Illinois River – 10:00 PM May 17 – 2:30 PM May 18, 2008


This last Saturday was the BLM sponsored “Rogue River Clean-up” from Hog Creek to Grave Creek. RRJ took a group of 26 students and parents from the Jacoby Creek Middle School to help pick-up trash. With flows just under 6,000 CFS, most of the trash was probably floating on downstream, however we still managed to pick up a lot of junk.

After the river clean up and lunch, Chip, Dana, and I headed back to Selma, cleaned up after the trip, and then drove down to Miami Bar on the Illinois. We left Selma around 8:15 PM on Saturday night and arrived at Miami Bar around 9:15. With a near-full moon over our heads, we pushed off at 10:00 PM and floated a quick mile to camp.

Due to the trip being somewhat spur-of-the-moment and mainly because we had no desire to spend time packing, here is what we had with us:

-6 bagels
-1 jar of jelly from Rose
-1 pound of beef jerky
-Some really good smoked tuna
-3 apples
-A few cliff bars
-12 PBRs
-12 MGDs
-12 Budweisers
-6 Black Butte Porters

Clearly we have priorities.

We fell asleep under the stars and woke up to a beautifully clear morning. We got up and tried to find something to do like breakdown the kitchen but soon realized that we didn’t have a kitchen. I went to breakdown the groover and then realized that we didn’t have a groover. Next up was the fire pan but, alas, we did not have one of those either. So, we threw our sleeping bags in the boats and pushed off at 7:00 AM sharp. By 8:30 AM we were at Pine Flat. We passed Klondike at 8:50. Soon after we caught up with a group and decided to pull over and eat some brunch.

After filling ourselves with bagels and smoked tuna, we continued downstream and reached South Bend at 10:35 AM. As we floated around the corner at South Bend, the Illinois River Circus pulled out in front of us and stared blankly downstream. They weren’t moving at the same pace so we waited to see if they would pull over before Prelude. Another group ahead of them seemed to be scouting Prelude from every angle possible and, from the looks of things, the Circus Act was about to begin. We pushed ahead (to a few grumbling voices, sorry about that) and headed down to Green Wall.

At Green Wall our plan was to run through without stopping to scout and just see what happens. We took two different routes and both worked out fairly well. I entered center and Chip entered far left. At the bottom we hung out for a brief second before pushing on down. As we floated through the narrows below the riffle after Green Wall we looked back upstream and saw what appeared to be an upside down blue boat heading our way. Apparently, the Show had started and carnage had begun! The boat eddied out on its own before the riffle but some of its contents didn’t. An oar came floating down with a few other miscellaneous items. We were able to collect the stuff and put it on a rock on the river bank where we hoped they could find it later.

With circus music playing in the background upstream, birds chirping along, the sun beaming a glorious 80-degree ray upon our heads, evidence of carnage floating by, and icy-cold beverages within arms reach, all I could think was “damn, I love this river.”

We made it to Oak Flat by 2:30 PM and back in Selma by 6:15 PM. A truly wonderful trip with the best company possible.

Here are some pictures:







Clackamas River – May 10, 2008

I called Ryan Morgan to see if he and Danielle would like to hit the water. Danielle has taken to enjoying the ride in the raft while Ryan kayaks. After meeting them in a small town near the Clackamas, we drove upstream to the Clackams River. I honestly have no idea where we put-in or took-out. We put-in above a powerhouse and ran rapids called “toilet bowl”, “hole in the wall”, etc. Fun stuff, especially spending the day with great friends: Ryan, Danielle, and Dana.

At some point we past Ryan’s car and he eddied out and told us to go further downstream to a ramp. So, maybe a mile or two later, we pulled over and he was there waiting for us. A great day on the water.

Here are some photos from this trip:






North Santiam – May 9, 2008

With low flows and no crew, Ryan thougtht the North Santiam would be a cool run to check out. He hadn’t been out there in a few years and I had yet to see it, so given our options it seemed like a good bet. The run was very continous class II with the occasional III thrown into the mix. According to some guide books, there is a class IV rapid in there but, at the very most and at our flows, this rapid may have scraped by as III+.

The water was freezing and the snow on the river banks (at only about 2300 feet!) confirmed the chilly temperature of the small canyon. Wood was a minor issue with one “must” portage and a few other snags here and there but avoidable. The mandatory portage was a huge tree that stretched all the way across the river. It was massive. There’s a picture of it below. Very obvious and easy to pull over to portage.

Throughout the run there were a lot of fun play waves. Ryan was in his playboat and I was in an empty 12′ Otter with just a rodeo frame so we took advantage of the fun nature of the run. Some good surfs, particularly near the take-out.

The entire length of the run was approximately 10 miles and we covered it in two hours. Enjoy the pictures:




Illinois River – May 2-4, 2008


More sunny days on the Illinois! In what continues to be a great Illinois year, the weather, water, and people all came together for another great trip.

The first night we stayed at Pine Flat after launching from Miami Bar at a leisurely pace (3:30 pm). With so much daylight, we made it to Pine Flat with plenty of time to spare. The next day we floated below the waterfall camp and stayed on river left about 1.5 miles further downstream. A great camp with lots of firewood.

At the flows we saw, the hole at the bottom of Green Wall was practically nothing compared to what it has become at slightly higher flows. It was easily avoided to the right, which was a good thing because the left side would have required scraping over some nasty rocks that became exposed. Slightly higher water and the hole closes this line off and makes a left side run ideal.

Carberry Creek – Spring 2008

I’d talked to Dan Thurber about the possibility of taking a raft down Carberry Creek and he seemed to think that it would be OK. So, when the flow was up, he grabbed a boat, oars, and frame for me and I met him in Jacksonville. I’d come from Selma after a day of mowing Rogue River Journeys enormous lawn and was excited at the shot of tacking on an afternoon run. Shaggy from Sawyer Oars was also with us in his kayak, as was another Ashlandite, Andrew.

From a rowing perspective, Carberry Creek was a lot like the Upper Wind in Southern Washington, but with smaller holes and a lesser flow. I imagine it might be like the Upper Wind at very low water. It was mainly Class II and III with a few IVish moves thrown in. The most significant drop was a five or six-foot ledge with a small hole at the bottom. Another drop had a twisting entry and ended with a medium sized hole that actually sucked one of my tubes and led to a worrisome half-ass highside before the boat pushed through.

Dan’s guidance was incredibly helpful. The only scout was at the twisty-entrance rapid so I relied on his verbal beta prior to each rapid. Once again, have got to thank the wonderful kayakers of the Ashland area for letting me see a new river. I’m incredibly thankful for the amount of help and wisdom many of these folks have… and for their willingness in letting a hypalon-guy hang out with them.

At the take-out we shared a six-pack, packed up, and headed home. A short run; but one that I will never forget.