IDAHO - Salmon River
NEPAL 2003

Oregon 2000
Godshpeed, Godshpell USA 2000
Trip Dates: 16th to 29th May 2000
Flight: Heathrow to San Francisco, UKP350, 11hrs out, 9hrs return
Team Members: Lee, Gary, Steph, Garf, Marco, Mick Posner (part time)
`Just one more gin and tonic !' . We were 10hrs into the flight and only Garf was still drinking with me. However, before the end of the flight, he was to spend some time looking down the airplane's toilet bowl. In all our team managed to consume 1.5l of G&T miniatures as well as a list of other beverages. We had little trouble flying our 4 boats. At San Francisco airport, we picked up our `Mercury Moutineer 4WD' to be our home for the next 2 weeks (UKP600 hire). Steph drove us on our first leg with horrendous hangovers to Coloma for the next mornings warm up on the Chilli-bar (South fork of the American River). Of course now in California, we had to breakfast as the Americans do. The immense feast caused us to feel very sick and out of breath once on the river and is my primary excuse for my donkey grade 3 swim.  As well as normal campsites, the Americans have `primitive campsites' which have a minimum of a parking area and toilet (similar to NZ).  After paddling the North Fork, we stopped at the REI outdoor shop at Sacramento to buy the shop's supply of thermorests. I then lost my spray deck by leaving it on the truck's roof to dry (trying to make up for the missing Bateson).  Lee and I spotted some nice chicks in the truck next to us in the traffic. Thinking that we had to act as ambassadors for our country, we started to wave and be sociable. The hidden boyfriends in the back of the car revealed themselves by winding down their tinted window and didn't look very impressed. Remembering that there's more guns than people in America we quickly turned off to find the freeway and our route up to Oregon.
During the long drive, we explored our vehicle's cruise controls and electric powered seat. We paddled the North Umpqua near Winchester en route which had lots of good play spots including an excellent wave that the four of us could surf together.  We drove to Mick's house in Portland, drank his beer and ate his food. Micks house was very clean and tidy (before we arrived); we think he'll make someone a good wife one day. Mick has a cool truck which seats 6 and you can put boats in the back. Together, we paddled the Clackamas and played in a stopper called `Bob's Hole' which provided excellent puns such as `Bob's hole is fun to play in, but there's a load of shit below it you don't want to get stuffed in'. The Americans we bumped into laughed at our boats. To them, the Kendo is old hat and they don't recognise the Topos at all.  American TV is crap, one morning they had a 10 minute advert on a beauty product called `Nads'... `Pamper yourself with Nads' they said.

Mick's pool

I took a day off paddling and went into Portland with Steph. We accidentally turned up in a rough part of town and shat our pants mingling with vagrants, cripples and all sorts of potential muggers. We hastily managed to escape to the shopping areas.   Monday 22nd was Lee's Birthday, Mick insisted on going to work as he was trying to move in on a girl in the office (sadly he got blown out). We paddled the West Fork of the Hood River, but got on far too early and had to do a massive grade V portage around a gorge blocked by a fallen tree.

There's lots of beautiful wildlife to be seen in the states, we saw birds of all sorts of different colours, giant butterflies that land on your paddles as you bob down the rivers, loads of eagles, squirrels, big ratty creatures and even a deer (but no wild beavers). In the evening we went out for pizza and beers ending with a drunken rampage home playing `shove 'em in the hedge'. Steph showed her true vandalistic colours releasing the estate advertisers balloons.

The next day turned out to be the most epic day. The keen paddlers in the group wanted to mark up a high grade river for the trip log book and chose the grade IV (V) section on the Farmlands section of the White Salmon river over the border in Washington state.  The river was running quite high and after several sections including the awesome `Sidewinder' (me and Mick portaged), we found ourselves slowed down and inspecting drops as we ran the first few stages of the gorge. I was quite surprised at how the mood had suddenly changed for the first time during the trip. The others looked quite petrified. I felt quite accustomed to years of being in danger of my life and was probably the most calm - but I shouldn't have been. As we rounded the next corner, I found myself looking straight into the mouth of Mr F**k off big-bastard stopper. With no hope of evasion, I went straight in and was spun around deep in the stopper (while still in my boat) for quite some time. I was spat out after pulling my deck, then went for a very fast gorge swim. I got to the side thanks to Lee's boating and Garf's line throwing. The others then paddled a short distance before getting out and having a difficult climb, only achievable due to an old fence cable that was dangling into the gorge. I don't think I've ever been pleased to see Lee before, but definitely was when I'd been waiting 2 hrs and eventually saw his face at the top of the cliff armed with a rope. That night we camped out under the stars, re-told our epic tales and reflected on how happy were to be alive. We also wondered how Mike Leaford would take the news that the new club Kendo was lost.

Next day we spent some time looking for the boat, going to the police etc. The others paddled the lower section of the same river to see if they could see it but without any luck. We later returned to Portland to watch Mission Impossible II which had come out that day.   The next couple of days involved a lot of driving (we covered 3000 miles in 2 weeks). We paddled on the Rogue river on the way back and were unable to find a campsite during our journey. The friendly ranger woke us the following morning `here's your early morning call folks - did you know you're camped in a parking lot ?'. Next me and Gary had a water fight and a grumpy Ginger Tosser kicked me in the nads when he got squirted with some water.  Lee, Gary and Garf got on the North Fork of the Yuba at Sierra city to have their last proper paddle. Garf got caught in a pour-over, swam and lost his paddles. He set off again armed with his splits, but humorously took another swim when his splits `split' and entered the next chewy drop with a paddle in each hand. They decided to call it a day after shooting 2 miles of the 13 mile section and walked out.

The paddling over, we transformed into tourists for the last 1.5 days and looked forward to our visit to Alcatraz Island and the streets of San Francisco. We had been quoting lines from the film `The Rock' all week such as `Welcome to the rock' and `Goodspeed, Godspeed, Godspell' with appalling Sean Connery impressions. We were very pissed off to find that all visits to the island were booked. We were also very pissed off to find that as it was memorial weekend, the traffic was extra busy. We did get to see some of San Fran including Golden Gate bridge, Fisherman's wharf and the very steep Lombard street where the others shat themselves with my driving incase we might roll back into the car behind. The flight back involved far less alcohol as the lads counted down the hours to TBJ (you can work out what that means for yourselves).

Usual disclaimer applies to all river information. Grades are ours on the day and real.
River Grade Length (miles) Level (cfs)
S.F American - Chilli Bar III 5.8 1500
N.F American - Chamberlain Falls III+ (IV) 4.8 2 on gauge
Sacramento - Box Canyon IV-/IV 7.5 ~1000
North Umpqua - Bogus to Susan creeks III 5 2910
Clackamas - 3 Lynx to Bob's Hole (Whey hey) III(IV) 9 2700
White - Keeps Mill to Wamic III(III+) 12 750
W F  Hood - 4 miles above white bridge park III+(V+) 4 ~1000
W.F. Hood - white bridge park to E.F. Hood IV(V+) 6.5 ~1000
White Salmon - Warner Rd to Green Truss V(V+) 5 (3 ran) 1500
White Salmon - BZ Corner to Husum  III+(V) 5 1500
Rogue - Nugget Falls to Gold Hill IV- 2 3180
N.F. Yuba - Sierra City IV+(V) 13 (3 ran) ~1200
Detailed Oregon levels and river information