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Trip Report: June Creek and Sandy Gorge

Saturday we paddled June creek again, this time in 24 degree weather with a foot of snow on the riverbanks. T loaned me a new drysuit again, so I was happy on the water. My feet were a cold from the start, but there's a hotsprings halfway down, and we stopped there long enough to get all our cold parts thawed out. I put my paddle in the 150 degree water, and the paddle kept my hands quite warm for a good distance downstream from there. The biggest rapid is just downstream from the hotsprings---it is called Monolith. Last week I ran it first, this time Terry did. The gang is getting used us running stuff instead of waiting in the eddy for someone else to show us how.

Sunday we ran the Sandy River Gorge. The gorge is 150 foot high a volcanic ash composite stone walls that often overhang the water. Large boulders obstruct the stream. The flow was 1030 cfs, optimal for a first time kayak run. Open boaters prefer about 700 CFS for first time runs. We portaged the log jam at the put-in, but after having taken a good look at it I would probably run it at a similar level next time. It was ugly but not that difficult; just don't go down the wrong side of the river. The first 3 miles were class II and III rapids nice waves, holes, and rocks enough to keep it interesting.


We also portaged Boulder drop (above, wood has moved but rox are same). The right channel had a tree in it and is unscoutable from river level. The left channel has a single branch extending downward from a huge log on top of the mid-river rock, and a blind corner obstructing the view into the second half. Once you go to the eddy on the left where you can climb out and scout the bottom half, you can't easily get back up to run the first half, so you portage. Our entire group portaged because nobody was willing to tell anybody else that it was good to go. I had the hunch that it was good to go and almost ran it without any scoop. It turns out my instinct was right. It WAS good to go. The group we were paddling with just don't know how aggressive I am in a boat, and are loathe to take responsibility for such decisions. Reasonable enough. Anyway all you have to do is catch a class III eddy on the left upstream from the branch that is in the flow, and also upstream from the sieve on the right which is so intimidating to many. That eddy is where we launched from after the portage to run the second half of the rapid.


Drainhole (below Rasp) is another of the major rapids. It has a gnarly wood-infested door #1 and a narrow/inaccessible door #2. Door #3 is the obvious and easy way to go. The last rapid, just above the Revenue bridge, has a steep super bony entrance with an easy sneak/portage. T and I ran the center line which starts out outrageously congested and opens into a good channel about halfway down. I was totally lost in the rocks and sort of surprised when I ended up in the channel I'd been looking for. It looked like the left line ending in a big boof would be fun too.

There were no other major hazards aside from the rather large icicles that were falling into the river from the cliffs above. And the ice on the rocks at the takeout. =-]

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