First Kid Multi-Day - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-04-2017   #1
 
UriahJones's Avatar
 
Salem, Oregon
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First Kid Multi-Day

Hi All,

I am planning on taking my two kiddos on their first multi-day trip this summer (wife is coming too). They will be ages 2 & 4. So I am looking for options for a mellow, easy Class II trip that will also have decent weather. My dates are somewhat flexible. I have heard that the John Day from Dale to Monument might be a good option for an early to mid June trip.

The kids have already run quite a few day trips on the Santiam and Rogue, but this will be their first overnight trip and I want it to be a success.

Can I get a little feedback from my fellow buzzards?

These are the things that matter to me.

1) Class II tops. Maybe a Class III, but needs to be mellow to not freak the kids out just yet. They love what they call 'baby waves'! Plus, flat water is a good thing, more time to splash toes over the side of the boat.

2) Weather must be reasonable. Yes, weather is unpredictable, but no snow, and preferably warm enough for little protective clothing during the day.

3) Nothing longer than the 3-4 day range.

4) No overnight drive to the put-in. We live in Salem, OR and it must be within a days driving distance.

Feel free to suggest other runs that meet the above criteria. And please let me know if you have thoughts on the John Day - Dale to Monument section. That currently appears to be my top option.

Thanks!

Uriah

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Old 04-04-2017   #2
 
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Walterville, Oregon
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The N Fk John Day is OK. I like the John Day from Service Creek to Clarno or an intermediate access point, and the Grande Ronde better. The N Fk JD should be less crowded. There is an adjacent road but it is not used much.
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Old 04-04-2017   #3
 
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Salem, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wadeinthewater View Post
The N Fk John Day is OK. I like the John Day from Service Creek to Clarno or an intermediate access point, and the Grande Ronde better. The N Fk JD should be less crowded. There is an adjacent road but it is not used much.
How come you like the Service Creek to Clarno better? I understood that was more through agricultural and farmland. Is the scenery better?

I've heard quite a bit about the Grand Ronde as well. How continuous are the first section of rapids? I understand that they are Class II but pool drop is probably a better option than a true continuous river, even one of a very easy nature.

Basically, I'm being a little obsessive about small points here I know, but I haven't run any of those yet and want to make sure that I'm not getting the kiddos in too deep.
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Old 04-04-2017   #4
 
Denver, Colorado
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I was going to say, Ruby Horsethief, definitely, until I got to item 4).
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Old 04-04-2017   #5
 
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Walterville, Oregon
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Originally Posted by UriahJones View Post
How come you like the Service Creek to Clarno better? I understood that was more through agricultural and farmland. Is the scenery better?
Both have some ag land. It has been a very long time since I have been on the N Fk JD, but I think the scenery and camps are nicer below Service Cr. I remember lots of snakes on the N Fk. Service Cr would be better if the kids enjoy catching small bass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UriahJones View Post
I've heard quite a bit about the Grand Ronde as well. How continuous are the first section of rapids? I understand that they are Class II but pool drop is probably a better option than a true continuous river, even one of a very easy nature.
Dude, you just did the Jarbidge. The Grande Ronde is continuous class I with a few class II, many of which are avoidable. Yes kids change the equation, but there isn't anything on the GR that you will find the least bit challenging, except for finding a campsite in mid June.
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Old 04-04-2017   #6
 
Portland, Oregon
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Clarno to Cottonwood on the John Day is a much better trip than any of the upper runs IMO, and probably this year more likely to have a good flow in June. If it drops out, you can't go wrong with Minam to Troy on the Grande Ronde.
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Old 04-04-2017   #7
 
Grand Junction, Colorado
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I live in western Colorado so I think Ruby/Horsethief canyons on the Colorado would be perfect. A little bit far for you though unless you want to see a lot of country. When I was in school at Univ of Idaho (years ago) I went on a nice, mellow,
trip on the Grande Ronde. That could be the ticket for you.
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Old 04-04-2017   #8
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The NF JD is raftable in an average year until about early to mid June. Should be OK to float this year at least through early June and can easily be done in a 3 day - 2 night trip on the river:






The lower John Day, anything from Service Creek down is typically also raftable until mid June. Most of the water comes out of the NF JD, so if the NF JD is too low to raft, the mainstem is also quite low. I won't get into the lower JD, too much flat water for my liking and wind.

We have floated the NF JD numerous times, and it is a good kid river, but the water is generally very cold. There are several fun splashy rapids but nothing big. Nice camps too.
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Old 04-04-2017   #9
Shapp
 
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If you can wait and go mid to end of July, I would recommend the Wallowa/GR as a much better kid trip. Can also be done easily in 3 days, 2 nights, though 3 nights on the river is better when lower. The water will be warm for swimming and the rapids are little more interesting but not too big for first time kidos. I have taken my nieces down that river since they were 2 years old, and also taken other first timer young kids down that river. They love it.

Rattlers are present on all the John Day and Wallowa/GR, not a bid deal but be aware.

Wallowa/GR kidos:


















For folks taking their kids down the NF JD for the first time, I have offered up my personal maps with camps and such marked (there aren't any commercial maps available that show camps and rapids etc.). The Wallowa/GR has a good BLM floaters map. PM me if you choose the NF JD.
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Old 04-04-2017   #10
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A few more Wallowa/GR kids:









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