Monday, July 14, 2008

2nd Descent of the Upper North Fork of the Tumalo

Bend, Oregon
Date: July 15, 2008

Hey hey people! This summer has been a hot one here in central oregon and because of a heavy winter, this means lots of good creeking.

This Sunday I headed up to the Upper North Fork of the Tumalo. The first descent was accomplished by Josh Mckeown and Scotty Baker on the previous weekend- sadly I was unable to be a part of the 1st D as I had a 12 hour work day :(.....BUT the 2nd D was just as amazing.

To get to the Upper NF, prepare to off road for roughly 1 hour. We were within 2 miles of the creek when we came to a gate....a gate that the forest service in all its wisdom decided was best kept closed. Hmmmm not sure what that was about because it is always open on Sundays! Josh managed to find an alternative "road" through the trees and around the gate but this was not without casualties later on. Note- make sure you dont try to drive a BIG vehicle back here between the just wont work. Also, note the width of your roof racks and realize that the skinny branches are tougher than they look! More on this later.....

Anyways, so it's about 2-2.5 miles up the road from the gate. Once we got there, we hiked down to check out the were they NICE! This was only the second descent so we were still learning about the drops. One thing we did know was that water behaves very different when it is a low flow. This also means you have to paddle different.....yes yes I will remember that next time! The current moves right along!

We began scouting drop one which had a nice log in the top right portion of it. The decision was made to pull the log and I climbed down below to retrieve it from the pool...ha ha ha I kept thinking "Why is the smallest person of the bunch the one grabbing the big tree?" Dont ask me!

The first drop was now looking great so we fired it up....
If you look closely, Josh is firing up the first drop. (Below) This drop had a super bony entrance that would easily pin ya if you werent on top of things. It's a falls into a rocky slab so boofing is not a good idea......if you just go with the flow it's a smooth ride. :)

Photo: Christina Russell
Paddler: Josh Mckeown

(Above) Photo: Scotty Baker
Paddler: Josh Mckeown

Josh and I fired up the second falls- a super shallow landing with a log in the landing zone. Make sure you boof it or you'll be feeling it in the morning! While we ran the drop, the rest of hte crew portaged to scout the next falls.....

Here are two kick butt members of the crew, John Cramp and Kirk (Below)

The best drop of the whole run is just downstream of the shallow ten footer. Here it is....

(Above) Photo: Josh Mckeown
Paddler: Christina Russell

It's a 30 foot splash and giggle slide. We ran it down the right side, just to the right of the sharp flake in the middle. It was definitely the most fun on the run and one of the best drops I think Ive been lucky enough to do. Thank you river gods!

(Above) Here is Josh running the 30 foot slide. Look at the Jefe doin' its job! It's still the best creeker out there!

Everyone in our crew fired up the slide and we were ready to head further downstream. I should let ya know that if you think you've experienced cold water, you probably haven't! This was snowmelt- and the source was not far above the run. I dont expect the water was over 40 degrees!

The riverbed spreads our a bit below the falls so the depth gets more shallow...ugh. Thankfully none of the river rock was sharp lava! How cool is that?! EVerything here in bend that we've been running has lava rock in it. Super sketchy to swim here for that reason. But on the Upper NF of the Tumalo, it was smooth rock all the way. AWESOME! I got out to get a few more pics....

(Above) Looking downstream of the falls-isnt Oregon beautiful!?
Photo: Christina Russell

Around the corner is a two tiered drop that flows into an undercut wall. The water flows over a shallow ledge that's roughly ten feet high and then down a 3 foot ledge. BUT....the landing is SUPER shallow. 4 out of 7 hit rock bottom. Right down the center allowed for a plug but if you wanted to run left, you had to boof. On this run down, my method for running ultra shallow drops was more of a sideways boof. Ha ha it totally worked!

(Above) Me side boofing the second to last ledge
Photo: Josh Mckeown

(Above) and here I am on the last ledge.
Photo: josh Mckeown

Tumalo Creek is a gem of the Northwest. It only runs when there is enough snowmelt so you have to plan on being there on a hot day. We ran this when it was 95 degrees out and crystal clear. I would expect that with a heavy rainstorm, this would also be runnable. The toughest part of the whole thing is geting in and getting out....

Josh and I were concerned about getting back up the hill we came down as the top soil is extremely loose. Josh got some good speed and with me spotting the line, he drove up between the trees. It was all looking good until the front left roof rack got yanked off by a tree branch! NO!!!! I tell you I was paying attention but there must have been a branch I didnt quite see. :( At any rate, we made it up the hill ok and the roof rack was fixable. That was a close one. The other vehicles quickly followed with a near flat tire and a side mirror that almost got ripped off. Yah so it was a bit manky but no vegetation or vehicles were harmed!

The creek was absolutely amazing and one I hope to get back on here soon! Until then, Im off to scout out another creek....stay tuned for pics!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, this might be a weird message, but I'm going to post in anyway... Is it possible that Christina Russell contacts me per e-mail (theponline at gmail dot com)? Hope to hear from her soon!