Thursday, October 04, 2007

Opal Creek

Date: October 4, 2007

Today I headed over to the Little North Santiam, AKA Opal Creek. Adam called up some of his buddies from Corvallis and at 8 am this morning, we headed out of Bend. It was about 35 degrees when we left and the clouds were screaming SNOW. Actually it was snowing about 15 miles south of Bend.

We stopped at the Sisters Bakery. A no-excuse, we must stop here, stop. Loaded up on a ridiculous amount of sweets and hit the road. It started to snow on the drive over the pass but by the time we arrived at the take out, things had warmed up.

Our stinkin was to run the Lower Opal Creek and possibly hit the Opal Gorge. Another possibility was to run Henline Creek but we soon discovered there was no where near enough water for that puppy.

Deciding on Lower Opal Creek, we loaded up shuttle and walked the mile up the forest road to the put-in. Lower Opal Creek is a class IV creek, super chill, and worth it for the scenery. SO pretty in the canyon.

The put in ------->
It was unusually nice for a creek :D

For about a mile and half, maybe more, there is just read and run stuff. There are always rocks JUST beneath the surface on this run so be on the lookout.

About half way down the run you come across a waterfall known as Big Fluffy. Big Fluffy is a sloping 12 footer into a big, sticky hole.... at this flow , the locals we paddled with wouldn't run it....decision made. We portaged.
<----- Big Fluffy: As you can see, there is a lot of wood on this section. Make sure you get good beta from locals before bombin' down .... Further downstream are more boulder gardens and ledge drops. Thor's Playroom is a fun drop. There are three doors at the top of the drop. Doors one and two involve a nice boof. However, today there was a riverwide log blocking the exit from the first two doors.

Door #3 was our door. It's a boof into a boily pool, followed by another big,slide- boof. Good fun stuff. Most of it is pretty benign at this flow but as more water starts churning through, there would definitely be some big ledge holes to boof.

After Thor's playroom you have some boogy water and then the take-out for the run...DONT miss the take out unless you plan on running Opal Gorge. We were contemlating running the gorge as well but....there is an Un-Un in there (un-scoutable, un-portageable) and with the amount of new wood we found on Opal Creek proper we decided on returning later to scout the gorge.

ha ha now comes some good stuff. We loaded the boats up for shuttle and proceeded up the forest road. Keep in mind we are very much in the middle of no-where. Apparently we weren't quite far enough out there because at the end of the road, was a forest service vehicle blocking us in! Are you kidding?! We tried driving around him on the mossy logs etc but that didnt work. Eventually the driver returned and moved his vehicle for us.

Ridiculous eh?

On the way back to the main highway, Adam and I stopped to check out Cedar Creek. Adam's run it before and he said it's a couple hundred feet per mile atleast. SUPER steep, very very tight- She's STOUT

Instead of driving back the way we came, we decided to take a dirt road up and over some "hills" down to French creek. Unfortunately it was almost dry but the ride was friggin awesome :D

I would definitely recommend Opal Creek to anyone wanting a chill creekin' day on the rio. Class IV goodness. We were stoked we got on the run when we did- normally it doesnt start up until November and it's snowing or raining when it goes. We had the sun come out for us! :) Hope everyone else can make it on a sunny day as well!

Happy Paddling to everyone!

No comments: