After Jo and Jason (fellow Idaho River Journeys guides) showed up in Portland I called Ryan Morgan to ask about boating plans. He couldn’t join us for the Illinois later in the week, but he did want to show us the Molalla… at flood stage. I had the choice between taking a 14′ Avon Adventurer or 10′ Avon dubbed “Rosie” – and chose poorly. Grabbed the 10-footer and we began the drive to Molalla. Met Ryan in the morning.
The original plan was to run an upper stretch but after seeing how flooded the river was Ryan decided that it would be best not to. We put on the Goldilocks stretch and hit was a hoot. Except it felt like the 10′ raft was a little small for the three of us. Ryan kayaked and showed us the way through most of the stuff. It was moving so fast… until we got to one of the rapids and there were logs everywhere. We pulled over on river-left and scouted. The normal run, as Ryan told us, was blocked by quite a few logs. So, we entered farther left than normal and worked right. Here’s how Ryan put it (in a post to PDXKayaker):
“A group of us headed out to the Molalla today. The river was predictably high, but great fun. I had my playboat and we also had a 10′ raft with an R3 crew. We opted to run from the Old Bridge to the Cedars since the flow was so high, roughly 5,800 at Canby and falling) (The Cedars is a day use site downstream of Glen Avon, but above Feyrer park) We moved fast, but everything was easy to boat scout. The bears were big and fun. There is no new wood in the upper river to
Baby Bear. (There is still wood in the right channel of the first island rapid below Horse creek canyon) Goldilocks however has gotten more difficult. I spotted new wood so we quickly grabbed an eddy for a scout. The water was just going over the wood that has been stuck at the bottom left making the right side line the only option. Unfortunately, there are now two large logs blocking the entrance to the right channel requiring a challenging ferry and a tough cut to the right above the big rock with the old wood on it. We both made it through, but not without some tense moments and hard paddling. All in all, a great day on the water. We covered the run in just over 2 hours. If anyone is interested, I might be up for the Table Rock Fork tomorrow as it should be at a great level.”
As far as I know, Ryan knew the Molalla better than anyone.
Here are some photos from this trip: