Wednesday, December 22, 2004

This Blog has moved to MSN Spaces...

The last few river trip reports are only available on my MSN Spaces blog. Go check it out and leave feedback about preferred format.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Snoqualmie - Power House Flood Stage ~20,000 cfs

It has been raining hard for a few days and all the local rivers are flooding. So, instead of boating, the boys and I went exploring and took some pictures of the Snoqualime near Power House and the Snoqualime South Fork. We also stopped at the Snoqualime Falls overlook and got drenched. At 20K cfs, the outlook platform is in the spray zone, it's like being in a car wash.

On the way to the Power House take out. The river is at road level.

Bat Rocks half way through the Power House run. Not the rocks on the right are almost completely covered. From the rock and across most of the river was a HUGE standing surf wave... looked like a blast.

The South Fork was raging along to do as well at about 2500 cfs. This section is right above the foot bridge when houses start appearing on river right towards the end of the South Fork run.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Raft Trip: Snoqualmie - Plums Landing to Fall City ~1500 cfs

Today was the first day out on the new raft. I spent most of the day and night Saturday building the frame described below and today we decided to go for a float. The boys loved it. We packed up the mini-van and took my car for shuttle. No major hiccups though I an important piece of the 12-volt air pump somewhere in the grill area of the mini-van. :-( This made pumping up the raft to the correct pressure somewhat difficult. Regardless, the trip was fun. We had 1 class II rapid that we took backwards so that the boys and mommy were sure to stay dry. We saw an Osprey and some other wild life. One thing about a self-bailer, they are very heavy. My back still hurts tonight after lots of wine and Advil. Amy took her turn at the oars for the last half of the trip and did an excellent job... no oar rights and no pins. Most folks have a tough time figuring out how to use just straight oar locks... keeping the blades straight and such. Thomas sat in my lap while Amy was at the oars and looked through the binoculars. The favorite part of the trip for the boys was the big waves in the class II rapids. That makes daddy happy. :-)

Saturday, November 20, 2004

How to Build a Whitewater Raft Frame

You can use the following plans for free. All I ask is that you leave a comment letting me know that you are using the plans. Or email

While saving money for a custom built aluminum expedition frame I needed a frame I could use for day trips on the local rivers. NRS has Skidgraud Raft Frame for use with their smaller boats. I needed something for my 13.5' NRS E135 self bailer.

Here is how I built on link the NRS frame.

2 NRS Steel Oarlock Stands - $44.95
1 sheet 3/4" sanded plywood (seats) - $34.00
2 6' 1x8 sanded poplar or oak (frame - I used Poplar, cheaper and lighter) - $12.00
1 small can of Shellac
1 small bag of play sand (used to sprinkle of Shellac for non skid surface)
1 brush for Shellac
8 3/8" width 1-1/4" length bolts (bolting boards together)
8 3/8" width 1" length bolts (bolting Oarlock stands to frame)
8 3/8" width 1-1/4 length bolts
16 3/8" washers

4' of 6' wide outdoor carpet (glued under frame to protect boat)
1 small tub of carpet adhesive

Table saw (or have Home Depot cut plywood into 2 seat pieces)
Router (to round the edges of all boards)
Sand paper
Wood plane (if you need to shave wood after routing)
1-1/4" wood drill bit (to counter sink bolts in frame)
3/8" drill bit
eye glasses


1. From plywood cut the 2 seats. Mine measured 60" x 12". The seats should reach from center tube to center tube.
2. Cut your rails. I left mine at 6', no cutting.
3. Router the seat pieces top and bottom to create curved edgets
4. Router the rails, just the top is needed.
5. Sand the edges of all boards
6. Shellac all the boards. Sprinkle sand on the tops of the boards when the Shellac is freshly wet. I found some mesh material in the garage that helped me even sift the sand on to the boards.
7. According to the Shellac instructions, apply a second and third coat. Your sand will now be securly held to the boards.
8. After Shellac has dried, lay out the frame. The seats go down first, the rails on top. Drill two off-set holes in each junction where the boards meet. Start with the 1-1/4" bit for the first 1/4" or so then finish by going completely through the boards with the 3/8" bit. This will give you your counter sink for the top of the frame.
9. Now you need to counter sink the bottom of the frame for all holes. This was trickier. My method was to find a 1x4" scrap piece of wood and drill a hole all the through it with the 1-1/4" bit, makign a jig. Then I took each board of the frame, turned it over and placed the jig over the holes I made in step 8 and clamped the jig to the frame piece. I then used the 1-1/4" bit to counter sink 1/4" deep into the bottom of the plywood seats.
10. Lay out the frame again and make sure you have the holes lined up before proceeding. It is time to put the boards together permanently. Glue both surfaces and then bolt all boards together. Use washers on both sides of the wood to give strength and avoid ripping bolt or nut through the frame. Tighten and let sit for night. Maybe throw on another coating of shellac. Consider using caulking to fill in and around bolt heads and nuts.
11. Glue carpet strips everywhere under the frame to protect your boat.
12. Attach the oarlock towers using the 3/8" 1" bolts (more on this later)
13. Drill 1-1/2" or 2" holes in corners for straps to attach frame to boat.
14. Go boating!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Weekends booked for the next 15 years

