​Day 4 – 14 miles – 2.5 hiking,11.5 river miles (42.3 total)

When I woke up I knew I only had 2.5 miles to go to meet the main fork of the Owyhee river. I made short order of those miles and when I got to the confluence I was stoked to see the river was flowing. Break out the packraft!

I put on the water and it was as good as I could have imagined. The cliffs were towering over the river and I was floating  along giggling at how difficult the last few days had been, and now how easy the float was.

Just in time for lunch I realized the water seeping out of some rocks were warm springs. No soaking pools, and some barely warmer than the water, but warm springs none-the-less. I pulled over where there were a few small streams, and lay down in the shallow cascade feeling like a million dollars.

Warm springs!

There were several more warm springs before the big one – Three Forks warm springs. Right before I got there I noticed a man on the bank. I surprise him when I said hello. He was out with his grandson – Ron and Gavin had been hiking and had even tried to hike a bit of the canyon near Anderson Crossing the day after I was there. This was their first time here, and were camped out for a few days. I explained my adventure with them and it turns out Ron is a member of ONDA and he lives over in the valley! And he hadn’t even been aware of the Oregon Desert Trail.

I was approaching the Three Forks warm springs when I saw more people. In fact they were kids tubing. When I saw cascading waterfalls I knew the soaking pools were up off the river, so I pulled over I made my way up. What a blissful scene. Warm water, deep blue pools, amazing. I enjoyed my soak but there were other people around and I was enjoying my solitude, and even though I considered camping there for the night it was only 3 p.m. so I decided to push on.

So many people

I passed the Three Forks boat launch and the other Fork of the Owyhee (which was barely a trickle). I knew I had a Class IV+ rapid around the corner called the ledge. Because the water flow was so low I wasn’t sure if the rapid would be just a bunch of boulders I could navigate in the slow water, or if it would be something I would have to walk around. I have lots of experience scouting rivers with Kirk, and am comfortable in Class III. I’ve run Class IV before, but would definitely not on this trip as I’m by myself. I came into this trip feeling confident I could figure out the best course of action.

When I got there I could see a horizon line and lots of large boulders so I pulled over river right to scout. It didn’t look like the boat could fit through any of the rocks so I decided to go to river left and double check from that angle. Once I was on the other side of the river I could definitely see none of the channels were big enough for my boat, the water was just too low. So I began a slow process of walking and lining, climbing over rocks, and walking in the water to get my boat past the impossible rocks. I thought I was done but there were more, in fact the rapid seem to be about a quarter mile long before I was in calm water again. All in all it took about 45 minutes to get through that section, so it gave me some perspective on whats to come.

Hmmm, how to get through?

I floated just to while longer until I saw a sandy bench under some trees where I decided to make camp. I am exhausted but exhilarated that I made so much progress today and have started my packrafting portion on the adventure. There are a number of notable rapids coming up, but I will take each one as they come, and do what I gotta do to keep going forward.

2 thoughts on “​Day 4 – 14 miles – 2.5 hiking,11.5 river miles (42.3 total)

  1. So glad you had an easy day – relatively speaking of course! Keep up the good work and all the folks you meet expand your and their knowledge for sure.
    Love you,
    Mom

    Like

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