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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking of shooting up there for a week Aug 21-27. Will it be running at a good flow? How far is the drive from D-town? Anything else to do in the area? Should I be scared? Anyone want to go? Gary E - you got answers?
joe
 

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Almost certainly will be a good flow. There is decent 3-4 on the South Fork Payette that can be really fun. There are also a ton of hotsprings in the area.

The dreamflows estimate is usually pretty close, but there isn't a 100% accurate gauge. Look for flows between 1200 and 1800 for a first time run.

Long ass drive from D-Town, but definitely worth it.

And yes, you should be scared! :D

That used to be my home run, so PM me if you want more specific beta.
 

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i'll be headed back to idaho round then

maybe the week before, but i'll be r2ing at least the lower 5 depending on who i can get to partner with.
 

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Figure about 13 hours drive. Great camping up along the South Fork with natural hot springs right there. You can scout everything on the North Fork from the road and bite off whatever looks good.
 

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joe, think it's around 12 hours. Should be good level around 2 g's which is pretty sweet and nasty. Theres good camping and hot springs. I should be down there letting my hair down.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I'm doing a little internet research and can't really find shit as far as descriptions of the run. Mostly it sounds like everyone runs the lower 5 and that's it. Is this true? Do people from out of town show up and do top to bottom runs, or is that a local's only kinda deal? Sounds like it's also the only roadside run with a mandatory guide. Anyone with some more beta?
 

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There is a team race (groups of three) top to bottom the last weekend in aug.. so the locals should be out. It is crucial to ease yourself into the NF . Break it down. Bottom 5 then Bottom 7 and then top five. Once you your feeling good ... fire up the middle 5. Give yourself the opp to watch the locs run Jakes before jumping in there.
enjoy
 

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N. Fork will be cranking by then, lotsa fun.......

Releases from Cascade Dam are holding steady at around 1800 and projected to stay there and possibly increase to 2250 on Aug. 10. There IS an accurate flow page that gives the release from Cascade Dam: http://www.usbr.gov/pn-bin/rtindex.pl?cfg=payette Once spring runoff has ended, that flow is within 150cfs of actual flow down the Smith's Ferry to Banks run (aka The North Fork). Just came down from McCall back to Jackson last Sunday, with no time to stop for a run, and there weren't too many people on the run yet, just five guys dropping through Disneyland at the time. As other natural runs start to get too low, traffic will increase on the N. Fork, and Aug. is usually the busiest month. I plan on being over there for at least two, possibly three, long weekends myself. Way toooooo much fun to be had there........
 

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payette

The long ass drive will soon be forgotten when you reach Banks(confluence of NF and SF and put in for Main). Definitely do the Canyon and Staircase sections (III-IV) of the south fork. Deadwood Creek could possibly be running as well(takeout is put in for Canyon). Camp near Crouch or Pine Flats campground for natural hot springs. Idaho is the place to be...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Anyone interested in gettin some after Gore fest? Leave straight from pumphouse after the hang over clears on Monday. Possibly also take a look at Lower Mesa Falls?
joe
 

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I was thinking of taking some time off and heading to the Payettes around then. Should have a new creek boat by then and would be interested in running the Lower 7 on the NF and the Canyon Run on the SF. Maybe check out kayakidaho.com for a description or photos of either? I live just south of Lower Mesa, though not interested in hucking it.

Doug
 

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Not to be a buzzkill, but Lower Mesa might be nearing the low end of good. The second tier is always runnable, but the first tier gets wierd at lower flows. To make matters worse, last time we were there they had installed a locked gate that blocked access to the falls. The only option was a shitty hike down 1500 feet of talus. Unless someone confirms that you can drive to the falls I'd just do another lap on the North Fork and save mesa for a higher water trip.

Also, good boaters from out of town routinely show up and do top to bottom runs on the North Fork. At 2K it is bigger than anything I've seen in CO, but it is all good to go. A guide isn't really necessary, because you can scout everything. If you scout all the class V it is a REALLY long day, so you should: A - find a guide B - be prepared to take a few big beatdowns with a smile on your face C - break the run apart over a few days and do plenty of scouting.
 

