Category Archives: Trip Reports

Trip Reports and Photos

Middle Fork of the Salmon, Idaho – September 2-6, 2007

We ran a Middle Fork trip September 2, 2007 to September 6. This was two days after the river reopened from Indian Creek down to the confluence. For some time prior, the MF had been open from the Flying B to the confluence but entirely closed the week before our trip was to launch.

I had heard many rumors about what the fires had done to various camps throughout the river corridor so I was excited to take as many photos as possible. I think you will all be pleasantly surprised to hear that most of the fire activity that we could see from the river was mainly under brush, grass, low-intensity burn. There were some spots where trees had crowned but these spots were few and far between.

Immediately below Little Loon and Cameron Creek a low intensity burn follows the river right bank almost entirely down to Loon Creek. I believe that most of this burn was called the “Red Bluff Fire,” although I’m not positive. The cabin at Cougar Creek was fine. The fire was more intense at the actual “red bluff”, Culver Creek, and the section between White Creek and Shelf. Shelf itself did not appear burned and the large ponderosa on the upper end was unscathed (it was rumored to have come down). White Creek camp did see quite a bit of fire. The log pile that had previously existed 200 yards above the camp was pretty much “toast” and bushes at the downstream end were scorched. The trees in camp appeared fine but up the hill and upstream there were a lot of trees burned. Cow and Loon were fine. Whitey and Rock Island looked good but the emergency camp (sometimes referred to as “pebble beach”) on river left below Rock Island was absolutely toasted.

Below Hospital Bar on river left we saw quite a bit of fire activity. Lots of trees down, some in the river. At Cub Creek a low water run is typically on river left but won’t be possible until higher water flushes some trees out that fell into that channel. Lower Grouse is burned but it looks like just the bushes are toast and not any of the trees. At Tappan 2 there was a log stretching across the exit channel on river right below “fish and game” rock. We had to remove this log to get our sweep and other boats through. The log was moved from the channel and we tried to perch it on the left bank to keep it out of Tappan 3 but higher water will certainly push it downstream as well as a countless number of other trees. Camas was just barely burned and the large tree was fine. From Camas down we saw very little smoke (barring the very last mile on the MF and the MS corridor).

The fishing was spectacular, the fires did not seem as bad as initially reported, and we had the river all to ourselves. It was a spectacular trip and just a great experience to float through the new fire areas and see what has changed.

Illinois River – May 5-6, 2007


Ran a 2-day trip on the Illinois this last weekend. Launched on Saturday morning after a cold night, got off the river sunday around 12ish. Beautiful weather, easy but fun flows, and lots of wildlife. The scoreboard: one bear, three otters, one bald eagle… There were three of us in two rafts. HAD A BLAST. The flow was around 1300 at Kerby when we launched, which seems to be a super mellow boogie-water flow. Nothing much to really look out for. Stopped to look at Green Wall and then we were on our way again. Didn’t catch up with the 3 and 4 dayers until we were below Submarine Hole. No trouble finding a camp for three people.







Cal-Salmon – April 20, 2007

Trip report written by Will Volpert. The flow for this trip was fairly low: 1900 CFS, which is around 4.2 feet on the gauge.


This trip was the result of a spawning of “great ideas” we came up with on a very late Thursday night. Living in Ashland, being a boater, and not having been down the Cal-Salmon is kind of like being being an American and not being fat – it is pretty darn rare. Somehow I’d been here for three years and had yet to see the “Slammin’ Salmon,” well, up until yesterday.

We left Ashland around 8:30 and didn’t get on the water until 12:30ish. Dan Thurber, who’d been down twice before, was in his kayak and I was in a 12′ raft borrowed from the SOU Outdoor Program. The run started really mellow. Bloomer’s at this flow presented little challenge for kayak or raft. At Airplane Turn we got out of our boats to take a quick look. Dan went down the main drop (the airplane turn), I snuck right in the raft. Not much of a problem there either. Our next stop was at Cascade where we each went left. At this flow it would be a real nasty swim. Lots of rocks. Dan had a great line. I was off a little in the raft and dropped into a hole I would’ve preferred to stay out of. With plenty of speed, got through just fine though.

