WA rivers for multi-day trips? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-10-2012   #1
 
Kelowna, BC
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WA rivers for multi-day trips?

I'm new to rafting, picked up a used boat and gear, and looking to get on the rivers next Spring and Summer. I have a Sept 8th launch for MF Salmon and looking to get as many river miles in as I can before then. I'm from BC and have a couple river options near by, but wondering about rivers in WA. The rivers there I'm familiar with are always run as day trips. Any WA state class II-III (easy IV) rivers that can be run as 2-3 day (or longer) trips?

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Old 12-10-2012   #2
 
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Not that i know about but oregon has a few that feed into the columbia and snake basins that are easy to get permits on

Deschutes, john day, grande ronde, owyhee (very short season but multiday (5-6 day) opportunities).

These are all desert runs. The idaho rivers are more alpine but as you know are heavily contested regarding permits
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Old 12-10-2012   #3
 
Kelowna, BC
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Thanks Avatard, those are all rivers I've been researching for future trips, but unfortunately involve long drives. Actually looking for rivers that are closer (WA state) that I can do on a 3 or 4 day weekend trip. Not necessary looking for a river with wow factor, just want some river miles with loaded raft that I can spend a night or two.
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Old 12-10-2012   #4
 
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Kalispell, Montana
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A bit closer than OR (farther than WA), you could do 3 or 4 day trips on either the NF Flathead or MF Flathead, no permit required.

NF Flathead is II+ at best. You would hit most of them on day 3.

MF Flathead has some nice III- rapids mixed throughout the trip; more on day 3.
With an airplane shuttle, you could start at Shaffer Meadows and make it as long as a 4-5 day trip.

Also possibilities on the Clark Fork and Blackfoot.
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Old 12-10-2012   #5
 
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If you are a novice rower, the MF at bone zone flows may be a serious challenge.
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Old 12-10-2012   #6
 
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I'd research the Thompson in Bc. We did a 2 day stretch but was told there are some nice multiday options further upstream, especially if you are comfortable being alone in the wilderness and dont need the relative safety of a highway and trains every 45 min
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Old 12-10-2012   #7
 
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Whereabouts in BC? there's a lot of multiday boating up there, but it isn't all high traffic, and BC is huge so it may not be close.

In Washington, there actually are some options, though you have to get creative, and you're not likely to spend a week in roadless wilderness.

Sauk - The Sauk is a classic WA overnighter. Class III-IV. 20 miles or so. Whitechuck to the Skagit confluence. Goes pretty much all summer if you don't mind lower flows.

Skagit - another classic, but II. Great gravel bar camping. You could launch on the Cascade for some gnar then turn the corner and find a camp.

Klickitat - very scenic canyons. The upper run has some great whitewater. Can go almost to the columbia, 30+ miles I think? Lower bit is class II but away from the road with very nice camps. See Doug North's WA guidebook for some beta on camp locations and a John Garren style drift log.

Grand Ronde - Mostly in Oregon but you can go all the way to heller bar on the snake. You can fly in to Red's horse ranch on the Minam for an off the beaten path adventure. Lovely little canyon, MFS quality camps.

Methow - if the wood is friendly, you can put in up high on the Chewuch for continuous III-IV then turn the corner and run Black Canyon. It'll all be roadside, but that means you can stay in campgrounds riverside.

I do a lot of overnight trips in WA. The best ones are away from the road. I just scout for good camps on day runs. I've spent 2 nights in the Green River Gorge. Routinely overnight on the Peninsula rivers. The Tilton has one very nice beach.

You just have to get creative. Good luck!
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Old 12-10-2012   #8
 
Kelowna, BC
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Dave Frank - I organized a MF trip last September in which we went off the top with a 1.7' level. I canoed it, but we had raft support so saw the challenge first hand. This is reason I'm wanting to maximize river miles next Spring, including some early season paddling before run-off to get low water experience. If I don't feel ready in time for trip, then will canoe again.

Avatard - yes, Thompson and Chilchotin-Fraser are a couple of the BC rivers I'm looking at that are reasonable drives. There is also Kootenay River in Rookies, but that's a longer drive. Looking south, I'm thinking Washington must have some rivers off the radar that make for a nice 2-3 day trip and are more than class I-II floats.

Neil
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Old 12-10-2012   #9
 
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Neil, I also did a 1.7' MF trip. It was 2 summers ago and was my first MF trip ever. I rowed a 12' sotar cat with all the group gear and food for a party of 4 for a week.

I'd recommend the Green River Gorge as a training ground for that kind of rowing. Folks like to row it above 1500, but I've rowed it as low as 650 and IKed it as low as 300.

In my opinion, if you can get a loaded boat through there at 1000, you'll be fine on the MF. It's much more densely packed than the MF, as the 6 miles from Kanaskat Palmer State Park to Franklin is non stop III-IV. It's every bit as technical as the MF, perhaps more so.

I'd strongly recommend running it in an empty boat first to get a feel for the lines. There's a sieve hazard in the Nozzle that is particularly bad at low flows.

But there's great camping at the Kanaskat Palmer state park, including heated yurts you can reserve online. And there are a couple of small camps in there too, I do 1 and 2 night floats a couple times a year in there.

I'd be glad to show you down. drop me a PM if you'd like to coordinate.

cheers,
-b
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Old 12-10-2012   #10
 
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How did you get a 9/8 launch 2 months before permit lottery season ended? Is this a guided trip?
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