Whitewater Trips & Pics

  • After working as a Middle Fork Salmon, Idaho raft guide in 1972, I decided Kayaking must be cool & ordered a kayak kit, which consisted of two halves of a kayak, a seat, some fiberglass tape, & glue. After doing a bad job of putting it together, without instruction, I tried white-water kayaking.

    Happily, I didn't drown, but I concluded I didn't think & react fast enough, to be a hot kayaker, & went back to climbing.

    20 years later, with Heidi, whitewater rafting, as a replacement for alpine climbing, was a fun adventure. Especially, multi-day trips.

    Especially when the popular Middle Fork Salmon was clogged with a thunderstorm-caused logjam & we had to portage around it, the same day the Forest Service finally blew it up.

    7-22 middle fork salmon 027-small.jpg

    Looking downstream at the logjam. Some of those big Ponderosa Pines in it are 3' in diameter.
    7-22 middle fork salmon 020-logjam small.jpg

    Upstream view from above the logjam. The blown-out creek all the trees & gravel came from, is just around the corner.

    7-22 middle fork salmon 023-upstream from logjam small.jpg

    We arrived at the lake above the blowout the morning after it happened. There was a bench on the west side of the river just above the new lake, & that soon filled up with about 140 refugees, before the Forest Service shut down all traffic on the river. The Forest Service gave immediate attention to the logjam & comitted considerable resources to dealing with it, since the Assistant Sec. of Agriculture was "inspecting" the river when the logjam happened.

    Here's a view of the creek that "Blew-out" from our camp.
    7-22 middle fork salmon 055blowout small.jpg

    The lazy folks in our group did not want to portage all our heavy shit 1 1/2 miles downstream, from what was termed "the refugee camp", but by the morning of day 3 of being stranded, we were on the move. By mid-afternoon, we had all our gear except for Jerry's heavy self-bailer raft & some heavy coolers around the portage. Jerry had made 9 round-trips & most of the rest of us had made 7 or 8.

    Jerry & me with my raft frame, seats, & a table, hiking down the trail.
    7-23 jerry middle fork salmon 017-small.jpg

    Then the Rangers closed the trail & finally blew up the logjam.
    Logjam explosion Jerry Middle Fork 2006.jpg

    After the explosion, the river was still closed, while the river rangers pried open the remains of the logjam. Jerry & I discovered the big coolers, which weighed around 100 lbs could be carried slung on an oar between us, but the rocking motion they soon achieved would take us to our knees.

    Happily the horse-packer we had hiked down-canyon to hire showed up & hauled out our remaining heavy gear, after a mild stampede while loading nearly ruined the day. I had some packing experience & managed to hang on to the two mules I was holding, while trotting in a tight circle with them, when big packhorses with wild-eyes came thundering by. I was immediately promoted to "assistant wrangler" & had the joy of my horse stepping on me repeatedly while leading him down to our new camp.

    Ray  small packhorses 7-23 jerry middle fork salmon 019.jpg

    We somehow got all our stuff unloaded that evening & then mostly rigged our rafts, suffered a fitfull night's sleep due to all the stress & got back on the river before the rangers allowed any upstream boaters through the rapid the next morning.

    After that, things were better.

    Fritz & Heidi at Tappan Falls.
    7-23 jerry middle fork salmon 029-small.jpg

    Heiid! The hostess with the mostest on night nine of our adventure. The maxium trip allowed on that river is 7 nights, 8 days, but they made an exception for the logjam.

    7-22 middle fork salmon 119-Dorita small.jpg

    The logjam was a newsworthy event in Idaho & news teams flew into a nearby backcountry airstrip to cover it. My story about it got published in Idaho Magazine & our holiday card in 2006 used the event too.

    2006-2 inside.JPG

  • Good thing Heidi was along to give you some guidance.

    Least you could have done is take her to dinner.

  • River trips are fun. I have been safety boater (read token kayaker) on several.

    Raft traverse.jpg

    Sometimes you just need to get out of the boat.

    Dutch Ovens.jpg

    River trips are more about good eating and drinking than whitewater

  • @Scole Would I love to ogle a larger version of that first one. Impromptulicious! πŸ‘

    Indeed! πŸ•

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    They only let me pull the oars in the flat water with an upstream wind to fight. Those GC trips with all the great food and beverages are sometimes called Float and Bloat. πŸ˜‰

  • @toby said in Whitewater Trips & Pics:

    @Scole Would I love to ogle a larger version of that first one. Impromptulicious! πŸ‘

    Indeed! πŸ•

    I can do better than that

    Boulder traverse.jpg

    Boulder traverse 1.jpg


    Pics are from Desolation Canyon on the Green River. Not much white water, but some good eating and drinking. There may have been mushrooms involved as well.

  • @Scole said in Whitewater Trips & Pics:

    Not much white water, but some good eating and drinking. There may have been mushrooms involved as well.

    Hmmm. "Not much white water"??? As far as I can tell, looking at the photos, there was no "white" water whatsoever. Only brown water. Maybe the shrooms made you think it was white? Or maybe drinking it did something to your perception of what...

    And then there's the whole "why do they call it the Green River when it is so clearly the Brown River?

  • The Green is actually the main stem of the Colorado.

    It does sometimes look green.

    As I recall Deso has one class3 and a bunch of riffles.

    I like where the Green goes through the Labyrinth, 40 miles of Wingate sandstone.

  • @Toker-V! I rafted Desolation & Grey's Canyon down to Green River Utah in May 1994.

    I agree with your assertion: "As I recall Deso has one class3 and a bunch of riffles."

