Kayaking in California had pretty much came to an end and with a week or so of sitting round behind us we decided to load up the car and head to washington for a bit of a kayak mission. On monday we piled into the cars and drove for 12hours north and made our way to a small town in the Columbia River gorge called Hood river.
This would be our base for the week and we got to paddle the White and the Little White Salmon drainages. We had plans to head for montana aswell but with the thought of more driving and possible low water we stuck to the classic runs next to town. The first day we decided to step it up and run the little white salmon first. This was on the lower side of good but turned out to be an amazing run! The top half similar to NZ's Blackball creek and with the odd big waterfall in there to keep you really on your toes.
-Davey on double
-B boofing off the top drop on double
I was feeling good in the boat and keen to run the big falls on the run called spirit falls!
-Me on spirit Falls
Standing above it was a cool feeling and definatly something spiritual about it!
The river colour is a aqua blue illuminated by the rays of light making it to the bottom of the gorge.
-A lot of wood in these rivers! Me doing the limbo
Following spirit falls the river chills out with a few more smaller class 4+ drops till you make it to the fish hatchery and the take out.
That night we found a great campsite in a forest not far from the put in and slept well after a good intro to washington boating.
-Free camping in the forest
The next day I opted out of the river trip as i woke with one of my famous migraines (third one in 2 weeks!!)
-An unhappy day with a Migraine
So the other boys decided to do a speed run down the little white salmon and took 2 and a half hours off our time the day before!
-B firing off spirit on day 2
On thursday we headed one valley over and put on a section of the White salmon called the 'Green Truss'. This run was very similar to the wairoa but with a lot more going on. not for into the run we came to a drop called 'Big Brother' and B and I decided to get it a go. Ben set up safety right at the base of the falls above a nasty Pothole cave/tunnel which we really wanted to avoid.
-Ben setting up a safety line in the cave!
So with Ben set up in the cave B and I played paper, Sissors, Rock to see who would go first!
-B getting air on 'Big Brother'
B won with Paper beating my rock(that i always go with) and he steped up and ran in first.
-Me sticking the line after B
I was next and it was great! clean Boof and soft landing and nowhere near the cave of doom!
-B on 'Little Brother'
Right after this was a cool 15footer and then a bunch of crazy slot gorges and one mandatory walk around lower 'zigzag' gorge with was sieved out with trees.
Another great day on the water and a sweet new run to add to the books!
Thursday night we decided to stay in town and go to a wakeboard movie premiere and have a few drinks! Ben and I stayed out for the festivities and set up our tent in a car park in town and
woke to the sound of really long and loud trains every few hours in the night!
9am was our meeting time at the take out for the little white slamon, where we caught up with B and Davey and decided on a plan for the day. We decided we wanted to break the second run trip time and make it down the river in under 1hour 30min. Our first trip was 4hours long.
-Me boofing off the top of double drop
We slowly got ready and put on the river as Ben started his stopwatch we splashed our faces and we were off.
We were bombing down a classic run one after another following the tail of boat in front and looking back to see the person behind flying off drops between 2 and 20feet high.
We made the bottom in no time and relaxed in the sun at the take out and talked about our great week of boating and the 12hours driving ahead of us.
-Trading river stories, before the drive home
To break up the trip we stopped in at a friend of ben's house in a town called Bend. Thanks to Jason and Hunter for letting us crash at your house and showing us round!
Saturday was a long day on the road stopping ever few hours to stretch the legs and film some nice scenery!
-One of many volcanoes on the drive
-B catching some zzz in the back
Now we are back in California and Brendan is getting ready to fly back to NZ for teachers college and I am working to pay for the next mission in the trip. BC in a few weeks time!
Cheers to B, Ben and Davey for a wicked roadtrip north!
A BUNCH MORE PHOTOS FROM THE TRIP- Photos by Josh Neilson and Ben Jackson
-Interesting signs, and town names
-Getting creative with the wide angle lense off the video camera
-Hood river, Town of many kite boarders!
-Beautiful water colour in Washington!
-Mt Hood in all its glory!
-One of many rest stops over 2500kms!
-There is hope for america yet! A nice guy doing his bit!
-The kiwi part of the crew, Ben, Me, B
-Keep you head down!
- A different style to california! More like NZ!