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.

Back at the Coast

We've arrived back at the Coast – it's the Oregon coast this time, and the Pacific Coastal Highway, or Highway 1 has become state route 101. But it's still raining and there's still lots of cool things to see.

Yesterday we drove from the inland mountains around Crater Lake and the NF Rogue, through Eugene to the coast. We wanted to see the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and then drive up the coastline to Sea Lion Cave and Seal Rock. The Oregon Dunes were impressive – there was lots of sand, but not quite the rolling expanse of sand made hills that I'd expected. We found a Whale viewing platform, but no Whales – their migration doesn't happen this time of year. Sea Lion Cave was apparently the largest sea cave in the world – but we decided not to part with $20 to find out. We did see Sea Lions swimming and lying on rocks in the next bay up the coast, which was free and probably more impressive – we were pleased.

Driving onwards, we came to Seal Rock, but found no seals – loads of cool birds and some funny sea weed, though. Driving back into town to find some food we saw where all the seals were – they'd found a sandbar under the road bridge, so we stopped and watched them for a bit. (Seals are smaller and cuter than Sea Lions, and can't use their back legs on land)

Next food: we found a fish and chip restaurant. We'd driven past this earlier at 3:55, and saw a sign saying “All you can eat fish and chips, Wednesday 4 'til 8”, we decided that fate wanted us to eat lots of fish. So we did, it was lovely fresh caught cod.

Today it started raining, but we're still going to drive up the coast and find Tillamook, where they make Cheese, Ice Cream and Fudge.

We've updated our Calendar and uploaded some more photos and a very cute video.

NF Rogue

Photos Sharon, Simon and Cheryl took of me and Simon in the Takelma gorge on the North Fork of the Rogue, and Sharon paddling a suprising drop at the top (the photo doesn't show the 90deg bend and drop just upstream…) {smoothgallery folder=images/gallery/NFRogue/}

Northern Forks

Heading North from Crater Lake we spent two days paddling sections of the North fork of the Umpqua, a lovely run with very cold water. On the second day we met up with Simon and Cherly and decided to head back to the North Fork of the Rogue so that we can rerun the lower section and paddle the gorge I'd previously inspected.

The North Fork of the Umpqua has several sections, we paddled two. Both are icy cold (57F, whatever that is in English) and good fun, with lots of grade three rapids and some beautiful flat sections with pretty cool rock formations.

Bumping into Simon and Cheryl meant we could head back and run one of the sections of the NF Rogue that I'd looked at but decided was too hard for Sharon and I alone. We headed back into it and after what seemed like 2hours scouting the 1mile walled in gorge, Simon and I decided to run it, with Sharon and Cheryl taking photos (we'll upload some good ones next time we get online – there are loads).

The gorge was well worth the return trip and having the benefit of a shuttle vehicle we continued down the next section, making it a pretty good, full day on the river.

We're now heading to the coast to check out some sand and seals, or sea lions (and work out the difference), and then to Portland and meeting up with Simon and Cheryl again next week to run the White Salmon and the Little White Salmon…

A Rainy Day on Highway One

Drizzle may have hidden some views on the coastal highway, but it was still an awesome drive from San Francisco north to the Redwood forests, here's the journal entry I wrote that evening:

This morning we woke up in Berkley – a town near to San Francisco, it was a little overcast, but clearer than yesterday., so we got to see more of the bridge and bay on our drive. Leaving our lovely layby early we soon joined the early morning commuter traffic on Interstate 80. Avoiding the traffic we took an alternate route, which took us past loads of fast food restaurants – all advertising breakfast specials – these eventually got the better of us and we stopped at a Jack in The Box in San Rafael for a sausage biscuit. Biscuits over here aren't digestives (they call those cookies), it's halfway between an English muffin and a scone – which is confusing when places advertise buscuits and gravy, because gravy is't gravy either.

With breakfast sorted we continued along Sir Frances Drake Blvd joining highway one (the continuation of the pacific coastal highway we travelled along from San Diego) and stopped off at the Bear Visitor Centre where they've got an earthquake trail. We were right on the San Andreas fault zone and it was kindof scary to be stood there watching the seismograph readings: the needle was wobbling while we were there, indicating some sort of activity deep within the earth. Apparently that's normal and wasn't large enough for us to feel anything, we'd have been completely unaware of it had we not been watching the meter, which is I guess what makes them useful.

Making good use of their taps we filled up our water bottles (we've got 8 or so 1 gallon bottles we keep in Macy since lots of campsites don't have runing water), and headed onwards leaving the otherwise quiet fault zone to coach load of noisy school children.

I forget the name of the next small village we passed through, but it had a library and therefore we were able to grab a brief bit of time online and update our friends and family. We've been writing journals and articles while we've been on the road but in the allotted time we don't often have chance to type them up and even if we did have sufficient time, the computers are so restrictive in what they let you do that we wouldn't have chance to upload photos and video – it's getting a little be frustrating not being able to document our trip as we would like.

Anyway, after our 30 minutes elapsed we headed onwards, north on highway one through lots of little fishing villages all selling barbecued oysters and on to the surf beaches. It could have been a bad day on the Cornish coast looking out over the windswept beaches, with drizzel in the air. The trees and locals both painted the picture that this was perfectly normal weather – even when the wind died down the trees still help their wind swept appearence, just like the poor trees planted at Beachy Head. The locals were milling around in swimsuits on the beach or bobbing around like neoporene seals just behind the break. Sharon and I didn't fancy venturing outside of Macy's warm embrace.

We continued northwards, hugging the coast and occasionally geting a glimpse of the rugged rocky shore line and the vast ocean beyone, but mainly we were peering at the inside of a cloud. By early evening the coast had grown so rugged that the coastal highway gave up and headed in land, carrying us towards the huge Redwood forests. Stopping for gas we discovered we were 1/4 mile from the a tree you could drive through. So we followed the signs to the shrine of the drive-thru tree, it was down drive-thru tree road and in drive-thru tree park (note their imaginative naming scheme), We paid our admission and drove along the road to the tree, only to find that we couldn't drive through it. It was a small gap, which would have been large enough for most English cars, but not for Macy (who's small by US standards). A little bit digruntled, we managed to get a refund and then headed onwards to find a place to sleep and eat. Luckily the rain abaited while we cooked our maccaroni/couliflour/broccili cheese and then a nice large and quiet layby presented itself.


(written 4th June, typed up 9th June)

One Month In…

It's June; we've been away for a whole month now. As I write we're driving up the west side of lake Tahoe, with the Carson mountains rising out of the far side of the crystal clear lake & the sun is shining on another lovely day.

We've seen some awesome scenery, done some great things and driven Macy almost 4,000 miles. We've been to the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, driven through many small mountain villages, found Coloma (the place that started the gold rush) and explored Bodie, a desterted ghost town (preserved in a state of arrested decay).

The wildlifr has been hard to miss; from inquisitive squirrels at the Elephant Seal beach, cheeky chipmunks and singing blue birds at a riverside take out to bears & snakes Yosemite, Raccoons at Lake Tahoe and deer everywhere.

The rapidly melting or melted snow pack hasn't stopped us paddling, we've found big water on the Merced, an ample trickle on the South Silver and damn releases on the American and the Touolomne.

So far so good, looking forward to the next eleven.

Note: The entry was hand written on the 1st June but typed up and posted 4th June, as internet connectivity allowed. Other blog entries have been written and likewise, will be typed up as time allows.