At Last Chance we got out of our boats again to check out the run. With Freight Train just around the bend, it’s probably a place you’d rather experience in your boat. At the bottom we eddied out to scout Freight Train, which is considered the most difficult rapid on the run. At this flow it consisted of a long entry and two moves. Move right and then left. How many times have you heard that? I moved right but didn’t get the move back left and ended up sneaking through along the far right bank. Much to Jamie’s disappointment, he didn’t get any carnage shots. Dan had another stellar run and we continued downstream.

At Butler Flat Dan switched into his play boat, we ate some dead turkey and bagels, and pushed off. From here to take-out we just boat scouted and pushed for speed. It’s a long day if you plan on doing this run at low water and are driving there and back. Everything below Butler was mainly class II/III with one class IVish rapid: The Gaping Maw. Lots of boulder dodging at this flow. Dick’s Ledge (I think that’s what it’s called, but who knows?) presented a fun drop. Below that it was time to break out the beers and meet Jamie at the take-out. Another great day on the river.

This was a great flow to see the river for the first time. Most of the stuff was read and run with the exception of Freight Train and Last Chance. Certainly the clearest water I’ve ever seen. The rapids reminded me of a mixture between the Scott and the Lower Gorge on the South Fork of the Smith, although it didn’t feel as steep as either or as continuous as the Scott. The upper stretch seemed like mainly class III with a few class IV drops. Freight Train was certainly the biggest rapid on the run but at this flow maybe not class V. I’m looking forward to my next time down there: Higher water and bigger smiles!

Ashland photographer Jamie Lusch had decided to join us for the trip south to snap shots and he met up with us at Achilles Heal. Got some great photos of our runs through. Here are a few:












Illinois River – April 14-15, 2007

This trip report was written by Alan Jones. The river peaked at just over 1400 on this trip.


Our much anticipated Illinois trip finally arrived. Five of us met at the Timber Tavern about 6 miles NE of Selma for a little dinner and drinks. Kate, our waitress was a real hoot, the beer cold and the food surprisingly good. It made for a great start for the trip. With rain in the forecast, we decided to spend the night at the new Forest Service covered shelters located about 6 miles up the Illinois River Road. The other 5 that formed our group joined us there after dark. It was a good call as it dumped all night.

We had our first rescue of the trip before we made it to Miami Bar. It seems that three of our out of state boaters (who will remain nameless) in two vehicles decided to take the greasy, slimy, steep road at mile 9 thinking it was the way to the put-in! They didn’t get too far before realizing the error of their ways. The 4-wheel drive with the trailer was able to back up just fine, but not the van. Seems the clay was a tad bit to slippery for him to negotiate the grade without the possibility of plunging off the road and down a very steep cliff to the river! A tow from the 4-wheel drive was in order.

We unloaded four cats and six kayaks at Miami Bar and finished rigging. Just prior to departing another group from Ashland showed up. This was our only encounter with other humans until the take-out at Oak Flat on Sunday.It rained off and on (mostly on) all day Saturday. But, the river is so spectacular it doesn’t matter. Once past Panther Creek the rapid frequency and intensity build. The drops on the Illinois are truly amazing. Steep, frothy drops with large boulders that require precise maneuvering to avoid. Our crew, who are all very experienced boaters enjoyed every minute of every rapid.

We had four Illinois virgins on the trip, three cat boaters and one kayaker. And it was my first time rowing a cat. I just picked up a SOTAR from Ted and Ron at Payette. A couple of the people on the trip were amazed I’d take my first strokes on a new boat, let alone a new type of boat on a river like the Illinois, but as an eternal optimist I figured that if I was proficient at rowing a heavily load 16′ Avon, rowing a lightly loaded 14′ cat would be a piece of cake! It was. I must be one of the last round boat hold-outs. I’ve been running Avon’s for 25 years and never considered or recommended a cat to anyone. I was truly amazed at the easy of maneuvering and nimbleness of the cat. Plus I really liked the forward rowing placement. Being a kayaker also, it was great to be in a position to actually drop down in the holes.