2001 NRS E-135 Self Bailing Raft. Length 13'6" Width 6'5" Tube 19.5" Three removeable thwarts.

I have been looking for a used raft for the past 5-8 years. I have patiently saved, analyzed, shopped, searched and gone crazy each year when I fall short of budget or in finding the ultimate deal. Today, the stars have aligned and I won my wife's approval in purchasing the raft in the picture above. This raft (no name yet) has lived its life taking customers down the Poudre River in Fort Collins, CO for the past 3 years. I am buying the raft from the owner of who happens to know Richard Bangs that sits across the hall from me at work (it is a small world).

As far as purchases of material things, this ranks up with the highest of things I have been excited about. It is the vehicle for showing my family and friends the world of the outdoors through a perspective few get to have. I ran my first whitewater adventure as an early teen with my best friend down the Santiam in a rubber G.I. Joe style raft. My friend fell out and had a thrilling swim (we had no life jackets). In college, I spent as much as time as I could leading trips down the Snake and Grand Ronde (we were smart enough to wear life jackets by then). In the summers, I worked as a Guide for O.R.E. on the Rouge, Salmon and Deschutes (life jackets required now). For graduation from college, my parents asked me what I wanted for a gift. My response was a $300 deal of a lifetime, a dory trip down the Grand Canyon to Phantom Ranch. It was March. The hike out of the Canyon started with a 90lb+ wet North Face Snow Leopard backpack in 100 degree heat with the last 2 miles of the hike in deep snow. It took over 10 hours to reach the rim and it was excruciating. I loved every minute of it. Since then, I have returned the Canyon 2 times (with another best friend) and I have been an avid kayaker and currently goal myself with once or twice a week trips to Snoqualmie or the Skykomish.

Running rivers is where I renew my energy. It is a world of thrill and adventure, constant time and cyclical change, diverse life, peace, and a truly awe inspiring connection with the universe. Whether a 2 hour or a 2 week trip, I always leave feeling balanced and appreciative of what being a human is all about. I can’t wait start running rivers with the boys and watch what they take away from it and contribute back over their lives.

The first trip will most likely be on the Skagit in December to watch the Bald Eagles feed. You are welcome to join us for the christening.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Snoqualmie - Middle Middle Fork - ~960

Snoqualmie Middle Middle- Snoqualmie, Middle Fork
Flow: ~960 cfs
Class: III-IV
Boaters: Jim C., Steve W. and Travis

A little bumpy at this level but House Rock wave is probably the most thrilling at this level that I have seen. The wave is a perfect big step wave though it is fairly narrow so folks with long boats will pulled into some mystery moves. :-)

Got to use the new put-in trail at Island drop today, very nice. Though all the wood that was cleared was replaced by a bunch of new wood. :-) So, it's a scramble to get to the nice beach for launching. Nothing exciting in the first few play spots so down we went in search of something to play in. The first pseudo drop was quite bumpy (the theme for the trip) and we found some waves for surfing on the way to the first big eddy by the wire(s) that span the river. The next drop ususally has a nice wave of far left bank under the hanging trees.... forget about it. Usually there are some good waves midway through this drop ... I missed them. A-frame drop is fun at this level. Enter far far river right or you'll get beached. A-frame drop has an excellent wave train at the end of the drop. The first wave looks quite surfable but you'd need to get in on the fly as there is no way to get it from the eddy. Apparently yesterday there was a good surf wave that you could get from the bottom eddy ... the water was up around 1200 yesterday.

The next boulder garden is pretty easy, just keep your eyes peeled. About 3/4 of the way through the garden you'll need to take a center channel to river right chute through a rock fence, fairly easy to see if you are river center.

Cookie monster is easy to skirt right or left at this level, we went river right.

Entering into upper House Rock rapid you'll need to thread between the two pour overs in a river left to river right move. Then head river left for your eddy above the river right ledge marking the beginning of boulder drop. The ledge is boofable at this level though be warned that there are rocks exposed. The landing is clear but you'll have a rock to contend with immediately. To boof, just line up from the eddy above the ledge (river right) and hit the pillow on the ledge. Or, peel out of the river righ eddy and go river left channel so the ledge passes on your right.

House Rock is fairly straight forward. Just thread the two pour over (usually holes) and just be aware that you'll be hitting shallow rocks (tips up!). Peel out of the river left eddy high and ferry across a few strokes so that you'll be lined up to thread the pour overs exactly in the middle. If you don't get center enough, you'll be sucked behind the river left pour over, no big deal, just brace time.

The wave at House Rock rules at this level!

