The wicked gate has been removed. In a week the talk about it will end, and in a month even I will not remember much about it. But last night, and the night before, Number 15 haunted my sleep as I tried this, and I tried that, to push through the portal.
“You’re hesitating,” Paul Norman advised. “Don’t hesitate. When you get to the gate take a strong stroke.”
I listened. I thought I did. But I never made it through the gate. Paul did and paddled into river heaven. Tonight I’ll be swimming downstream, holding on to a gunnale, headed for a class IV down below. Paul will be waving to me from the side of the river, waving a big silver trophy over his head.
The first part of this video has footage from Laurent’s trip on the Lower Wilson. This trip had some relatively new people to the club on it, plus my son Leland and niece Iris–ringers that really helped drive the average age of participants down (both are 21). I think there were about 14 paddlers–two tandems, everyone else solo. Level was around 1750 cfs. The last part of the video shows some runs the next day on the Wilson Narrows. I didn’t get much because it was raining, but the Narrows gets your attention at 1800 cfs and is a lot of fun.
Well, this is a trip report of sorts. It is an adventure report more precisely. The Salmonberry is always an adventure. Most folks would consider the shuttle an adventure in and of itself, but further, what river can you think of that two out of three times results in a broken paddle? And those broken paddles are not even part of the story.
The first time I ran the Salmonberry, which does not have a gauge, it was a tad high. The nearby Wilson was well over 3000 cfs. The second time I ran it the Wilson was at 2200 cfs and steady and the first two miles was decidedly too low. The rest of the run intimidating. I remember Audz commenting (quite often) she was having too much fun. After the run Paul asked me if I remembered it being so hard. I did not. This third run was at a level unheard of. The Wilson was at 770 cfs and dropping. I will have to admit to being a tad too prone to heuristic thinking. A post said Murray and Paul had been to the put in and deemed it runnable. It was only after committing to the run that I discovered the true depths (or lack of depths) of the level. I went anyway.
Nothing like having two paddlers like Michael Allender and Murray Johnson with you when you paddle a river that’s new to you. Having a friendly level helps too. The Siletz at 1100 cfs is an eddy hopper’s delight. See for yourself.
Ten of us did this at a flow of 1900 cfs and dropping. Great level for running Baby Bear. The clip at the end actually comes from a run in February where Baby Bear looked so ugly that even Denny walked it.