Just got off yesterday. Biggest salmonfly hatch I've ever seen overnight of 18th/19th. Also the most crowded I've ever seen Camp B. Put on at 360 cfs (bl eagle creek) and took off at about 750 (1250ish at Eden). First day about 18 miles to Two Creek; 2nd 20 miles to Parker 1; 3rd 10 miles to Rattlesnake; remainder on the 4th day. I pushed to do the longer days earlier due to the weather forecast - thinking to get them over while the weather was better. We probably could have done that different looking at flows on the third day (as always there was minimal choices for the 4th day) but it worked out ok I think.
We were 4th in line for camps and didn't get a single one of my normal camps, though we did get lucky and got a Rattlesnake for the last night, otherwise it would have been Merganser Bend or Black Butte
. We stayed at Two Creek (18 mile day) the first night which had never interested me previously, but it turned out to be pretty nice. It's till not a favorite but it will do in a pinch (except at low water, you'd be hauling your gear halfway accross the river). Started seeing salmonfly nymphs on the banks around 10 pm, by midnight they were coveing the banks and by morning there were adults everywhere. My son sat and watched one hatch on his leg - it was very cool, someting I've never had the patience for.
The second morning the rain started, then never really stopped. We shoved off with four boys between 5 and 8 camped out on my front deck under the bimini (which saved the day yet again). They told stories, sang songs and had a blast. They spent the majority of next 3 days in the same place doing the same things. Not one ever complained! The kids switched between boats when the weather was nicer (and my ears got a break
). I would have never guessed 4 boys could have had so much fun during a 3 day rainstorm.
The 2nd night we stayed at Parker 1. Another new site for me; pretty nice with good fishing at the site and a nice gravel bar. Camp is a bit of a hike from the boats but not horrible. It's in a nice grassy meadow with a tall pine grove for a kitchen set up. Water came up overnight.
Last night we were at upper Rattlesnake, always a fair site. Lower is better but it was still way better then Merg bend or schleping our stuff up the hill at black butte.
Here's my diatribe:
I will say upfront that I am not a fan of the bear regs, I think they are too simple to be effective and are just a "feel good" measure for the rangers: Like they're saying, hey look, we tried. All the regs require is food storage, which doesn't sound bad up front, but if you're from bear country you should instantly realize that you also need to address your cooking gear, tables, plates and utensils, garbage (that may be listed, but it wasn't discussed), etc...... there is so much more to bear proofing a camp then keeping your food in a fancy cooler or drybox.
What I failed to comprehend prior to this trip was just how many things really need to be hauled to and stored in camp to truly bear proof a camp. Things that historically get unloaded onto the bank or left in the boat. I normally do not haul my 150 qt cooler to camp, ughhh. I do haul my kitchen box, but I wouldn't normally haul all dry storage either; just what I actually need. For this trip we had a fence, which of course makes protecting all the gear pretty easy. The hard part is putting it all in one spot.
My guess is that this reg will do nothing to mitigate bear encounters. The attractants are still there in the form of stoves, pots, pans, tables and the like. The animals are going to come and when they can't get to the food what's going to be their next move? Even in our case we surrounded our entire kitchen in a bear fence but the attractants were still there, just not the reward. In the end though, I'm not at all surprised we didn't have any problems, this whole concept is a mountain made from a mole hill.
All in all a great time was had by all, regardless of the rain and pointless hoop jumping. I'd like to thank my new friend for including us on this trip and the whole group for all the help they gave me with my two boys. I also have to thank the four awesome boys perservering through the worst weather of their collective lives. This trip could have gone SO differently if they weren't such great kids. I can't wait for the next one....especially if there is more sun