liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

River Log: Molalla

Ran the Molalla River today with 7 Oregon paddlers. It's a class III-IV run, from Turner Bridge to Glen Avon Bridge, 8.7 miles. More commonly known as the Three Bears run. The three largest rapids are Daddy Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear. Baby bear chewed on me but I escaped by shoving myself away from the sucking hole with my paddle against the rock.

The flow was quite low, 1,300 at the gauge a good way downstream, I'd say we had no more than 1,000CFS in the run. One person guesstimated the gradient at 50 feet per mile, but my guess is lower because there were long stretches that are not as steep as the Nantahala, and the Nantahala is 33 feet per mile. Even with the larger rapids averaged in I'd be surprised if the run overall beats 40 fpm.

The Molalla is very pretty. Mossy and green, but running through mostly basalt, with columns and the works. Some in sandstone. One very small basalt gorge that reminded me of the Siete Tazas.

It's close to Portland. Maybe an hour away. The Molalla is the next drainage south from the Clackamas, coming out of the Cascade Mountains.
Tags: kayak, oregon, river

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