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Trip Report: Lower Hood and June Creek

Last weekend I paddled Saturday on the Hood River. Tucker (pie shop) to the Marina--or more like to a spot on the urban trail not far off the interstate--and within a breeze of the Columbia River. The gage read 4.5, the company was good (K, D, T), the run class II+ and continuous with lots of small surfing spots. The dam has been removed (late in 2010) and where it was there is now a rocky class III that hasn't been flushed out by a big flood yet. The right channel at that rapid looks like it could be class IV or V the first time it runs, due to a major shelf of boulders at the end that could form a gnasty hole. It didn't have any water in it at the time of our run. The shuttle for this run is absolutely gorgeous, through the highland orchards between Mt Hood and Mt Adams. Great views in all directions. Here's the bridge at the put-in.

On Sunday I met up with T, D, D, J and 3 others to paddle the June Creek section of the Clackamas, past Austin hotsprings. This is an even smaller river, perhaps largish creek, more class III flavor with one drop (Monolith) that I'd call a class IV. Level was somewhere near 2000 cfs, which was plenty but nowhere near too much. The holes were just beginning to develop. We launched with a group of 8, one took out at the hot springs, and 2 more took out after most of the group got roundly thumped at Monolith. I didn't scout and ran first after I was told it was clear of wood. D took a hit to her cheekbone and was nauseous with a headache, and this after having gotten walloped earlier by a log. Losing half your group seems to be a common occurrence on June creek. I completely respect boaters who have the guts to admit that the river is more than they want on a given day, and go for a riverside walk instead. This run has some continuous sections that require that a boater be on their game. And there is quite a bit of wood to contend with.

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