The entire group made clean runs at all the rapids on day 1. I even put the SOTAR smack dab in the middle of the Boat Eater. My first experience at surfing a cat (not deliberate), also my first experience with using pins and clips and the ability to let go of the oars and jump to the high side knowing the oars would still be usable when I got out of the hole! Worked great!We camped at South Bend and had a great spaghetti dinner. The weather cleared about dark, and by midnight the sky was white with stars.

Sunday dawned clear and beautiful. After a brief breakfast, packing and rigging, we were on the river by 9:30. One mile until the Green Wall. All the cats ran left at Prelude with one of the Kayakers volunteering to hike up for the traditional photo shoot from behind as you make the drop. Steve, one of the kayakers liked Prelude so much he did it twice. We all ran the upper section of the Green Wall and eddied out behind the big boulders just above the Wall.

After a brief scout, one of the kayaks ran first, took the left sneak at the top and then set up the photo shoot. Greg, in his 12′ cat went next. He had a text book run, except the big hole at the bottom caught him by surprise, no carnage. I ran next. Not exactly a text book run by any means. I was setting up for the first drop between rock # 2 (which was completely covered) and rock # 3 and miss read the cross current on top. I caught rock #3 with the tip of the left tube and got spun left. By the time I’d straightened up I missed the next slot also and was trying to take the kayak sneak on the far left with a loaded cat. Not a good choice. After lots of tugging and lifting, we got the cat through the rocks into a vicious little eddy with no good exit in sight. I had one chance to get out if we could get a rope upstream and out by the entrance rocks on the left. After numerous struggles we managed to get the cat facing the wall and far enough from the rocks to give me a chance to let go of the line and make the ferry of my life to avoid the ugly strainers below. Few, I was lucky enough to make the ferry and finished the run in good form.

A couple of the kayaks came through. They were all such solid boaters that the Green Wall presented little challenge to them. Tom in his cat came next. He managed to crab an oar on the top drop, got spun sideways over the drop, but recovered nicely. He just didn’t have enough speed to clear the big hole at the bottom. It was hungry and decided to keep him. Tom valiantly fought his way out of the hole, but was surfed too far to the right to miss the wall. He had a beautiful slow motion flip against the wall. Arthur made a text book rescue line toss and Tom was brought to safety next to my cat. Greg took off after Tom’s boat which was secure in the eddy below and on the right. Between Tom’s run and mine I don’t think we lowered Jeanne’s anxiety level much. She was the last cat to run, and run she did. Made us boys look really bad. A perfect run. The last of the kayaks came through with Arthur being last. I have to say I wish I was as proficient a kayaker as Art. It’s not everyone who does intentional tail stands in every hole going through the Green Wall! It’s amazing how much less foreboding the Green Wall looks when it is sunny and beautiful out.


The next four miles are some of my favorite. We finished the day out soaking up the scenery and the remaining rapids enjoying the sun. Sunday was Steve’s 32nd birthday. What a great way to spend your birthday. The flow when we put in was 1,200 cfs. It had risen to 1,360 by the time we took off Saturday afternoon and was 1,400 when we ran the Wall. It was my first time at this flow and I have to say I don’t think you could get a better level to run it than this.The Illinois is truly a gem. Fantastic rapids, lots of them, and a total wilderness. It still amazes me you can have a river this spectacular, and have it to yourself. I couldn’t have asked for a better crew to boat with. Hats off to all of you, and thanks for your help in my little section of the Green Wall!

Illinois River – November 17-19, 2006

When most people talk about running the Illinois, they assume it’ll be sometime in March, April, or May. After looking at some historical data, I noticed that the Illinois tended to come up to runnable levels sometime in mid-November. I called a few friends in Moscow, Idaho, and set a date of November 17th (and crossed my fingers for water). This was sometime in late September, so we knew it was unlikely that our prayers would be answered.

Watching the Illinois gauge from two weeks out is frustrating. The predicted flows were, at first, way too high – something like 4500 CFS. Then, two days later, they were way too low – around 400 CFS. But, when it was all said and done, two-days out from the trip the predicted flow came in somewhere around 1500 CFS – just about perfect.

From Moscow, we had the NRS boys: Brian C., Blake L, and Josh D. Brian and I had worked together on Idaho’s Middle Fork and Main Salmon Rivers the previous three summers before he had taken a job at NRS. Tagging along with them was Andrew Wilkin, a student from University of Idaho and also a Middle Fork and Main Salmon guide with Brian and I for Idaho River Journeys. We also had Dan Thurber, Chris Uthoff, and Matt Tolley in kayaks.

We met at Ray’s in Selma, grabbed our permit and headed to the river. The sun came out and we had a great day floating to Pine Flat. Upon reaching Pine Flat, we busted out camp, a few drinks, and the usual guide mayhew started. After a night hooting, we crashed out and enjoyed a peaceful night of sleep.

The morning started off slowly with the popping of advil and rigging of boats… and then it was river time. The sun broke free and we got to enjoy the Illinois in its splendid glory! JD was taking photos so we took our time, pausing here and there for another photo-op.Upon reaching Prelude, Dan ran through first and was able to get some great shots of the rafts and JD’s cat shooting through the slot on river-left. Then it was on to Green Wall, where we ran the entry rapid and eddied out above the top drop. We scouted for a bit and JD set up for photos. All of us had some great lines and before we knew it we were below the Wall and cruising to Pimp Slap. Made it through everything and soon we were at the waterfall camp, beginning round two.

Woke in the morning, pushed off, and got to take-out around noonish. The Idaho guys had to get back pronto so took off for a long drive. Dan, Matt, Chris and I headed back to Selma… Another great Illy trip!

Some of JD’s shots:





Illinois River – December 10-12, 2005

There are a few things that can be said of winter boating, particularly in drainages along the Oregon coast: Solitude. Beauty. Muddy Roads. Frozen Cam Straps. But, the two main words that come to mind are “cold” and “wet”. The little sun that peaks over the ridge line for the meer two or three hours simply is no match for the prevelant cold and wet Oregon is so well known for.

These conditions tend to co-exist with great river flows for rafting and kayaking, which leads to us boaters sacrificing some comfort to enjoy the sport we love. Now, this trip came together because Dan’s brother, Mike, was in town and wanting to get out on the water. The Illinois came into our radar because it was around a nice level of 1000 CFS or so. We loaded up Mike’s car, which had been totalled and was missing the right seats, with my raft, frame, oars, 2 kayaks, a cooler, and our personal bags. It was a very tight fit, and the car bottomed-out as we left the parking lot.

We stopped in Selma to pick up our permit and then it was on to the river. There were a few places along the way that Dan and I had to get out of the car so that it wouldn’t bottom out. As Dan and I “portaged” the rough spots in the road, the car just barely scraped along. It was slow going to the put-in, but we got there eventually and soon enough we were on the water.


We camped the first night about 1/3 of a mile above Klondike, on a very wet and sandy beach. At the time, none of us knew that Klondike was a camp… otherwise we would have been there for sure. It got dark early so we ate fast and crawled into bed. In the morning everything was covered in ice. I remember making a quick meal and then rigging as fast as possible so that I could row to the other side of the river where the sun was just starting to hit.

After hanging out in the sun briefly, we pushed off downstream. There is only one really significant rapid between Klondike and Prelude and we made it through that easily. I had a random surf (but a long one) at some rapid I don’t know the name of. It got me pretty rattled so we took a break to east some lunch. After lunch we ran through Prelude and then the entry rapid to Green Wall. Scouted and then ran on through. Everything else was smooth sailing and we camped at the waterfall camp on the upstream portion. It was a cold night and we struggled getting a fire started. Everything we found was soaking wet and didn’t light.