Lower House Rock has the wood clearly exposed on the last big rock. The move is from river left eddy (behind the big split rocks below main House Rock) to river right eddy behind the last big rock on river right which is near parallel to the big rock in center channel with the giant piece of wood pinned on it. Do not swim here at this level, water rushes under this wood. The move is straight forward, just paddle down from river left to river right and be aware of two small hole / pour over features that may grab you on the way down. They are easy to dodge or you can bust through them.

We did not bother running the poop chute at this level, Jim said that they checked yesterday and it was dry. So, it's a bumpy ride down the left side of poop chute (far river left). Be cautious here, I about go pinned sideways in the shallow fast water. I looked upstream and saw that Jim got pinned sideways for a bit. Keep your boat straight. The last drop before the slalom course has the dreaded holes river right where I dislocated my shoulder a couple of years ago. I head down river right and then cut river left right above these waves.

The rest of the run is simply bumpy.

We were on the water today by 11AM (the first folks?) and were rewarded with a big heron and a coyote. :-)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Snoqualmie - Middle Middle Fork - ~2600

Snoqualmie Middle Middle- Snoqualmie, Middle Fork
Flow: ~2200 cfs
Class: III-IV
Boaters: Helen and Travis

It's been over a month since I've been on the river and so I was thrilled to have a weekend blessed with some rain causing a local favorite river to swell. You can see in the graph below we caught the peak on Sunday as did lots of other boaters we saw at the Tanner Road takeout.

There is a lovely new trail at the Island Drop put in, though I didn't realize it until after the trip running shuttle. The new trail takes you down to the big eddy below island drop and has room to launch at least 10 boats at the same time.

I love the Middle Middle at around 2500, there are lots of surf waves and tall wave trains to have fun. However, there are a number of sticky holes at this level too that you have to watch out for... Helen met one of them at the entrance to House Rocks. She was a real trooper though and hung out in her boat upside down for an eternity before rolling up successfully. A rescue at this level in the middle of House Rocks rapid would not have been easy or safe.

Things to watch for at 2500.
- The first surfwave below Island Drop / Put-in is awesome
- Play waves on river right about 5 mins down river are also plenty
- 15 mins into the trip you'll come to a large eddy on river right. The surf wave on river left under the hanging branch at the top of the drop is good. If you can stop half way through the drop on some of the large standing waves in the wave train you'll find some thrilling surfing.
- The boulder gardens on your way to A-frame have plenty of things to keep you busy
- A-frame drop at this level is fast. The eddy on river right folks take before the big drop is a small and tricky to catch. Helen and I opted to ferry from this eddy across the current and above and left all of the big rocks. This left us with a left to right move after clearing the last big rock before the main big drop to avoid the pour-over just left of center in the drop.
- The boulder garden below A-frame at this level has lots of mean pour-overs. Helen and I stayed pretty much left of center down through this section.
- Cookie Monster is big at 2600. We made sure to go left.
- The boulder garden above Upper House Rocks has some HUGE pour overs. Helen and I skirted between them and then eddied out on river left in the typical stop before running Upper House Rocks.
- At this level, you need to get in the main current that wants to pull you into the nasty ledge drop in Upper House Rocks. Before running the ledge and before getting pulled into the standing / crashing wave next to and above the ledge you'll want to pull left hard to above getting thrashed in the ledge.
- Shortly after this section is where Helen got grabbed by the hole on the left, she cut it too close and got grabbed and flipped. She was able to roll up after a long wait which was good for both of us. We then caught the river left eddy above the main House Rock and contemplated our route. We took the chicken route to the left of House Rock as there was lots of water going over the rocks and we did not need any more excited than the river was already giving us. However, Helen got a bit sideways brushing into the shallow rocks which, from my angle below, looked like prime pinning opportunity... so... stay straight.
- Lower House Rocks at this level is always a thrill. We contemplated going left of the lower House Rock (the one with wood on it) but we stuck to the tried and true route of just pulling left to right from the big eddy on river left that feeds into this last drop of House Rock rapid. The standing wave train is huge. Your goal is to hit eddy on river right that is next to the lower House Rock. You take a straight line between eddies.
- The only concern left below House Rock was poop-chute and the gates hole. The gates hole is the one that dislocated my shoulder at the beginning of last season and is at the bottom of the drop that begins with the poop-chute. I always stay river left of the gates hole. However, I always forget that at high levels you can flush through easily so at 2600 you can actually run it just fine. It's at the lower levels that you can get crashed. Poop chute above 2500 is not for the timid. You can go left of the poop chute just fine, it'll be a bit bumpy. Do not go right of the poop chute, I've been trashed in that route and was lucky to come out with no bloody... though plenty of bruises and gouches to the helmet and dry-top.
- The final section to take out is nice as all the rocks you typically have to dodge are covered in water. However, if you get sideways it is easy for one of the submerged beasts to grab your edge and flip you. The final drop under the power lines that cross the river is fun, just crash your way through the big waves. I haven't boofed off the river left fan at this level but it looks doable with enough speed.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Tieton River Trip Report - ~2200 cfs

Run: Tieton - Rimrock Reservoir to Windy Point Campground (Upper)
Flow: ~2200 cfs
Class: III+
Boaters: Jeff, Mark, Butch, Steve, Helen, Travis, Franklin.

