Saturday, March 17, 2007

Roaring River

This fine spring day found us on Roaring River. I had been eager to get back on this run for months, but snow, rain and work all conspired to make me wait. I had heard that Tyree and Pete may be talked into the adventure, so I gave an early morning call to Pete. He was reluctant and advised I call Tyree. A few phone calls later and we were off. The indications were for a low but adequate flow, perfect for a couple first timers. The sun was shining and it was turning out to be a good day. We got to the take out and quickly determined that the water level was ideal for our purposes. The stick gauge in the pool upstream of the bridge read 2.35'. We loaded up in Tyree's truck and were off.

The shuttle for this run is only 13 miles, but be prepared to take about an hour to do it. It's mostly gravel and dirt roads. The further into the shuttle you get, the worse and less traveled the road. It became clear that we were one of the first groups up here this spring as we encountered our first downed tree on the way to the put in.

Pete makes fast work of a tree across the road

A couple more small trees and some bumping around brought us to the end of the road and the beginning of the hike in to the river. The Roaring River sits in a mostly uncut, untouched canyon making it unique in the Clackamas River watershed and is designated a wild and scenic river. That said, it's a steep trail down to the river, and hiking back out is not an option.

Pete and Tyree make their way to the river

A short but slightly strenuous 25 minutes brought us to the cool waters of the river. It definitely felt like spring was here as we all had broken a sweat on the way in.

Looking down river from the put in

The river provides a brief warm up before the first and biggest boulder garden shows up
Looking down into the first rapid

Pete and Tyree looking back at the entrance drop

Pete getting ready to fire it up

I probed the drop being the only one to have done the run before, set safety and took pictures as Tyree and Pete finished up the first boulder garden.

Tyree coming through

Pete blasting down river. Too much fun

Pete and Tyree all smiles after the first big boulder garden

From here on down, we boat scouted most everything and with a gradient of 200 fpm it's moving along so I didn't get many pictures.

Pete charges around the corner

We finally came to the largest ledges on the run and worth a scout. Pete and Tyree shouldered their boats while I studied the line. I ran both ledges without a problem, but the bottom one is notorious for separating paddlers from their boats, especially at higher flows.

The first ledge

The second ledge

From here on out, we cruised down boat scouting everything until the final series of drops above the confluence with the Clackamas. Pete and Tyree shouldered the boats again while I fire it off. It wasn't the prettiest line, but it worked.

This was a great run and my favorite in the Clackamas River system. We didn't have any wood portages and only minor wood issues to avoid.


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