Tag Archives: kayaking

Lostine River, OR -The Wallowa Mountains

The Wallowa Mountains are a mountain range located in the Columbia Plateau of northeastern Oregon in the United States. The range runs approximately 40 mi northwest to southeast between the Blue Mountains to the west and the Snake River to the east. The range is sometimes considered to be an eastern spur of the Blue Mountains. Also called the “Alps of Oregon” Much of the range is designated as the Eagle Cap Wilderness, part of the Wallowa–Whitman National Forest. The highest point in the range is Sacajawea Peak, at an elevation of 9,838 feet above sea level. The Wallowa Batholith is formed of granite from a magma upwelling in Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous time (between 160 million and 120 million years ago)

Most precipitation in the area is orographic precipitation. Near the tops of the mountains, total annual precipitation can exceed 100 in per year, as opposed to 10 in in the valleys. The Lostine River is a tributary to the Wallowa River draining northwest from the north side of Eagle Cap.

Before this trip Matt King had dialed in a few rivers in the Wallowa’s and after a cross-country road trip, back home for 8 hours, I was on my way to the Lostine with Jacob Cruser. We met up with Tygh and Matt and headed to the river.

The put in. The last calm pool you will see.
The put in. The last calm pool you will see.

 

After the put-in the Lostine tilts on edge and the whitewater begins. A lot of blind turns and consistent gradual gradient goes until the first long boulder garden.

The long boulder garden on the Lostine River

 

The last couple rapids build into vertical walls with an intimidating rapid to exit the gorge and reach the take-out. After ducking a log-jam and catching an eddy on river left, you can see the take-out eddy downstream on river left…in between is the exit crux. This section can be seen from the take-out bridge. Scout well and have fun. The Lostine as well as the greater Wallowa’s are packed full of adventure.

 

Log ducking before the final rapid.
Log ducking before the final rapid.

 

Tygh cruising into the take-out
Tygh cruising into the take-out

 

The Lostine was an instant classic with easy access, flat water put-in shortly followed by non-stop action. The character starts out with fast paced shallow boulder gardens that eventualy forms into a bedrock gorge before the take out bridge.

For video on the Lostine River and a couple other Wallowa Classics, check out this edit by Jacob Cruser

 

Flows: Flows are hard to catch in the Wallowas, but the best time is the spring/summer run off when the rivers slowly drop into a good flow range
Take-out: High bridge on Upper Lostine Rd.
Put-in: About 4 miles up the rd. near the first calm pool.

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Cispus River, WA – Super Slides

Years have gone by since I first heard of this run. Many reports from years back were shrouded in complaints of numerous portages and a lot of work to just get to this short piece of the Cispus River. The Super Slides run on the far upper reaches of the Cispus River is an incredibly unique section of whitewater. The gradient starts at a fun level and gradually continues as you slide further and further down the mountain.. Once your in the canyon much of the run is nearly a football field wide and non-stop sliding gradient. This was my first trip in there and after wanting to go for years I finally got that extra push this year from Scott Matthews. On day four of our Tshletshy trip this year he had mentioned discovering the Super Slides years ago. He had mentioned that he has wanted to go back for quite sometime…

Scott Matthews on Day 4 of Tshletshy sharing some of his stories about the Super Slides

On a run that has been described as “very frustrating to even find”, who better to go with than the man who put in the work to break down all the logistics. And as you could imagine, his logistics were spot on. We met up the road from the suggested bridge take-out at a trail head that dropped down at the end of the canyon, cutting off the last 1.5 miles of portaging. Scott insisted this was the best way to exit the run. On our way to the put-in we hit snow about 2 miles from the put-in.

Scott and Brett making their way past the snow on the hike-in

After about an hour of hiking we started dropping down into Goat Creek. The flow was on the low side and just around the corner from our put-in we were on top of a couple waterfalls with shallow landings. After some brief excitement and a tricky portage on the right we were on our way down Goat Creek…before we knew it we were portaging up and over into the confluence with the Cispus River. The slides started and seemed to go forever. The first big horizon was wide open and as clean as it gets. One after another we were sliding down the side of the mountain between canyon walls. We slid our way down to Bonsai Falls, the largest drop on the run. After a brief scout for wood we were back in our boats and smiling the whole way down the falls, so much fun! Below Bonsai we turned the corner to one of the most spectacular whitewater scenes you will witness, Walupt Creek Falls.

Scott and Brett paddling past Walupt Creek Falls

Around a couple more corners we got out at the first possible exit to the canyon and hiked up about 30 min to the cars. The beauty and scale of the canyon are in-explainable and awe-inspiring, you have to go see for yourself. We had only one wood portage on the main Cispus at the very end of the Super Slides, just before the hike out trail. If you pass the trail, you will end up in a section known as “the swamp” where you will grow more and more frustrated as you make your slow pace to the take-out bridge.

Other whitewater nearby Cispus River

Muddy Fork of the Cispus

Ohanapecosh River

Lower Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon

Lower Bridal Veil is a breathtaking two teired waterfall just off the Historic Highway in the Columbia River Gorge. You can access it from I84 off Exit 28 (eastbound only) then take a right back toward the parking area, a 1/2 mile long trail leads down to the observation deck for the view of the falls.

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Brett Barton captures the beauty of Bridal Veil Falls

Lower Bridal Veil has seen it’s fair share of kayakers in the last ten years…

It’s also another classic park and huck waterfall for kayakers in the area since it was first run in 2001.


Cody Howard running the lower tier of Lower Bridal Veil Falls
Chris Korbulic running the lower tier of Lower Bridal Veil Falls

This creek has some interesting history due to the logging mill operation throughout the creek. Here are a few photos I found of the alterations of the Lower Falls during the early 1900’s.

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PC_bridal_veil_falls_ca1910_bwBridal Veil Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

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