What a blast! We left Seattle around 6AM so we could meet Jeff and Mark in Enumclaw at 7AM. The drive over the pass was amazing, the valleys surrounding Rainer were filled with mist and fog. The drive through the forests was wet. On the other side of White Pass we emerged into blue skies with white clouds.

Put-in: Our first attempt at put-in was where a number of cars were parking around the River Rider buses. One of the River Rider guides urged us to move up the road to the 'easy' put in due to the fact that his clients were needing the parking space. River Rider's have sort of claimed the ideal put in for themselves. Because we are nice friendly kaykers we moved up the road and found the sketchy death march down the hill to the river.

However, once you get down the bank, you are blessed with the best put-in on the Tieton. It's a small creek that dams up before entering the Tieton. There is enough room to get 10 boaters in the calm stream water before peeling out into the tornado.

Off we launched into a very fast river. It did not slow down in pace for 2 hours, dropping at 55 feet per mile. It was mostly Class II+ - Class III water and some would label it higher due to difficult rescue. Starting from the put-in, we took the right channel around the first island. On the second run (we ran the same section twice) we took the left channel (next picture below) which was narrower but much more thrilling. You'll find a professional photographer (gal) leaning from the bank out over the water taking your picture while you tumble over big rollers. She is held in with harness and rock climbing gear to a tree which is kind of amusing if you are not expecting it.

The river channels got very narrow at times. This is the left channel around the first island below the put-in.

This is one eddy of only a handful in the run. They are hard to spot so you'll need to stay on your toes.

This is what it is like when you miss one of the precious eddys. Your only hope to stop is to jump into the bushes and trees and hug a branch.

With so few eddys, you'll be sharing with the commercial rafts. For our first run, we actually had the river to ourselves (get on the river by 9AM if you'd like to avoid the crowds). However, we made the mistake of taking a break at this spot and a bunch of rafts came into the eddy and literally trapped us in. We had to part the rafts and squeeze out. They unfortunately followed us out of the eddy making the next few channels a bit nerve racking as stories tell of piled up rafts clogging chutes and channels and creating significant hazards.

Another shot of the river. The river is fast. The water is warm from being in Rimrock Resevoir. The sky is bright blue in September and the air temperature should be nice and warm. However, we had a cold front come through and so most of us were a bit chilled... especially between runs.

The main hazard on this run is the dam. Approaching the dam you'll be faced with a few channels in the river. Take the far river right channel or you will be faced with trees spanning the entire channel, swift water and no eddys. Take the right channel. At least that is the channel of choice last weekend. You should always chat with the outfitters about wood. They are more than happy to share and they run the river 2-3 times a day so they have fresh data. Back to the dam. The right channel unfortunately puts you on the wrong side of the dam. So... once the channels converge back into one river right above the dam, you must ferry across to river left. This is a bit tricky given the eddys formed behind the islands and the fast water rushing through the chutes. Moon the current. Run the damn on river-left, about 5-10 feet off the river-left bank. At 2200 you just need good speed so paddle hard. On our second run, the water had dropped significantly and I didn't much like the drop over the dam as there was a standing wave about 3-4 feet high that you had to paddle very hard through that knocked you around a bit. Some folks looked like they got sideways and sidesurfed the dam a few seconds.... scary.

There are few playspots on the river but the best one is called 'surf wave' which is under the bridge at Trout Lodge. You can't miss it. Eddy out on river right after passing under the bridge and jump on the wave. Check out the picture below. It's a great wave. However, you'll need to watch for rafts running over you... they can't stop. You'll want some folks on the bridge telling you if upriver is clear so you don't waste your surf.

Surf wave: If you come off of the surf wave you will need to paddle hard to river-left bank and then fight your way back up the current and into the eddy. After a few times of this... you'll have a nice workout. :-)

We had so much fun some of us ran it again. I got tired so I pulled out at surf wave with Helen and Franklin while Mark and Jeff completed the second run. Steve and Butch had put on dry clothes at lunch between the runs which wasn't conducive to a second run given the chill factor and dread of putting on wet gear.

Complete photo album of the trip at

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Join us on the Tieton this Sunday!

Just in... pics of this weekend's Tieton trip! The really nice looking photos are Franklins from his digital - thanks Franklin! Trip report to come later.

Thompson looks too high still so we are headed to the Tieton for early Sunday boating. Commerical rafts will make this run a zoo so that's the reason of an early start. Dropping an average of 55 feet per mile, some claim the Tieton as the “fastest” whitewater in Washington State.