The next morning was freezing cold and we tried to push off as early as possible to reach take-out. At this point I had decided that I was not going to do this trip again in December. Of course, after reaching take-out and turning the heat on the three of us decided that this trip “must be an annual event!” Turns out, I would do it again… and maybe bring a duraflame with me.

Written by Will Volpert

Running Green Wall – Spring of 2004

This last weekend I took a raft down on the Illinois River, a gorgeous and remote river that flows into the Rogue west of Grants Pass. The run is 34 miles long and contains a lot of rapids, several of which are class IV and one that is class V. So let’s talk about that one, the big one. It’s called Green Wall and lies about 19 miles down river in the heart of the canyon. Many people break it up into two parts. At 2300 c.f.s, the first 150 yards are a big class IV boulder garden filled with big waves and holes. The river sweeps around a corner, slams into the wall on the right, and then the real action starts, as the whole river chugs through a constricted chute choked with boulders the size of houses, and creates many minor features mixed in with two distinct ledge drops.

So naturally, we have to scout this rapid. Of course, Will and I didn’t want to have to scramble along the river bank for a quarter mile just to get to the place where you can see the main part of the rapid, no, we’re lazy. We go with the popular plan of running the first half without scouting. There’s no pool in between the two drops, but there is a small eddy on the side of the river. We decide to run the class IV lead in, then catch this eddy and tie our boats up to scout. All was going well, we’re rowing through the lead-in, and all of a sudden, I realize I’m off my intended line, and dropping into a big hole. I have no choice but to run it, so I give a few hard oar strokes and crash into this stomping wave. It rocked me a bit, but I kept rowing and made it through the backwash.

But that’s only the beginning. Just below, I have to start making the ferry into the eddy. So I set up my angle and started making the pull into the eddy. It was looking fine, and then suddenly, my right oar popped completely out of the oar lock. Now being midstream in Green Wall at that water level with only one oar is significantly worse than being up shit’s creek without a paddle, because with only one oar all I can do is spin the boat in circles…..and I could see the scouting eddy slowly slipping away as the forceful current pulled me downstream toward a class V hydraulic that could not only flip my boat and send me swimming, but could completely tear my raft apart.

I quickly grabbed the oar that was momentarily useless and with both hands threw it back into the oarlock, setting myself up to row again. With a few hard pull strokes, I got my boat into the very bottom of the scouting eddy.

But the water I was in was still moving downstream and I wasn’t truly in the eddy. I kept pulling with all the strength I could find and rowed my loaded raft upstream against the moving current. I kept rowing until I had parked myself on a partially exposed boulder. The worst of it was over and my heart slowed down, but I had to keep rowing to stay in place until Will could pull over, tie off his boat, and come help me get back into the eddy.

So there we were, safe and sound, with our boats parked in the middle of a class V torrent of steep whitewater. We got out to scout the second and most difficult half of the rapid. Now, Green Wall is a drop I have studied through pictures, video, testimonials and personal experience for over a year now. I’d run it successfully three times before this last weekend, but of all the different water levels I’ve seen the rapid at, this was by far the nastiest.

Below the eddy where we had our boats parked, the river right wall was a sheer vertical cliff, offering no possibility of escape or rescue positioning. The river channel narrows significantly and the entire width of the river flows over a ledge that is followed by the boat-destroying hole I mentioned earlier. Fortunately, A small channel emerges just upstream of the drop on the river left side, but is still blocked off by a rock on the upstream end, you have to enter it from the side. So if you can kill all the momentum the river puts into your raft, you may be able to move sideways to the current enough to catch this narrow window and avoid the hole by going left.

You may now think that the challenge is over. You’re wrong. The left side of the initial drop is the place to be, but immediately downstream, the left two thirds of the river are a complex maze of boulders where you risk wrapping a raft around rocks. If you do end up there and are fortunate enough to avoid a serious wrap in there, that’s great, except there’s no way out. None of the channels exiting the left side boulder garden are wide enough at this water level to squeeze one tube of a raft through, much less the entire boat.

