Little White and Greentruss

The Little White Salmon is a river I'd heard of, but didn't think I'd get to run this trip – it's got a reputation of being a fairly hard class 5 run, but Simon had run it before and said we had to paddle it. A friend of his who I'd paddled with in Vermont, Rick, joined us, as did Russell, who we'd met in the car park at the White Salmon – both had run it recently, so it was a good group to head downstream with.

The locals had said the water level was too low, but it wasn't. The river starts off with some boulder gardens, building up in difficulty before getting to the waterfall section. The low water made the top very technical, eddies were small and routes weren't easy to see down – it would have taken ages had I not been with people who knew the run.

It was late in the day and light was low, so photos and video weren't coming out, which is a shame since it's an awesome run – the highlights for me were the 10ft left boof move on S-Turn and plugging Wishbone – a super clean 20 footer. The guide book says you will arrive at the take out with “a sweet smile on your face” I did.

The following day, the plan was to hit the Greentruss section of the White Salmon – above the run with Husum falls on – it was another of Simon's recommendations, but Rick and Russell both had other things to be doing, so it'd just be the two of us. I'd not heard of this section before, but I'm not sure why – the run is as good as the Little White, but requires less rock bouncing at this level. Upper zigzag – a twisty rapid with several stoppers to punch – and little brother – another clean waterfall we the highlights on this run.

Both sections were great class 5 runs, in beautiful scenic gorges. :)

We spent the 4th on the Wind river, with it's waterfalls and hotsprings – we'll upload a blog entry along with photos shortly, but in the mean time, check out the videos link for some of the action.

Fourth of July

We avoided crowds on the 4th July public holiday and found some waterfalls to paddle off. Simon had paddled the Wind before when it was too high to run the main waterfalls section and he enticed us to the river promising lots of clean drops at the low level we had. The section directly below the high road bridge was a little boney, but there were some fun class 3/4 boulder gardens leading down to the first fall with a fish ladder on the left. The fish ladder is a series of small offset weirs with narrow lines and tricky to make eddies, the fall is usually unrunnable and is graded by the guide book as a 6. Sharon quite fancied running the fall, so scouted a line, sent me down to check it out and then followed – we both easily managed to punch the usually nasty keeper stopper with ease. Simon and Cheryl both ran the fish ladder & I walked back up and practised my eddy hopping too.

The waterfalls section was very impressive, there was a small enterance rapid, 2 drops, a rock slide and then a final drop. Simon, Sharon and I ran the first drops, stopping in the small pool above the weir so we could walk back up again. Sharon swapped over with Cheryl and took photos and video while we had a couple more laps on the falls. The video gallery has a video showing the 2 drops and rockslide, and the photo gallery has a selection of shots. More photos are available at

After the adreanaline of running the waterfalls we were glad to get to the hot springs and sit in a pool of hot water for quite a while. We had a bottle of chilled Reisling that we'd picked up from a local winery and had a very relaxing afternoon. More rivers should have hot springs after the hard rapids.

The city and the Salmon

Heading inland, taking in Portland and crossing over into Washington.

The Oregon coastal road took us through lots of rain, past the world's smallest harbour and across the world's smallest river. However the rain pretty much took away our chances of any decent photos of these phenomenas, so we carried up the coast to Tillamook. We found the huge cheese factory and ate yummy ice-cream while watching the workers and machines making and processing the cheese ( I felt a little guilty for gawping at the people working, but its kinda fascinating too). However the much smaller Blue Heron Cheese company we stopped by in had a much better sample selection, a wine tasting area, chocolates and a petting zoo. True we didn't spend too much time out here – even the goats were hiding in their sheds from the rain – but it was worth a visit.

Lindy and Steve (who we met at a campsite in Lotus) had invited us to stay with them in Portland and so we headed to their lovely house Thursday evening. We had a great time and got to do all those little necessities like laundry and enjoy luxuries such as hot showers each morning. Steve is an excellent cook and we were treated to delicious steaks, cooked breakfasts and chicken and pasta with homemade pesto – it was tough to leave!

Portland itself is quite a funky city especially on Saturdays when it has a large arts and crafts market and a farmers market. We managed to avoid spending too much despite the best efforts of the sale in North Face but did pick up a couple of books in the US' largest bookshop. There is a large park overlooking the city with a very poignant memorial to Holocaust victims and a beautiful rose garden, which had the most fab aromas. While at Steve and Lindy's, we found out there was a drive-in movie theatre pretty close and so we took Macy to see the late night double feature picture show. The films didn't start till it was dark enough but we were lucky to get a reasonable space at 8ish. In the end it was full, with lots of families playing outside the cars – there was a good, fun atmosphere and at half 9ish the first film (Surf's Up) began. The National Anthem was played finished with lots of horn honking and some birthdays announced with cars beeping for each year of age. The films were pretty good and I managed to stay awake through to the end at half 1!

The morning didn't bring a lie in though as we were meeting Simon and Cheryl to paddle the White Salmon. I decided to give it a miss but got video of the others running Hussum Falls. We met a guy called Jonathon at the get out who kindly invited us back to his for some food and a place to sleep. First we stopped off at Hood River and tried the goods of a brewpub which we found out has a happy hour during the week, picked up a new neck seal for David and ice-cream for dessert. Then heading back to Jonathon's we found he had probably one of the most enviable views over the Columbia river and across to Mount Hood – it was stunning. A few beers later (including a very nice homebrew hefeweizen), great sausage casserole (thanks Cheryl!) icecream, and some kayak porn, we slept before an early start.

The boys were planning to run the Little White Salmon, but at 8ish this morning, Rick (Simon and Cheryl's friend) was still in Vermont and with his experience being the most recent on the river, the others decided to reconvene at 3ish when he was scheduled to arrive after his delayed flight. So Russell (Jonathon's friend) went to do his homework and we ran the section that had been run the day before which was good fun. A quick wine tasting and we headed back to the Little White, where the boys got on. Cheryl and I ran the shuttle and left them in favour of the pub with the happy hour which is where I'm typing this now waiting for them I'm sure David will update us all on this soon.

The river which we're watching now is full of windsurfers and kite surfers which is very colourful and pretty cool to watch.

Unfortunately I did have some not so good news this week – my beloved dog Dell was put to sleep after some illness – it's been a shock as it happened very quickly. As those of you who met him will know, he was a great friendly dog who'll be missed.