A view downstream of the Tieton. Note the banks are pretty much shrubs and Trees at water level. Eddy out means 'go hug a tree'. Good news is that there are lots of boats available for rescue if you have to swim. :-)

Current Roster: Sybille, Helen, Steve S. Butch, Travis, Jeff H,
Water Levels:

How to get there and where to meet:
Tieton flows out of Rimrock Resevoir. White Pass, WA is the closest town. It's about 112 miles from Redmond, WA to White Pass so count on 2 or 2.5 hours of driving. We may meet Jeff in Enumclaw, Safeway Parking lot at 7AM which is along the way and about 1.5 hours from White Pass. If you want to camp, Windy Point campground is 10 mins from the Tieton run. In short, we should leave Redmond area around 6AM Sunday morning which puts us in Enumclaw a bit before 7AM. Directions from Redmond.

More info:

There are 2 runs on the Tieton. - We will definitely do this run. - We may extend our day and do this more mellow run too which follows the first run. Or we may just do the first run twice. :-)

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Skykomish - Cable Drop to Split Rock - 1400 cfs

Run: Skykomish - Cable Drop to Split RockLevel - 1400 cfs
Boaters: Sybille, Heather, Dave, Bill, Travis

Beatufiul morning run. Met everyone at Split Rock at about 8AM so we could beat the returning Labor Day traffic back to home. Cable Drop did not look runnable on the right at this level so we took river left route. We took airplane turn at Boulder Drop, I took lots of pictures that I'll post tomorrow. To take Boulder Drop at this level enter the first move by hugging the right bank. There is a narrow slot, just drift up to it slowly and you'll see a 3-5 foot wide slot to put your boat through right on the right bank. Then you'll drop through a couple of small drops, stay left of the first rock you see and then either right or left of the second rock. I stayed left of both. Then jump into the large river-right eddy.

Entrance to Boulder Drop at ~1400 cfs. Hug the right bank as close as is possible and you won't miss the chute. Once in the chute, go left of next two rocks and then eddy out right in big pool.

Now that you are in the 1st eddy, this is where you look at airplane turn entrance. Leaving the eddy you want to be high as the current is strong and will want to flush you into the picket fence... you won't want to be pushed into the Needle, Ned's Needle or Chris' Crack so make sure to eddy out high in the eddy and keep a good upstream ferry. Once you are across the current and about to head into the calm water / eddy on the other side just relax with your bow facing upstream. You'll be drifting down river backwards and your goal is to keep your bow pointed upstream until you start entering the turn.

Here is a downstream view of the first drop in Boulder Drop. Passing two rocks on their left in this first drop (you only see the second one in this picture) you goal is the big eddy on river right. From the eddy, you ferry high across the current keeping your boat facing upstream as you drift backwards into Airplan Turn entrance

Are you finding this information valuable? If so, please click on the Google Ads to the right. It adds up fast and will help me buy a waterproof camera so I can take better photos to include in this blog. :-)

Dave ready to pull someone out of the fence. Not a bad idea to have someone set up as safety the first few times through Boulder Drop. I know someone how missed Air Plane turn this year and got flushed into Chris' Crack for their first experience down Boulder Drop.

At this point you'll be next to the big rock that marks the entrance of airplane turn, it is river-left but will be on your right since you are facing upstream. Keep your bow as close to this rock as you can, you'll need some forward paddle movement to keep your bow close. If you don't paddle enough you'll be pushed into Chris' Crack. Once you are on the downstream side of the big rock, you'll see an eddy on river-left. Take this eddy by simply paddling foward from your backwards, now near sideways, drift into the first turn in airplane turn.

This view is from the first eddy looking across the current to river left and the entrance of airplane turn. As shown in the last picture, you want to ferry across the river as high as possible. The current will start pulling you towards the fence (Needle, Ned's Needle) which is to the right (downstream) and not shown in this picture. In this picture you can see the big rock that you'll be drifting by with your nose pointed upstream. Once you are at the downstream edge of this rock, you'll want to keep your bow pointed at it as the current sweeps you into airplane turn around the big rock. This will leave you in a position to paddle forward into your next eddy which is on the other side of the big rock in this picture.

Here is another another view into Airplane Turn. From left to right you are drifting past the big rock mentioned and shown in the picture above and with this picture you can see that the river takes a hard left around the big rock and there is an eddy you want to jump into before considering your 3rd move in Boulder Drop. The last arrow shows you beginning the 3rd move by coming out of the eddy and into the current to bounce right of the pour over you can't see in this picture.

From the eddy look downstream at your next move. You have two options coming out of the eddy. Either ride the eddy line down and bounce to the right off of the pillow over the pour-over or paddle a little ways into the current and take the ride down. Either way you are going to need some good bracing. Immediately eddy out on river left and contemplate the drop betweeen the two house rocks.

In this view we are looking upstream at the eddy in the middle of Airplane Turn. The big rock you drifted backwards by would be to the left of this picture. You can see the kayaker (Sybille) in the eddy contemplating the next move which is to stay right of the pour-overs at the bottom of this eddy but not so far right that you get munched in some holes. Once you've committed to the drop, your goal is to catch your 3rd and final eddy which is just downstream of this picture on the river-left bank.