So after making that initial move left to avoid the thundering hole, you have to move back right all the way, again through screaming fast water, to avoid the inescapable room on the left. If you can manage to make that move back left, it’s pretty straightforward: just avoid wrapping on one last guard rock that you must go right of, straighten the boat out, and run the other half of the class V section where the river drops over another ledge with a rock on one side, a massive crashing wave on the other side, and the entire flow of the channel slamming into a the river right rock wall below. Then catch an eddy before the wave train ends or else you’re dropping into the steepest 3 miles of the river canyon while your buddy upstream has to run his boat through, counting on you to bail him out if he gets in trouble.

So now that I’ve introduced you to the rapid, let’s run it! By the time I was confident enough to get back into my boat, many other groups had arrived at the rapid and were scouting it. I had only watched one raft go through because they missed the pull into the scouting eddy. He got through safely, but the line was far from clean, as he ran numerous holes and pinballed backwards through some bony slots. With lots of people standing atop the monstrous boulders watching to see how I did, I buckled my helmet, untied my boat, and pushed off.

I stayed along the side of the channel, where the river wasn’t rushing as quickly, and tried to slow my speed as I approached the first terrifying hole. The window to move left was tighter than I expected, so while I made the move around the dangerous ledge, I was carrying much more speed than I wanted. I was starting to lose control. The bow of my boat bumped into a the wall and spun me against my will. I decided not to fight it and improvised. I angled my boat back to the right, drifted through a slot backwards, and started pulling. In the torrent of water flowing into the boulder-choked left side, I found two rocks that I could use to my advantage. I backed into the slack water behind them and slowed enough to make the pull back right, avoiding every exposed rock.

I took a breath and felt extreme relief as I made the toughest move. I looked downstream at the lower drop and for the first time in the entire rapid, I took a push stroke. I was no longer trying to slow down and play the avoidance game. It was time to row downstream and row hard. The water quickly sped my boat up and within seconds I had cleared the crashing waves and the wall. I caught the eddy below, tied my boat off, and scrambled ashore. I was sweating profusely, but that was the only moisture on my body. Green Wall soaked me that day, though my boat never took on water.

By Dan Thurber

Illinois River – Spring of 2005

This trip was essentially what spawned the idea of This was my freshman year at Southern Oregon University and I had just met Dan Thurber, who would soon become one of my most favorite people to spend time with. We had met through SOUs Outdoor Program and a week after having first met I called Dan to see if he would be interested in a weekend trip on the Lower Klamath. He called me back shortly after with the idea of running the Illinois – a river, which at the time, I had never heard of. It was flowing approximately 1300 CFS which sounded like a good flow. I browsed around online to find information on the run but hardly came up with anything. There was a video on American Whitewater but that was just about it. I ended up buying Quinn’s guide book which really just scared the shit out of me. “Scout this that and the whole damn thing” was essentially what it said.

Neither Dan or I had a vehicle, so the next step would be to talk my girlfriend at the time into going so that we could use her 4-Runner. She was into it, so the next thing we knew we were headed to a town called Selma.

Let me pause here and tell you something that I learned about Dan on this trip: In nice words “he likes to make things as cheap as possible”; or, in not so kind a sense: “He is a cheap SOB”. Aside from the 4-Runner, we were also short essentially all of the necessary equipment to do this trip. Such as: A) rafts; B) Oars; C) Coolers; Raft Frames; E) a Groover. We had our personal stuff, just not the critical items. We talked to Eric Sol who is the director for SOUs Outdoor Program and he kindly agreed to lend us everything needed in exchance for one favor: clean out the toilet that has been full for nearly 4 months and was just sitting on the floor. We agreed to this, loaded up, and with big smiles we headed back to Dan’s house to begin preparing for the trip.


