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I'm thinking about plan B when the I get skunked on my permits. Has anybody around here floated or motored the Columbia River Gorge? I was looking into Hood River to the Pacific Ocean. If I can't get my permits, I was thinking about dodging freight liners and staying at bed and breakfast/hotels along the way.
I have been searching google university and only find scattered info. Anybody got any beta? Maybe the freight haulers can give a big enough wake to give me a rapid or two.


tda
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Have you ever been up that way? Of all the river opportunities in that region Hood River to Astoria would be close to the bottom of the list. In addition to the tankers you mentioned, don't forget about the WIND. There's a reason that windsurfers and now kiteboarders have posted up there. I have a friend who did source to sea on the Salmon & that stretch was the only really hateful part. It can be done, but should it be done is the real question. Maybe someone from OR has a different take on it?
 

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I'm from Oregon and I think it would suck. Huge lake like expanses behind ever dam and then you'd have to negotiate the locks. The wind + the nearly non existent current would be pretty crappy. I think I'd try and get a Rouge permit if I were going to Oregon.
 

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I think it could be fun in a motorized hard bottom boat. I imagine there are better trips to take with such a boat though.

For consolation rafting trips I would look at: Westwater, Cataract, MF Flathead, post permit Hell's Canyon or any number of flatwater rivers without camping restrictions.
 

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"Anything Worth Doing" by Jo Deurbrouck

is an interesting book in which the story-line and characters closely parallels "The Emerald Mile" by Kevin Fedarko. The primary thread concerns legendary river guide Clancy Reece's death during their high water speed run on the Salmon. Another good portion of the book document's his and Jon Barker's unique trip from the headwaters down through the gorge and over the bar. Although likely a bit dated now, it's what you are talking about. They did it in a dory.

Kenton Grua and group survive their swim at Crystal, Clancy Reece did not in his attempt on the Salmon.
Gene
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great beta. I appreciate all the info. I would be running a 25 horse outboard, however I still think that the wind would take away from the experience. I will check out the trail system.

thanks again,

tda
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In the newly-released film "Damnation" (streamable on Netflix now), which I recommend, there is a scene of a couple guys trying to get through one of the dams on the Columbia, and being harassed and denied passage by cops.
 

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You might want to consider the Mississippi.
This gentleman canoed the length of it.
Canoeing the Mississippi River | Outdoor Adventures

==========

He has been on a few other excursions also.
The big three trails. Hiked the Oregon Coast. Hiked a no trail great basin Mexico to Canada wherever. A 1,000 mile across the Brooks; Canada to Bearing Sea. Another 700 miler in Alaska. Bicycled across the southern tier US.

Alaska Brooks Range Traverse | Outdoor Adventures

If you got time to kill ................

Buck does provide some detailed reviews on ultralight equipment.
 

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I'm thinking about Hood River to the Pacific Ocean.
Read "Anything Worth Doing" (by Jo Deurbrouck). Among other things, this book describes the "source to the sea" run by Clancy Reece in 1988. It's a good read, and it'll convince you not to try your idea.

A far better no-permit choice is the last 112 miles of the Main Salmon (plus 20 miles on the snake). Launch at Vinegar Creek, take out at Heller Bar. We did this trip last July, and it was fantastic. Surprisingly, the best part of the run was not in the "roadless" part of the trip.
 

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Going downstream from Hood River, you'd encounter only Bonneville Dam. Upstream from there you'll find The Dalles Dam, John Day Dam, McNary Dam, Priest Rapid Dam, Wanapum Dam, Rock Island Dam, Rocky Reach Dam, Wells Dam, Chief Joseph Dam, and Grand Coulee Dam. There are three more in Canada.
 

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A far better no-permit choice is the last 112 miles of the Main Salmon (plus 20 miles on the snake). Launch at Vinegar Creek, take out at Heller Bar.
Wouldn't it be possible to make it well over 200 miles by putting in at the town of Salmon - then doing the stretch from there to Corn Creek, plus the official "wild & scenic" main Salmon ? To be no-permit of course, you'd have to do it outside the control season for the main, but the weather is nicer then (in September) anyhow.
 

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I grew up in PDX and have spent a lot of time on the Columbia... If that were on my list it would be on something with a sail and a motor. I would really only be interested in the lower stretch from Sauvies island down, bring the Lewis and Clark journals and work your way down in their eyes.

One of the coolest places I've spent time is the estuary upstream of Astoria, there can be 8-10 foot tide changes and there are these huge marsh complexes that you could spend weeks exploring. They totally change character from high to low tide. The area has a name, I just can't recall what it is...L&C thought at first it was the ocean but latter found out they were still 20 miles from the ocean and that the wind nearly always blows up river!


It's (the stretch from Sauvies to Astoria) really the only portion of the Columbia that you can't see from a road. Not that there aren't any there, its just heavily forested and the area is huge so there aren't many views of if from land. It is however nothing to scoff at, my dad's buddy sunk his 40' sailboat below St Helens in a gale at night, killing his wife. Those that think the river doesn't move haven't spent much time on it. I've seen 24' Jetboats sink in a blink of an eye. It's very big and the current speed, eddy lines and such can be really deceptive. There can commonly be 6-8' swells, especially with upriver winds and outgoing tides. It does have a tidal exchange all the way to Bonneville dam, which is more of a slowing on incoming and speeding up of current on outgoing (up that high anyways).

To say the least it would not be a leisurely float/motor down the river - it would take some serious planning and could be very dangerous if you hit bad weather.

If you're in search of an expedition style "float", including motor, you could always run the whole Yellowstone River, or portions of...You can't have a 25 hp above Livingston, but you wouldn't need it. The rest of the river is fair game for whatever you'd want. A really fun run would be from Gardiner down past Livingston some where... maybe to Big Timer? would just depend on your time. Great fishing, awesome scenery and consistently moving water.
 
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