Hangin' out in eddy #3 just below airplane turn. From here you can look down at the drop between the house rocks. Trust me that you want to stay left through the drop... if you are middle to right you will hit a nasty submerged rock at the bottom of the drop. It will stop your boat and it will hurt. Next picture shows Sybille taking the drop between the house rocks.

You'll want to stay very much left through the house rocks or you'll drill a rock at the bottom of the drop that will hurt. You can't see this rock from above so just remember that it is there.

Sybille punching through a blip before dropping between the house rocks marking the end of Boulder Drop. Note she is far left. That is because she is smart and knows that at this level she will break her feet if she is too far right as there is a submerged rock at the bottom of the drop. Also, nice big hole in the middle I think... so stay left.

You're done with Boulder Drop at this point.
Next is the Weir, or the Ledge. At this level, there is a chute that is just left of river center. Line up to take this chute right to left or you will get munched by the hole at the bottom of the chute. I watched Bill go to the right of the hole which was a surprise - I'm not sure how he did it. Every one else went to the left of the hole.
The rest is pretty much cake. Aquagasm is fun. Lunch Hole is easy... just take the main channel down and stay a bit left of the Lunch Hole which is river left. Bill dislocated his left shoulder today at Lunch Hole. He high braced and got into shallow water on river right of Lunch Hole. Pulling him out of the water, Dave put him over a big rock and put a small boulder in his hand. Pulling down on his hand slightly and the shoulder popped back into socket. Ouch!

Dave fixing Bill's dislocated shoulder. The technique used here is to lay the injured person over a big boulder face down and have them hang their dislocated arm down. Put a small boulder in their hand as you tell them to relax the arm. You may need to give very slight downward pressure to the arm if the small boulder isn't heavy enough. The shoulder should go back into place. It has worked for Bill twice in the two years. :-)

A much relieved Bill shown here in yellow now that his shoulder is back in place. Back to rehab... sorry Bill. :-(

We hiked Bill and his kayak out to the road and Heather stayed with him. The rest of us went to take out with a small stop at the great wave above Split Rock. At this level, this wave is tricky to get into and tricky to stay in but it's lots of fun.

Complete online photo album of this trip.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

White Salmon - Adams and Farmlands Section

Water Level: ?
Boaters: Travis, Steve; Ryan; Susan; Helen, Sybille, Steve E
More pics: Online Photo Album of the White Salmon Trip

Wow. This was my first creek boating experience. Would have been much more fun if I wasn't in a 50 gallon play boat... I spent a bunch of time probing the river bottom.

There are too many small to mid-size water falls to count on this run. I was exhausted after the 8 hours of intense boating and the hell take out (ropes and climbing).

Bonked my head pretty good... head hurt for a few days following. I stern squirted into a back flip in one of the big drops and then decided to wait for my roll after the next drop.... dumb idea. Saftey folks heard my helmet thud on river bottom from up river over the river noise... hard hit to the head.

Must be a confident class III+ boater for this run. You'll need crux rolls and you'll be in some very dangerous spots. Lots of undercuts and some signficantly scary wood. After a portage, Steve E pushed me back into a fast section and I got splatted onto an undercut wall.... it was everything I could do to keep in the boat and not get stuff under the undercut.

In one place, there is a VERY sticky hole. You can stand 2 feet from the hole and watch your friends run it and then get laundered. I watched two people get fished out (Sybille and Ryan). It was like watching a maytag machine... flip, flip, flip, flip, flip.... grab rope... flip, flip, flip, flip... pull skirt... flip, flip, flip, flip... swim out. Watch boat go flip, flip, flip, flip. Needless to say, it was a perfect keeper.

Fun... but I wish I would have had at least 2 or 3 extra empty milk gallon jugs to tie to my boat. Steve E was in an 80 gallon creek boat which looked like a considerably different experience.

A few photos from this day...

Just below the put in.

Getting close to take-out.

Getting close to take out on farm lands run. Do not get caught in river left hottub whirlpool.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

White Salmon - BZ Section

Water Level: ?
Boaters... Steve S., Steve E., Helen, Sybille, Ryan, Susan
More pics: Online Photo Album of the White Salmon Trip

Also... from the professional photographers: (You must choose 'Whitewater Photos', 'White Salmon' river', 'July 10', 'Private Raft and Kayakers'. We are on pages 7 and 8... I'm the purple boat... Steve the yellow.

Kayaker taking on Husum Falls.

Way fun... ran Husum Falls. My first falls. Got addicted so went further up the White Salmon the next day and ran Mt. Adams and Farmlands Section.

Kayaker taking on Husum Falls.

Husom Falls Sequence - Probing for the bottom of the river. Posted by Hello

Husom Falls Sequence - Running the Falls Posted by Hello

Husom Falls Sequence - Preparing for the Dive Posted by Hello

Husom Falls Sequence (raft is completely submerged in 4th shot) Posted by Hello

Monday, July 05, 2004

Skykomish - Boulder Run at ~1800 cfs

Bumpy run... more of a story later.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Snoqualmie - Middle Middle Fork - low

story to come later...

