Monday, December 10, 2007

Creekin in Da Hood

Date: December 7-9

Last Friday I split from Bend and headed North to Hood River. It's about three hours from home and well worth the drive. Pretty much everything runs in the winter up there and a lot of cool peeps happen to call Hood River home....good reason to road trip. :) The weather looked like it was going to be fantastic for us. Sunny skies and under 30 degrees! YEAH!

I loaded the car up with basically everything I could possibly stove, tent, hot chocolate, boat, paddle, dehydrated never know when you might be camping out! I was going to meet Kim Russell, Todd Baker and Glenn...that's with TWO n's ! Get it right...gosh! We didnt know exactly where we would be paddling but meh, we left it up to the river gods to decide for us....


We woke up and checked water levels. Ok....everything is VERY high. The Green Truss was sitting at over four feet and the little white salmon was at 3.8 feet. We opted out of those puppies and decided to hit a creek none of us had done before: Upper Trout Creek. We talked to a few friends who all said it was pretty manky. Let me be the first to say that manky is a worthy description...

Upper Trout Creek flows directly into the Wind River. It is about fifteen minutes from town and usually runs after lots of rain. Considering that a few days prior to this trip, the main highway between Seattle and Portland was closed from too much RAIN, we thought it would still be a go. I parked my car at the lower take out and we loaded up Todd's Subaru with the gear. We drove up to the upper take out (there are two take outs and we wanted to allow the option of getting out at either one) and saw something we werent exactly expecting....a snowed in road. A friendly stranger was kind enough to tell us that Todd's vehicle wouldn't make it....ok option #2: leave Todd's vehicle and drive Kim and Glenn's vehicles. We settled the shuttle situation and began the drive up to the put-in.

Photo by: Christina Russell
(Above) the ominous road in front of Todd's car...dun dun dun...

Photo by: Glenn D.
(Above) everyone at the put-in to Upper Trout Creek

Upper Trout Creek is a class four/five run depending on the flow. At the low flow we did it at, it was (according to Todd) "definitely class five". The characteristics change dramatically depending on the flows. We ended up running it at roughly 1.3 meters on the gauge. I can safely say that the run would be a bit easier at higher flows. At the flow of 1.3 meters, there are more F*** you rocks than you ever want to see. That said, it has big, steep boulder gardens that create the gradient of 194 feet per mile. May I emphasize technical?

Photo by: Glenn D.
(Above) the first half mile on the run...the calm before the storm

*note, we have very few photos due to the need for speed....the creek was dropping fast and we only had a limited amount of light (It's pitch black at 4:30 pm).

Photo by: Glenn D.
(Above) Christina coming down one of the first boulder gardens

Photo by: Glenn D.
(Above) Kim deciding that going backwards is more fun

The creek gorges up about a mile into the run so the farther down we went, the steeper the drops were. I have never seen boulder gardens so clogged with F U rocks and just pure nastiness. It was steep enough that even when we got out of our boats to check things out, we still couldnt see the bottom of the drops. Each of us had our fair share of "oh shit" moments that day and we were happy there were no problems.

Ok, continuing, we finished the creek around 3pm. About three and a half hours later. We were all freezing and pretty hungry so after running shuttle, I fired up my stove and made thai food. This was about the time when I realized Glenn was eating a banana. "Hey Glenn! Have you had fried bananas before?" I asked. "Nope". Awww it was on! We fried up three bananas and wow....that was amazing. Nothing like fried bananas after a day on the river :) You should try it.

Photo by: Kim Russell
(Above) the beast surrounded by its loving cargo :)


It was friggin freeze your bum off day on Sunday. Cloudy, snowing, and windy. BRRR. The crew of Nate Herbeck, Jesse Becker, Jason S., Kimmers, and myself all headed back across the Colombia Bridge and up the road to the Wind river. Plan: Lower Trout Creek into the Upper Wind. Both sections were pretty mellow but there was LOTS of water in the Upper Wind...some pretty nice drops and gorgeous waterfalls along the sides of the rio....shame they weren't ON the wind and runnable :D

Anyways, here we are (below) heading up to the put-in. Kim and I found it amusing that just the day before we were on Upper Trout Creek.

Photo by: Kim Russell
(Above) running shuttle

(Above) The put in for the lower trout creek/upper wind
Photo by: Glenn D.

Photo by: Christina Russell
(Above) put in dam

Photo by: Christina
(Above) looking just downstream of the dam

Unfortunately for us, there was so much water that pulling out the cameras while we were on the rio seemed like a dumb idea so I don't have any pics of the run. Just take my word that it is a fun little section and a nice break run after a day on Upper Trout Creek.

Stay warm everyone! Long live flannel lined Carhartts! :D

Happy Paddling,


Master Blaster said...

Next Time run the LDUB, everything else is so girls being pro kayakers and all, with the stickers and sponsors.

puppy said...

fun story and nice pics girl...i wz wondering when you were going to post again...i'll have to try the fried nanners some time...