Trip Report by Will Volpert. Flow peaked somewhere around 1350 CFS.
On Friday evening we drove in to Miami Bar. Zach (Northwest Rafting Company), Pete (Momentum River Expeditions) and Dan didn’t get in until 2 AM. The rest of us were already asleep at the new camping area near Miami. We had Mr. Moody’s entourage from Idaho: Makael and Mike. From Washington we had Morgan, John, and Mike B. Then there was Dana and me, Kelly from Portland, and John B from Eureka.
We awoke to what seemed like the perfect day on the Illinois. The sun broke free as we rigged our boats and then we were on the water. After an uneventful morning we stopped at Pine Flat right for lunch. Our original plan was to get down to the waterfall camp for the night, but upon reaching South Bend we were happy to call it home. An upstream wind had picked up and it had been a long day in the sun. It felt like it was around 5:00 but after checking a watch it was only 3:00. Dana started showing the guys from Washington how to drink Fireball Whiskey. That didn’t last too long though…
The next morning we got on the water, ran Prelude, and then some of us caught the scout eddy immediately above Green Wall while the rest hiked down from the top of the entry rapid. The hole at the bottom looked meaty. Pete, John M, and I ran through first. At the bottom of Green Wall we got to watch John M. dance around in the hole at the bottom before the cat flipped up and over. Next up was Dan and he had a great line. John B came down after him and ended up center at the bottom. His boat looked like it was going to flip, spit him out, and then proceeded to surf for 20 minutes. Pete and I hung out in the eddy as most everyone else tried to get a rope to the boat. Eventually it popped out on its own, we got it to shore, and Mike B and Morgan came down in their cats.
Got to take out around 3:00. Overall just an incredible trip. Thanks everyone for coming! Hope to boat with you all again soon.
Everyone arrived in Selma the night before the trip. John introduced some of us to Fireball Whiskey and we didn’t hit the hay until about 1 AM. With a more-than slight headache we awoke the next morning and tried to load as quickly as possible. The game plan was to get below Green Wall, which is roughly 18 miles downstream of Miami Bar. Tyler arrived at 8 AM with his big truck and trailer and soon we were on the road headed to Miami Bar. Pushed off from Miami Bar a little after 10 AM.
Water level was great. The rapid section after Panther Creek was awesome with some big waves. Scenery was good as usual and weather was surprising warm and just barely drizzly. We ate lunch at Pine Flat. Pine Flat to South Bend really flies by. Surprisingly, about three miles above South Bend on river right we came across a herd of elk. Once they spotted us they scrambled up the hillside. I would never expect to see elk at the river on the Illinois – this river is full of surprises.
At South Bend we did a sand drawing of what Green Wall would look like, where the eddy was, etc. There were a few folks who had not been down before. Dan and Jonathan in their kayaks ran the entry rapid first and caught the eddy, followed by John and me. Next up was Hans and George, who were R2ing, and Ryan who was rowing an Avon Adventurer. In the entry rapid, Ryan’s oar got locked in the oar lock and he struggled to get it back in. He went screaming by the eddy so Tyler and I gave chase. We watched Ryan’s boat drop over the ledge hole sideways and I thought it was game over but somehow the boat flushed through upright. We snuck way left and then cut back right, not far enough though and got dropped into some manky stuff in the center but popped out unscathed and found ourselves in the bottom eddy with Ryan.
John ran through next and had a sweet line. Way left, way right, and back to the center. Pretty much picture perfect. Next was George and Hans. They had a nearly identical line as Tyler’s and mine and dropped into the center mank. Lastly were Dan and Jonathon and they both had stellar lines. After shooting some photos and taking some shots of Fireball Whisky we continued our way downstream. Everything went smoothly with the exceptional of an exciting surf at the top hole of Submarine (the boat didn’t turn over though!). Finally it was time to take the helmet off, crack a beer, and get down to Waterfall Camp, which, on this particular day had two thumpy waterfalls.
The next morning we woke up to warm temperatures. We got on the water around 10:00 and found ourselves at Oak Flat around noonish. The sun came out and we loaded everything up in the blazing heat. Another great trip down the Illinois was exceptional folks!
Written by Will Volpert. Although we were floating on Josephine Creek, there is no gauge so your best reference is the Illinois. Here it is:
If there ever was such a thing as a “Classic Class II Run” it would be Josephine Creek. Dana and I scoped this one out in the Fall of 2009 while exploring our new home territory. It looked great. At the time, the Illinois was flowing a touch under 1400 CFS and Josephine had a substantial amount of water in it. Keep in mind that Josephine enters the Illinois a few miles below Kerby, which is where the gauge is. There’s no gauge for Josephine and, in fact, there is really no information on it other than historical notes linking it to the first gold discovered in Oregon (which was by a gal named Josephine, a miner’s daughter) and that the county was name after the discoverer (hence, “Josephine County”)
Who was on this trip?
Scott Malone of Rogue Wilderness
Pete Wallstrom of Momentum River Expeditions
Tyler Averyt of Galice Resort
Aaron Stone of Noah’s Rafting
Will Volpert of Rogue River Journeys
We parked my truck at the $8 Bridge and then took Tyler’s truck up Josephine. We stopped once to check the flow at a mining site, and then continued up into Fiddler Creek. HEADS UP: If Fiddler didn’t have wood in it… it would be an epic/awesome run. We turned around and went to the confluence of Fiddler and Josephine. Found a road to the tree line, walked down to the canyon to find an access point, and then started huffing stuff towards the creek. We only had to carry a little bit but the last part was steep. We ended up roping everything to the creek – which, by the way, looked spectacular.
Pete and I were R2ing a 10′ Avon “Rosie” and everyone else was IKing. The creek offered spectacular scenery. It was stunning. The water was the clearest I’d ever seen. Making it even more rewarding was the thought that we were probably the first ones to float this stretch of water (if anyone knows differently please let me know). It was class II, but there never was a really long stretch of flat water. In total we floated about 4.5 miles.
At take-out we ran into a local who was out on his dirtbike. He told us about access even further upstream of where we launched. I’m sure you’ll see a trip report here within a few weeks about access. Overall, awesome trip. Great people, beautiful creek… Can’t beat either.
For the boatmen, for the thrills, but really just for the rivers