    Unfortunately, we had been floating along with a small herd of drowned & bloated cows for a few miles above the Class 3. We passed them, as they swilred in an eddy just before the rapid, but they caught us as we started into it. Of course, rafts usually manuever in white-water by back-rowing at an angle to the river, but with the cows closing, I pushed on my oars through the rapid, & avoided bloated-cow to raft contact. Less skilled rafters in our group were not as blessed.

  • @FritzRay now that's a different kind of float and bloat. πŸ’©

  • @FritzRay Jeez dude, the only dead things we used to encounter were the fish that leaped out of the water and into our frying pans in the fire.

    Okay, they weren't dead when they leaped, but it wasn't long until they were dinner.

  • Alfalfa & David! I usually more appreciate the terrors of big rapids, but the herd of dead bloated cows that chased us down the Green River, hold a special place in my river nightmares.

    They are right up there with my 1999 row through the left side of Lava Falls in the Grand Canyon, which did not go well.

  • As I recall now there was a bloated cow in the eddy above the little class III drop

  • Since I mentioned I did not have a good journey through the left side of Lava Falls in 1999, let me share the story. I had signed up with a group of mostly Idaho strangers for my first Grand Canyon trip. I was running my 17' cataraft as a "Gear-boat," although I usually enjoyed a passenger or two.

    Fritz's back side & his well-loaded "gear-boat." I also got to carry our trip-leaders kayak for most of the trip.
    1999 grand canyon Ray raft day 16-small.jpg

    Up to Lava Falls, which was near the end of our 16 day adventure, things had gone well for me & I had some great new friends. I remember eating well, but I also remember being scared as hell in Crystal & Granite rapids and a few others where big-water schist happened.

    Fritz after about 10 daze on the river.
    1999 grand canyon Ray-small.jpg

    When we ran Lava Falls at about 16,000 cfs, the Prospect Creek debris flow from 1995 was still in evidence. It had originally constricted the Colorado River on the east (left) side by approximately 50 percent. The length of Lava Falls is compressed in the following photos. The rapid goes for a long ways.

    Lava Falls from the right.

    1999 Grand lava falls right  (1)- samll.jpg

    The experienced private group we had followed through Crystal & Granite scouted & ran Lava Falls from the left side, For some reason, one of the that group's boats decided to ferry across the river & run Lava on the right. They screwed-up badly & went right over the huge ledge hole at top center.

    1999 Grand lava falls center run flip-small.jpg

    Happily, after flipping, they washed out of the hole fairly quickly & their boat soon followed. Their other boats had clean big water runs down the left side of Lava.

    1999 Grand lava falls left run-small.jpg

    Our group ended up going that way, after first scouting Lava from the upper right side. We really didn't like the looks of the right-side runs, so we ferried to the left-side & all our boats got through, with only one untoward incident.

    My passenger was a young woman who had guided on the Grand for a summer & she had agreed to row her somewhat difficult father & his friends down the canyon. They had a falling out & she was now riding in other rafts & I appreciated her experience & thoughts on rowing Lava.

    Since I had more maneuverability than the other rafts & we both were scared of the center ledge hole, I started a little more left & had shallow water from the Prospect Creek debris flow, & occasional rocks to dodge for a little while. Then I hit faster & deeper water with big standing waves & picked up a lot of speed. I thought we had a clean run!

    Suddenly I flew over a sharp fang of rock that had hidden in the standing waves & it went right under my feet without touching the frame or pontoons.

    The raft dropped about 4' into the hole below it & was stopped dead by the re-circulating wave. The rear of the raft backed up to where it was almost touching the fang & the washing machine action started. I had lost control of both oars by that time & I grabbed the edge of my seat to hang on.

    After a few seconds of shaking, I saw my right oar coming back at me & as the grip presented itself, I grabbed on. A second later, the same thing happened with my left oar, & I was able to get a good push with both oars, & we washed out of the hole upright.

    After we made it down to Tequila beach & the celebration began, I noticed the 7 gallon water container that had been lashed on top of the frame at the right front side, was now under the frame, although that wasn't possible. The raft frame was also badly bent, but still worked ok. I had the adrenaline shakes for the rest of the day.

    I accept all that------- as a lighter than usual Lava Falls adventure.

  • I guess GoPro wasn't around in 99

    Would have been quite a show



  • You guys live the life.

  • Johntp! Thanks.

    Zbrown: Thanks for the video. The left side of Lava changes from year to year, as the side-canyon dumps more rock into the rapid & the river washes them away. Those rafts had a sweet-ride down the left-side. I'm envious. It wasn't there in 1999.

  • Form a snake river whitewater rafting excursion this summer Linda Lu, pantomiming how she β€˜exited’the boat at the end
    B25AE928-19EF-407E-9ECE-A1C5E730A84A.jpeg 3D18B334-80EB-4E79-B6E8-1C71A66A80C3.jpeg CBCEB469-8D0F-414E-BD60-3439A5BDF0B6.jpeg 8A2FF29A-E9CC-4F2A-B3AA-F7053ADCDB0E.jpeg 2C03F28C-FC4F-45E2-8AC0-BD665E85BFB7.jpeg

  • Cute dance routine

    As I always used to say on the cardiac thread

    you are the Bro Jay

    Linda Lu must be the Sis?

  • @Jaybro --yeahhhhhhhhhhh, jaybro! nice to see you! fun stuff, for sure... coming from a dancer, i say-- as, i am one... πŸ™‚
    thanks for sharing this fun!!! and pics!

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