It costs $5.00 to empty a toilet at the campground in Ashland and that’s what I intended to do before we set out. Not Dan though. He thought that we could just float the toilet down the river, use it as needed, and empty it at the scat machine at Foster Bar which is just a short drive from the Illinois River take-out at Oak Flat.

So, back to Selma. Here we are in our 4-Runner crammed full of river gear and a groover full of 4-month-old shit. We had left Ashland in the afternoon and arrived at Miami Bar at dusk. We set about making dinner and getting the boats somewhat rigged and then fell asleep to a clear sky. Around 1 AM another group arrived, made some noise, and then continued down the road (to where we later learned was a nice place to camp that actually had flat ground). Awaking in the morning, we made a quick breakfast before the 1 AM group arrived and began getting their boats ready to go.

They were from Gold Beach and didn’t seem too happy to see us there… My 19-year-old self and Dan’s 20-year-old self didn’t do much to convince them that we should be there and they initially tried to talk us out of the run. They quizzed us on where we had boated before and then told us that everything we had seen was much smaller than the Illinois. Their bottom line was pretty much: you’re fucked, good luck.

So we pushed off from Miami Bar and headed on downstream. We stopped to scout a lot and spent a fair amount of time on shore figuring out where we were. Our plan was to get below Green Wall and all the big stuff before camping. We got to Green Wall mid-afternoon and decided to pull over above the entry rapid and hike down to scout the rapid in its entirety. After Dan, Scarlett and I had hiked down, the Gold Beach group came around the corner and began running boats down to the lower eddy. They had six or seven boats so took turns catching the eddy, running boats through the rapid, and then sending more boats through the entry rapid to catch the small eddy. After they had run through, I hiked back up to my boat and, with a nervous shove, pushed into the current. We had a nice line through the rapid and eddied out on river left to watch Dan run through. He had a great line as well and soon both boats were headed downstream.

We spent a little bit of time scouting the rapids below Green Wall. After we had gotten through everything but Submarine Hole, we cruised downstream and very suddenly I was at the lip of a significant drop. It came up pretty quick so I pulled to the closest bank which was river left and signaled to Dan to pull over as well. He ended up on river right and through a series of hand signals we determined that we would enter river right and pass the large rock (the submarine) on river left. Dan would probe so he dropped in and I pushed off close behind. It appeared that he had made the move left with no problems and I briefly took my eyes off his boat. When I looked up again… his boat was upside down! This was awfully worrisome since I was headed in the same direction. I made the move left and passed the rock. When I reached the bottom of the rapid Dan had already re-flipped. We continued downstream to find camp, which we made right at the mouth of Collier Creek where there was a very small gravel bar against a cliff.

Having floated the Illinois 20+ times since then, I now realize how incredibly lucky we were to not have the water come up and overtake our camp. We were literally only a few inches above the water surface AND right at the mouth of the creek. When I float by Collier Creek now, I look in disbelief at our complete ignorance of having made camp there.

Back to our trip… Here is where I wished we had paid the extra five dollars to get the toilet cleaned before our trip. Dan, having elected not to clean it, had it in his boat – the boat that turned upside down. The contents of course shifted a lot more than slightly and spewed everywhere within the container and, some of it, out of the container. It was a shitty mess and we were literally up shit creek without a paddle. We cleaned it off as best as we could and broke for take-out, which was roughly 9 miles away.

We reached take-out and drove back to Ashland through Powers. This was easily one of my most memorable river trips and the Illinois is by far my most favorite of all multi-day river trips. Its beauty, solitude, and power continues to amaze me. I will never get tired of rafting or seeing new rivers, but there’s something to be said for being content with ones I have seen. If I was given one more river to run, the Illinois would be the one. And, if I were fortunate enough to see my last of all days on a river, I would choose that I be on the Illinois, preferably next to one of the canyons many waterfalls, overlooking the most beautiful of beautiful rivers.

When I returned home I organized our photos and bought this domain name: I thought it would be a good place to put photos up of trips, especially of the Illinois because there was not very much information on it. So, that was that and now I still use… but it’s grown quite a bit!

Illinois River, Oregon