. I look forward to your answer 'cause I just gotta be wrong.

It just occurred to me in closing that the "poly" might be rope. That might make these drifts more "possible", but certainly not anymore fun. By the way, is this friend still a friend? I know I've lost a few pulling the same kind of stunt. Too old for it now. wink
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#132492 - 01/12/02 01:28 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Anonymous
Unregistered


Last weekend I'm down in the Dosewallips canyon trying to remove my jig and worm virginity when all of a sudden two whitewater kayakers pop into the hole! eek eek rolleyes I'm thinkin about gettin one of those rigs for EXTREME fishin hole access ability! Geez I spend most of my time floatin around in these spots in my neoprenes...might as well have some comfort. wink

Gooose eek

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#132493 - 01/12/02 02:14 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
jam session Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 268
Loc: Lake Goodwin
How about the Salmon River ("of no return")in Idaho? Ran it with 3 teenagers and camping gear in my alumaweld a few years ago in Aug. River was low (about 3000cfs) so some of the big class IV rapids (Big Mallard, Vinegar etc) were easy but some of the others.. Elkhorn etc were rocky and technical. Had to pull one of the rafts in our group off a boulder wrap in Growler. Toughest spot for us was Salmon Falls which is normally a class 3 but the easy side was high and dry. We went down the toughest side which is two big drops with a huge hole in between. Friend took a great picture of us hitting the hole where you could only see me from the waist up and the stern of the boat...everything else was buried in white! Had about a foot of water in the boat but everything and everybody stayed in. 100 miles of whitewater in 6 days...not great fishing that time of year but a great experience.

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#132494 - 01/12/02 10:26 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Anonymous
Unregistered


It's not suprising to hear about so many upper sections of rivers that have fast gradients and lots of boulders, with large drops per mile of river. I've seen so many of them, but only run a few.

Another large river that is very challenging in the upper section above the dams is the Clackamas River. I've run the wild section of the Rogue, upper N. Santiam during spring runoff, and other large rivers and they are cake compared to this stretch during spring runoff. They have a whitewater competition annually up there, with kyaks and self bailers and helmuts required. You can see some of the biggest rapids from the road up there - such as the Powerhouse and Carter's Bridge rapids. It also has some of the toughest sweepers in existance into rock walls during this high water; at least it used to back then. I haven't seen it up there since the '96 floods for changes.

One spring I was rowing a couple friends down this section in an older but very capable Hopi 12 ft. wide tube with welded aluminum frame. As we approached the top of the Powerhouse rapid, I had to do some fairly easy manuvering thru boulders above the main drop heavy narrow rapids with big rollers that head right for a big log jam. At the top came our scariest moment in whitewater - I did a hard one oar pivot right at the drop off, instead of a double oar pivot, and the right oar snapped in two at the oar lock. YIKES! "OH SH!T - WE'RE F**KED" I yelled. All I could do is keep the raft fairly straight with the left oar, but without being able to backrow it over to the left side of the big curl waves we were headed right at the big log jam. Honestly scared pale - all 3 of us. Just as we hit the jam, I pushed hard on the left oar so we hit the logs at a quartered angle and yelled to lean toward the logs. If you lean away from an obstruction the upriver side can suddenly catch water and sweep underneath almost instantly. This kills lots of people - even with lifejackets on. But we leaned the right way and were able to pull our raft along the jam as heavy water ran under the upriver side, and finally pivoted off into safe water. Wheeeee-ew! We never had a chance to grab the spare 2 part oar tied under the frame until we got down to the large pool below. ... Lesson: be sure your oars are in great shape to do such a hard pulling section of river. And for the toughest rapids it wouldn't be a bad idea to have easier access to the spare oar - maybe put together already.

RT

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