The surf is UP – What to do with it?
Rain, rain, and rain. That’s the weather forecast for much of the Pacific Northwest in the next 10 days. What’s that mean for boating? Look for the Illinois River in Southern Oregon, up 3000 CFS three days ago. Check out the Smith River in Northern California, up 12,000 CFS two days ago. When it rains, the rare coastal runs are where it’s at. The little-known “Lobster Creek” into the Rogue River or “10-mile Creek” into the South Fork of the Eel become top destinations. Of course, “top” does not mean popular.
In Southern Oregon, a few great little-known runs include the Applegate (tributary to the Rogue), Carberry Creek (trib to the Applegate, first raft descent last year, III-IV+), and Grave’s Creek (put-in creek for the Rogue, various runs between II-V).
Moving north towards Portland, don’t miss the “Miracle Mile” on the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette (it’s harder to run than say ten times fast, V), the Santiam always is running due to dam releases but the extra rain pads the flow, and the Clackamas is a great fallback. Moving up the Columbia Gorge you’ll hit some bizarre weather but some even crazier rivers. The White Salmon, Washougal, Wind, and Hood make some of the best whitewater around.
For Northern California, look at every tributary for the Klamath. The Scott River (IV-V) , Indian Creek (II-III (P)), Elk Creek (III-IV), Clear Creek (various sections, II-V), and the Cal-Salmon (IV+) are some great places to begin your topo investigation. Recently, the McCloud (into the Sacramento, III/IV) had releases. For a weekend adventure, pair it up with the Box Canyon of the Sacramento (class IV).
It’s raining. It’s boating season. Surf is UP!
Surfin’ it up on the White Salmon: