FRI 8-22…… Got back to the Van at the camp site on the north end of Brownlee Reservoir about 4:00.
I spent a couple of hours getting stuff out of the Cataraft and consolidating everything. I have lightened the load/weight in the Cataraft significantly which should make it much easier for me to maneuver and position to go thru the several rapids there are. They fluctuate between 3’s and 4’s depending on how much water they are releasing out of the dam.
In addition, I have about 10 plus or minus miles to get to Heller Bar and could end up rowing most of that. I have floated the Grande Rhond to Heller Bar a couple of times, but that doesn’t come in to the Snake very far from Heller Bar. I could have taken out at Pittsburg Landing, but wanted a break from out of the Kayak as much as I could, and this gives me that opportunity.
The rest of the trip from Heller Bar to Lewiston and then thru the four dams in Washington will all be done in the Kayak, probably about 160 miles I think.
It is raining, so I am glad I am in the Van gives me a break from the rain and being in the tent in the rain and wind and I need it.
SAT 8-23….. Didn’t get in a hurry this morning. Finished getting things squared away and headed up to Oxbow Dam. Stopped at the dam and cooked a good breakfast. Finished off the two eggs left I had bought in Swan Valley as I was getting ready to leave Palisades Dam, hash browns, warmed up the steak I had left over from barbequing last night and an orange juice. Hit the spot. Then took off for the Hell’s Canyon Dam about 21 miles downriver. Once I got into the gorge I just knew I was going to change my plans and have to kayak this, as the videos and pictures will show.
Got to the put in and talked to the girls at the Forest Service Visitor Center. They drive back and forth from Halfway 4 days a week and someone else takes over for the 3 days. Long drive and a treacherous one to say the least. Has to be at least 100 miles round trip. Doesn’t make sense. I bought a few books for the tipi. I changed my mind on the shuttle/the drive to White Bird and called Diane at the Snake River Shuttle and had her plan on picking up my rig on Tues afternoon late, Wens morning and have it down at Heller Bar by noon on Friday. The float to Heller Bar is supposedly a 5 day 4 night trip. So that is Tues, Wens, Thurs and Fri and wouldn’t surprise me if I don’t shave a day off.
I found a boat ramp within site of the Hell’s Canyon Dam, and will put the kayak in, get it loaded up and take off down river, down reservoir so I can do Hell’s Canyon Reservoir. The wind is blowing slightly and will hope on the way back it isn’t blowing.
If it is, will just hitch hike back and go get the kayak. If I do kayak down and back that is about 40 miles a good two nights I hope, nothing else to do, I would rather be on the water. Anybody can drive the road, but there is absolutely nobody on this reservoir, they don’t seem to be on it much. Sure was a lot of them on Oxbow Reservoir however. Also a lot of private residences and cabins.
The wind did blow, but fortunately it was blowing up river and that is the way I was going. Found a good place to camp for the night, at least it appeared that way at first. Once night time came and it got dark, the crickets were the loudest I have ever heard them. I finally got to sleep, but it was not the best place I have stayed to be sure.
SUN 8-24…. Beautiful, quiet no wind morning again, pretty much the way it is every day this time of year. Paddled to the Oxbow Dam and had to take out across the river at the only boat ramp on the Oregon side of the reservoir. Then walk about 1 mile and cross the bridge to hitch hike back. Not thinking ahead, I realized after about an hour of no traffic, it was Sunday evening, nobody was going to be putting in and the Hell’s Canyon Dam put in and I was not going to get a ride. I thought about just going back and kayaking back down river to the van, but I was just way to tired and wanted a break tomorrow on Monday a day before I put in for Hell’s Canyon.
I heard some guys laughing and talking down below the bridge, so I went down and asked if they would do be a favor and run me back down river the 20 miles to my Van. $20 bucks later for gas and $10 for beer I was at the van and on my way back to the Kayak in about an hour. Once I was loaded up, I decided to drive up out of the canyon to Halfway, OR where I knew there was a grocery store, fill up with gas, have cell service and perhaps something to eat.
That is what I did. I was in Halfway by 7, had a French Dip with fries, bought groceries, but found out I would have to wait until in the morning to get gas, they were closed. I drove out of town and found a place to park and settled down for the night.
MON 8-25…. Woke up to the sound of Elk Bugling out in the fields. Reminded me of when Durbin and I were up in Northern Utah on the Green River. Went back to town and got gas, finished a few things on the internet and head back down into the canyon.
Went back to the put in to try to talk the girls into letting me put in a day early. Wouldn’t do it, so went back down reservoir about 1 mile found a great place to spend the rest of the day and night, relaxed and finished a book and started another one.
TUES 8-26…. Was the first one at the put in, got the boat in the water and went up and checked in. One of the girls came down and checked to make sure I had what was necessary, which is an approved life vest, toilet and Evasive Species permit. While there, two more private parties showed up. One of them said he would walk me thru the worst of the first two Class IV rapids so that is what I had planned on doing. Him and his girlfriend were going to Pittsburg Landing, but they had enough stuff for a month’s trip, never seen anything like it.
Once on the river, it became clear they were not going to be able to keep up with me. I was at the first Class IV quickly, went ahead and read the river and went on thru it. Did the same at the 2nd Class IV and was down river quite a ways by the end of the day. Absolutely no problems at all.
WENS 8-27….. Another uneventful day going thru Hell’s Canyon. Lots of rapids, one is constantly rowing and maneuvering, very little chance to just relax, one of the disadvantages of being by yourself. It was all day this way. I managed to get all the way to where the Imnaha River comes in and camped there. Being there reminded me of when Cam and I were on the Main Salmon and spent a night camped were the Middle Fork comes in. I was so tired I never even put the tent up, just laid it out and fixed some pasta with tuna fish again and went to bed. I was beat. No loud crickets this time.
THURS 8-28….. It became apparent I was going to do this trip in 3 days. I got to Heller Bar about 4 in the afternoon and my Van was already there which helps big time. Meant I could get the kayak ready and in the water, go on down to the Boat Ramp in Lewiston which I did. Went and had a good Cesare Salad with chicken, a good night’s sleep and was prepared to get back to Heller Bar first thing in the morning.
FRI 8-29…. I was Hitch Hiking back to Heller Bar by 9 in the morning. Got a ride from a retired school teacher that was going bike riding. He took me about 6 miles. Then got a ride from an Oars Shuttle driver who was taking a rig down to Heller Bar, couldn’t have been any better.
Was back on the water headed to Lewiston by 10:30 and arrived back at the Van at about 5:00. Very tired tonight, after the Hell’s Canyon and all of that rowing and then paddling another 21 miles or so in the Kayak I was beat, as tired as I have been. Looks like I will have to take it easy for a day and let my body catch up. Went back to the same restaurant I ate at last night and had a small steak and prawns, small Cesare, baked potato and some fresh hot vegetables. Very good dinner. Was a sleep by 9:00 I think it was.
SAT 8-30…. At Les Schwab’s by 7:00 and got the flat tired fixed and back on the spare tire rack. Went to Albertson’s and got some more stuff, it might have to last me for 6 or 7 days, not sure what to expect down river between here and Burbank, WA where the Snake goes into the Columbia. Found a good place to get the Kayak ready for this first section and am getting caught up and dragging my feet. Once again, I am very tired.