Current flows and more about the Middle Middle run from American Whitewater.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Skykomish - Boulder Drop at ~5,000 cfs

More of a story to post here later.... Needle at this level is fun. House Rock has huge waves.

I made a sketch of Boulder Run based on some photos I found online. Entrance goes like this at ~5K. When scouting you'll see a huge pour-over in the entrance drop.... it's really big. Your goal is to go from river right to river left and wind up underneath the pour-over in the slack water. Then get oriented and look at the fence. I jumped in the big eddy on river right above the fence to get my orientation... it's the eddy in front of you when scouting from river right on the bank. I took the needle route today which was pretty straight forward... big... but straight forward. Just run between the two dry rocks you see on the horizon once you have gone through the entrance to House Rock. Then hold on for dear life as the huge wave train tosses you around and takes you to the left of House Rock.

More about the entire run...

Travis’ River Notes: Boulder Drop
**Taken from North, Bennett, and personal experience. Use at your own risk.

Put In: Sunset Falls

First Wave: The first rapid on the river is a short series of ledges ending with one of the favorite surfing waves on the run. Pull out on river right to line up for First Wave.

boulder garden (ending in meaty hole left of center): The next rapid is a straightforward boulder garden ending with a sometimes meaty hole just to the left of center. You can hop in for a wild ride, but at most levels it's not for the timid. The river passes through another boulder garden before reaching Powerline.

Cable Drop (stay left or right) (Powerline Rapid): Powerlines overhead and a horizon line mark the entrance to Powerline Rapid (otherwise known as Cable Drop). Good lines can be found down river left or river right. At most levels you can find some good surfing in this rapid and this has been the site of the SkyFest freestyle through a rapid competition. Continuing down on river left you pass through a boulder garden with a nice ender spot at some levels, and then on under the highway 2 bridge to the confluence with the North Fork of the Skykomish.

Anderson Hole (run right): The river winds through another couple rapids before turning back towards the road near the outlet of Anderson Creek. Here on river left one can find Anderson Hole for some fun surfing. Boulder Drop lurks just downstream (within site of Anderson Hole) and is easily recognized by the large mid-channel boulders.

Boulder Drop (Center, hard left, center, left of house rock, left of ledge wave):
Take Airplane turn if first time down. It’s a hard ferry left. Road marker mile 34 for a good view.

Ledge Drop (aka Weir or MarbleShoot) (run left, take tongue left of center): At big water (8300 K) lots of pushy waves. Go right of center boulder, pour over. At high water, this is a ‘no beginners’ area. Little room for rescue, must be a strong paddler. Expect lots of unplanned stern squirts and flips.

Bonsai hole: (left or right?) – a mid channel hole after hard right in river following Ledge Drop. Another hard right and the river drops into a couple of nasty holes at Lunch Hole.

Lunch Hole (stay right): The main current heads towards a rock wall along the left bank. Lunch Hole sits along the left bank and has been known to grab unsuspecting paddlers. It can be easily avoided on the right or for those wanting a more intimate look you can catch the small eddy on river left above it and ride the narrow tongue alongside it.

Aquagasm: Class III rapid

Last Wave at Split Rock: The next fun spot on the river is Last Wave at Split Rock. Kayakers line up in the large eddy behind a big boulder on river left to take turns surfing this beautiful wave. At big water (8300K) go left of center at big dry rock river left. Go left of rock. River pulls you into rock.

Railroad Bridge Rapid (far left): At big water, go left then into big wave train river center. Good glassy waves to surf..

Next wave (center)? Center.

Fisherman’s (stay right at big water, river pull left into holes)

Pyramid Rock (right of big rock): At big water (8300K) go right of big wave that is right of Pyramid rock. After the wave is a nasty HUGE hole.

Take out drop (left channel):

Quick Notes (Boulder Drop):
First Wave:
Boulder Garden ending in meaty hole left of center
Cable Drop stay left or right
Anderson Hole run right
Boulder Drop Center, left, left of center
Ledge Drop run left
Bonsai Hole hole is mid-channel
Lunch Hole stay right
Last Wave at Split Rock
Railroad Bridge any, or left.
Next wave? center
Fisherman’s stay right
Pyramid rock? stay well right of rock

If you want the details on this run, Bennet and North have great write-ups in their books:

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Snoqualmie - Middle Middle Fork - 1280 cfs

  • Little bumpy but fun
  • House Rock wave is great at this level
  • Lower House Rock has big waves
  • Put-in play area below island rock is fun. Cartwheel hole is good the surfwave below is ok
  • Left bank wave under tree early in trip washed out the the center channel just below is a really nice wave
  • Boof ledge.. you can boof the river-right big ledge on river right by running the buldge (pour over) right of the indicator rock. Remember that the indicator rocks says don't run if it's covered with water.
  • Cookie monster is big at this level
  • The hole above the slalom gates is big... stay river left of it when coming out of the whitewater below poop chute