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Low end of runnable for Lower Mesa?????? It can be run at any flow, though for the first drop at lower flows, sliding off the rocks at the put-in is recommended (I've got photos showing the alternative). Just did the run taking about above UPPER Mesa Saturday--plenty of water up there and probably for awhile into the fall.
 

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Like I said, second tier is always runnable, but the first drop doesn't work out so well at lower flows. I would think the top drop would be a little bony by the end of August (definitely could be wrong).

dvanhouten - have you been up there recently? Really curious on the status of that road to the falls. The hike down the talus f'n blows, but it is a worthy park n huck when you can drive to the drop.
 

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Road has been permanently closed & gated, but it is an easy hike (1 mile, drag boat) from the Upper parking lot, on the road we used to be able to drive. Classification has changed from 'park-n-huck' to 'hike-n-huck.'

Crew from Oregon was there Saturday, but they weren't very social.
 

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hey Joe - I don't know about the upper sections but the lower 5 are huge and fun (it is that I may vomit from nerves or cry type of fun for me but fun none the less) - make sure to stop in the Banks cafe at the confluence of the north and south payettes at the end of the run and get a piece of rhubarb pie and vanilla ice cream - it is a great way to end the day
Jen B.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Why must the road be permantly closed? No matter, I'm still interested. I'd like to see those low water pics. Whats the cut off for running the top half in the water? What gauge?

jen thanks for the beta. I didn't know you kept up with the boating world with all that schooling going on. I manage to get my buzz time in at 3am on my internship - hate nights, they really cramp my boating style. See you and your ball and chain on friday :wink: ? We're having a party if he forgot to mention it. Hope to see you guys.
Joe
 

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NF

If you have the time, definitely hit up the payettes. The NF is one of the best runs in the west. Incredible ratio of action to downtime (shuttling/flatwater). Just as others have said, start on the lower, then move to the upper and then the whole enchilada. The upper and lower both give you some time between rapids. There isn't anything much harder in the middle compared to the upper EXCEPT that there is very little to no downtime between rapids in the middle. Traditionally the flow is calculated by taking the Main Payette at Horseshoe and subtracting: SF at lowman, deadwood below deadwood res, and MF at crouch. Right now, the NF below cascade gauge reads real close to this, but I seem to recall that it has differed substantially in the past. You can get the est flow w/out the math from Phateye.com and going to their Idaho flow page.

Some other possibilities as you make the trip west... As mentioned earlier, the deadwood may be running. It is a loooooong shuttle and well worth paying someone to drive your car back to the take out if you decide to do it. Try asking about a shuttle on the kayakidaho.com forum. I think you hook it up through one of the raft companies there. The run is 20+ miles but it moves relatively fast. It's scenic with about 4 or 5 class IV-IV+ drops. Unfortunately, some of the good rapids will likely have wood and need to be walked. Overall, I'd say it's worth it for the scenery, but not so much for the whitewater. Don't worry, you'll get plenty on the NF.

Other runs that are more or less "on the way" are:
-The murtaugh section of the snake. You'll literally drive right by it on your way to boise (fun, class IV play run). Nice pics and description here: http://www.oregonkayaking.net/rivers/murtaugh/murtaugh.html
Word is that they will shut the water off sometime this month, but worth checking flows on your way out. You are looking for a min of 1200, take your playboat, there is a great hole about 1/3 the way into the run.
-Blackfoot river near blackfoot, id (just north of pocatello). This is a way underrated run. Good class IV+ with one class V-. Well worth the mandatory portage through poison ivy (bring some soap). If they are irrigating for the winter wheat crop in late august, you will likely have flow. Check the USGS gauge for blackfoot at shelley. That would be the minimum amount in the river. There may be as much as 175 cfs diverted above the gauge. You're looking for a min of 550 or so. PM me if you need more info.
 
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