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Old 02-17-2014   #11
Redmond, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,031
There is some unusual geology near Bend.

Almost every feature in view is volcanic in origin. What stands out is the amount of pumice. The 'popcorn pummy soils' common are mostly from the eruption of Mt Mazama, (Crater Lake), 7700 years ago. The many feet of ash laid down here killed all the large mammals. Deer, Elk, Bear and Humans. Native American presence disappears locally for 1500 years.

The soils here, if you could call them that, are super porous and most moisture goes straight down instead of into a river system. The area near Mt Bachelor and the Three Sisters really drains the clouds, it's filtered and goes down into the aquifer so Bend can get a lot of fabulous drinking water. When I was a FS employee, if I got the chance I filled up my water canteens at Deschutes Bridge GS. Great water.

{Sisters has the second biggest drop off in precip in a short space. It is from the Pacific Crest to a semi arid desert just east of town. Mongolia has the biggest. Much of the eastside watershed is only 6 - 9 inches per year.}

The Deschutes above Bend gets dammed for agriculture. Not really that much for power or flood control. There is very little flooding locally because of the absorbent soils. Just a couple days ago, Sunriver was having flooding. Big snow dump followed by good warm rain. Not from the Deschutes River but the normally dryer ground between Sunriver and Hwy 97. It was frozen and wouldn't let moisture down. The dam that formed at the railroad tracks burst and viola. There have been ice dams in Bend that caused flooding in some neighborhoods.


Why is this trivia important?

The river flow is messed with by nature and man, compared to other places.
The higher flows are opposite of when they should be because of the dams. Less CFS overall because of porous soils.

Between Bend and Redmond the Deschutes is now more of a large stream than a river. (The water is lost largely to flood irrigation.) Inner tube rafters play there some but sport boating is lost. There are remnant lava tubes where kids drown and bodies get captured. They turn off the spigot to get them out. My oldest son lost a good friend who was Redmond's best swimmer to one. Jay had numerous gifts.
Caution advised.


There is a very neat river near Sisters that is almost never run nowadays. The Metolius has a bigger drop per mile than the GC. Its just one constant class 1 with some 2. For miles. The logs are not being removed for fish habitat. There is a very serious attempt to restore Salmon after the dams on the lower Deschutes took their cut. With no recovery and the danger of pins constant plus very limited scouting available the Metolius is just too dangerous.

You should visit the Metolius. Several Nice Campsites. The spring where it starts is fabulous. There are other streams in CO that start from one spring and they are a treat to see. Below that pumice are layers of lava that sometimes can be impervious. Where they connect with the surface you get Fall River or Jack Creek. The Upper Metolius, above lower bridge, can be IK'd. But only with a dry suit etc because it is cold spring water. Seriously cold. Bridges are low. You could do a run that finishes at your campsite.


I'm thinking for some on a travel schedule. Do Maupin. Camp on the Metolius. The McKenzie Float has mentioned. Then head to the N Umpqua. Sort of a best of Oregon. If I hurt anyones feelings near the Rogue or Illinois, speak up.

The Mckenzie in the early Fall is wonderfully colorful.

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