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Snoqualmie - Middle Middle Fork - 2400 cfs

  • Excellent level
  • Cartwheel hole (first feature after Island Drop on river left) is excellent at this level. Got my first 4 point cartwheel today.
  • The 3rd drop after island drop has the awesome surf wave on river left under the over-hanging trees. It is most excellent at this level.
  • Cookie monster is very much present at this level. It's about a 20 foot wide hole river center-left. Go right or left.
  • House rock surf wave not too good at this level... almost a hole it seems.
  • Poop chute is a bit big at this level. Consider going left of the poop chute. Do not go immediately right of the poop chute. Not sure what the right channel around the island looks like.
  • The hole just above the slalom gates (at the end of the drop following the poop chute) is a possible flush at this level though I'd still stay left. Hard pull right to left above the hole and you'll do fine.
  • After the slalom gates, there is a great cartwheel spot river left in amongst the boulders before the last drop into the take out
  • Great boofing at the end of the run river left. You boof and then paddle left for the take out.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Snoqualmie - Middle Middle Fork - 3500 cfs

  • we put in at concrete bridge today
  • Island Drop - take the right channel around the island, then stay far left
  • Cartwheel hole below Island Drop was really big... I stayed away from it... Sybille ran it and did a back flip and got her paddle ripped from her
  • A-Frame rapid was fun... big waves
  • House Rock pretty easy at this level... go left or right...
  • Poop Chute trashed James... he went high... almost a splat... on lower face in the chute and then got flipped and stuffed at bottom of the chute....
  • After watching James... I ran right of Poop Chute and got flipped followed by a pretty hard beating upside down in the shallows.... I plan to never go right here at this level again..... go left of the chute...

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Snoqualmie - Middle Middle Fork - 1600 cfs

  • put in waves below Island Drop are good
  • lots of playable waves, holdes and pour-over fun all the way through to take out
  • House Rock move of choice today was to punch through between the two pour-overs above house rock.... easy move
  • House Rock surf wave pretty good today
  • Cookie monster is below A-frame and above House Rock entrance... it is a big hole bottom of a drop, river left
  • Good play waves below poop chute....
  • Above the slalom gates are some big waves leading into keeper hole river right at the bottom of the drop. This is the hole that dislocated my shoulder last year so I'm always weary of it... stay left. Move is right to left.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Snoqualmie - South Fork - 1100 cfs

Awesome at this level! Love this run!

Friday, May 14, 2004

Snoqualmie - Middle Middle Fork - 1050 cfs


  • River right.
  • Catch Eddies
  • Go above or below big rock and move river left.
  • Catch eddie behind big rock, go either side.
  • Head straight down. Watch for pour over at low level about a few hundred feet into the drop on right.

Stretch of flat

James favorite boulder garden (hole at bottom?)

Stretch of flat

Another boulder garden (hole at bottom?)

Start of upper house rocks, ledge on right (hole at bottom?)

House Rocks

  • At this level, split the two holes, easy. Or try far right but watch pour over below and right of the two holes. Left route probably really rocky.

Lower house rocks. Bumpy ride, some holey looking stuff to punch through.

Watch for hole at top of slalom race course. Stay far right or left.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Wenatchee River Weekend

story to follow...

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Skykomish - Boulder Run to Big Eddy at ~8300 cfs

  • Very pushy run, only solid class III boaters with very strong roll and stamina to take the repeated unplanned stern squirts and flips. This run exhausted me and I had little time to watch for other boaters as my eyes were constantly reading the water in front of me. Little room for rescues, river is running fast from bank to bank.
  • Ledge Drop - take the tongue left of center. The brace for lots of pushy big stuff. Go right of center boulder / pour-over.
  • Split Rock - Go left of center at big dry rock river left. Go left of rock. River pulls you into rock.
  • Railroad Bridge - Run left. Big wave train center follows. Good glassy waves to surf.
  • Next rapid (name?). Stay center.
  • Fisherman's Drop (see sketch below) - There are two large holes mid rapid on river left. River pulls you from right to left into these big holes so best to scout at this level and pick your land / water marks. I entered center staying just left of some small holes / features on river right. The I pulled right hard to avoid the two big holes.... at lower levels you can go between these two holes safely. After the two holes it gets worse. You must hug the far right river bank... go as if you are picking leaves / grass off the right river bank. There are nasty pour-overs river right that you must go right of. River left is a huge big nasty hole that marks the end of Fisherman's drop.

  • Boulder Garden - pick your way through this
  • Pyramid Rock (rapid name?) - Stay well right of the pyramid shaped rock. You may be tempted to ride a big, huge wave to the right of the rock... it's huge. What you don't see is the big, huge, super nasty hole that the big huge wave feeds into. So... go right of the pyramid rock and right of the big wave / big hole.
  • Take out drop before Big Eddy - Go left channel. Big fun wave train all the way to take out.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Skagit River - Winter Eagle Watching

Winter kayaking and Bald Eagle watching on the Skagit Posted by Hello