On Sunday, February 10 Dan, Ryan, Danielle and I hit the Upper Wind river for a great day of rafting / kayaking. I have heard a lot about the Wind and was eager to see what it had to offer. Being in Southern Oregon, it is quite the drive so when I learned that it would be running while I was in Portland, I made sure to put it on my to-do list.
I was running a beat-up 12′ Otter borrowed from the SOU Outdoor Program. We rigged it as an oarboat with a rodeo frame and Danielle was prepared to paddle up front. Ryan and Dan were in their kayaks. Ryan was the only one who had been down before but his memory of the run was shaky. Luckily, the whole thing seemed to be read and run and we cruised along at a great rate. The rapids were a ton of fun, tight and continuous in nature but with places to slow the raft down and maintain control.
At one of the bigger rapids, Dan got stuck in hole in front of me and we nearly ran him over in the raft. Luckily, there was a tight eddy just upstream of the drop on the left that we were able to tuck into. The real trouble, it turned, was getting the boat out of the eddy and lined up for the middle drop. The slot on the left looked not-so-doable so we had to really work to get back center.
Overall, the impression I got from the Wind was that we had seen it at a great starter-level. I would be excited to get on this one again with some healthier flows. I can see how the character of the river would change. Some of those rocks we were sliding between must certainly make some stompin’ holes. At Ramshorn, I can’t imagine what the water does. I am sure it gets real nasty in some places. At the flow we saw, however, this run was mainly IV- with some stout IV+/V- drops.