Nov 8, 2014

Continental Divide Trail 2015

I've been writing more on my other blog lately...this winter I'm preparing for a northbound thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail. This hike will complete my triple crown of long distance trails in the U.S. and, more importantly, give me the chance to disappear into the wilderness for about 5 months. Can't wait!

I hope to do a lot of boating this winter, but many of my trips will be on two last weekend in the Ochoco Mountains near Bend:

Check in at throughout the winter if you are interested in the hike, and follow me when I start from the Mexican border mid-April and start hiking to Canada!


Sep 4, 2014

Paddle Camping on Smith Reservoir

Kirk had paddled on Smith Reservoir (McKenzie River drainage) as a kid growing up in the Oregon valley, and had always wanted to return. A paddle-in-only camp lay at the far end of the lake, and upstream? Packrafting potential.

We left summer in Bend to come to a drizzly-to-downpour kind of day on the rainy side of the mountains. It was ok though, Kirk remembered the dry tops...I however, didn't bring any rain gear. I was caught up in the summer dream.

The reservoir is two miles long, which for a packraft seems like a long time. We talked of sails and other kinds of boats that travel more effeciently on lakes, but all in all it was a wonderful float and our arms got a workout!

There are acutally 17 campspots at the end of the lake, many up off the banks of the water since Smith Creek seasonally unleashes a torrent of water into the reservoir. We found a cozy spot, set up camp and got ready to explore the creek.

Now we couldn't find much info on Smith Creek, and water levels were much too low to boat anything on this trip, but scoping it out for the future was the main plan.

We crossed the river in our boats, stashed them in some trees and began picking our way up the mossy boulders.

It started to rain while we were exploring, and the drizzle turned into quite a downpour. Walking on wet mossy rocks is an entirely different sport than hopping along on dry riverbed rocks. Think ankle breakers.

We didn't make it too far when we had to dunk out of the rain, my windshirt just wasn't cutting it.

But at least we had a good view

This creek can PUMP! Look at all those trees. The size of the rocks and size of the wood in the drainage lead us to believe this is a waterway to hit around the 600, 1,000 cfs range. Anything bigger would be quite a challenge.

We were waiting out the rain a good hour when we both came to the realization that rain on this side of the mountains can last all day. So, we headed back to camp knowing we had a dry tent to duck into.

I found walking in the water was more stable, and we slowly inched our way back.

The rest of the day passed, lots more rain, lots of napping, reading and just being. The evening dried out a bit and we were able to enjoy a campfire until night drove us into our sleeping bags.

We will be back, oh yes, we will be back. Probably hitting this in June or July could put us at the right water flows to boat some of Smith Creek, we'll have to let you know how that goes in the future!

Aug 18, 2014

Scouting Trip - Linton Creek

When I met Kirk I discovered the beauty of walking up creeks. The more mountainous, the more interesting...sometimes. A few weekends ago we decided to go check out Linton Creek which runs into Linton Lake on the West side of Middle Sister. It surely was not packraftable, but I had hopes for the upper meadows...if we could get far enough there could be some amazing boating opportunities upstream. 

Meanwhile I am discovering the joys of mapping trip tracks on Google Earth. I have been using the Trimble Outdoors Navigator App to create tracks on some of our hiking/skiing/boating trips this year, but didn't think to export the tracks to Google Earth till now. Wow. 

This is an overview of the area.

We didn't bring boats, it was merely to be a backpacking/bushwack trip along the creek. 

The trail in was quite pleasent

I wanted to swim

But kept hiking

until we could spash around here

we were in for a CLIMB.

But we did see waterfalls!

And on top we encountered....


And bugs

We did find some relief back on the creek

 But camp was nothing to take a picture of.

This particular bushwack, while having a few shiny moments over the whole weekend, was something I won't repeat. Next time I'll try and reach these meadows

from the upper trails!

Jul 27, 2014

R2ing the North Umpqua River - VIDEO

R2ing the North Umpqua River, Oregon from Renee Patrick on Vimeo.

I took my new GoPro on the North Umpqua river for two days of R2ing with Kirk & some kayaking friends. I took WAY too much footage and used up all the batteries before some of the bigger rapids on the section between Horseshoe Bend and Gravel Bin takeout. Regardless it was super fun to put together and I'm looking forward to making lots more movies of our trips in the future.

Jul 24, 2014


A few things have twarted packrafting plans lately....forest fire, food poisoning and lack of water!

However we're getting in the raft more & I'm working on a video from our R2ing adventure on the North Umpqua, thanks to my birthday present, a new GoPro.

Stay Tuned....

Our sweet little campsite on Quartzville Creek last weekend, before I got SICK SICK SICK from food poisoning. Not much water anyway...

Jun 4, 2014

Steamboat Creek - Day 3

We met Nick and his girlfriend on the first day of our trip, they took some photos of us and emailed them to us this week. Very cool! We don't often get these shots from a different perspective.

Nick ran the section we did Saturday in his IK.

When we talk about water being too low and rocky, this is one example

I got stuck on this one a bit
We woke in the middle of the night to rain falling on our sleeping bags. Because of the warm night we hadn't closed our vestibules, but fortunately nothing got too wet. By the time we woke the rain had passed us by and we had a blue sky above.

Ready to go!

We would finish out the gorge today and after portaging the lower falls, would have just about a mile left to the bike that I dropped at the end of the run.

The morning brought more scouting, some portaging, some not.

Here's a nice little drop that Kirk ran...

Not long after this we encountered the lower falls.

The last little stretch was calm and splashy. Before we knew it we had arrived at the confluence with Canyon Creek where I stashed my bike.

I ripped off the dry suit and rode the 10ish miles back to the car.

A sausage at the Dry Creek Store fueled the drive home and boom, the tranquil bliss of Steamboat Creek came to an end.

May 31, 2014

Steamboat Creek: rocks, rapids & sweat - Day 2

We woke scratching bites, courtesy of all the tiny little gnats that I hadn't realized were dining on us the evening before. I'm quite pleased we brought our double rainbow tent instead of a tarp.

The night was warm, the sleeping bags used as a quilts, and the day held the promise of adventure.

Last night during one of Kirk's wanderings (while I love reading at camp in the backcountry, Kirk loves exploring) he crept as far downstream as possible to note that we would be entering a gorged section soon. Sure enough we rounded the corner from our camp and into our first of many gorgeous gorges. (say that five times fast!)

We pulled to river right to scout. The creek split into two channels, but we couldn't see much from where we exited our boats, so walked downstream a bit. The first channel broke into several smaller channels with the largest producing an imposing rapid. Imposing for all the rocks showing at this water level. We hemmed and hawed over running it, and upon further inspection deamed the rocks more than we wanted to deal with.

Part of the right broke off into a few little side channels like this

The main right channel rapid ahead
We put in (the rapid is on the upper left) above here when we returned to our boats
The island proved to be about 100 yards of a volcanic rock shelf and by the time we worked our way to the end of it, knew we wanted to swim the calm blue waters of the right channel to make our way to the island to see what the left channel had in store for us.

Island on the left
Again, the beauty of dry suits! We hopped in the water and were on the island in seconds. With a view of the left channel we determined that outlet too was too shallow to run. Bummer. But we worked our way back upstream to the point where the channels split to check out the conditions of the right channel from a different perspective. Hmmm, no dice.

Kirk goes for a swim

I had the brilliant idea of crossing the left channel and working our way upstream so that we could swim back to our boats (really, I didn't want to backtrack if we didn't have to). The creek was shallow enough to make our way across, and once on the opposite side we hiked upstream and swam across the full creek to our boats.

boats on the other side
That's when it happened. Our waterproof camera decided to crap out on that swim. No more camera. It has increasingly taken worse and worse photos until the whole thing fogged up and proved to be useless for the rest of the weekend, which was a shame because the MOST picturesque and KNARLY sections were next.

Well, we both decided to portage the right channel's rapid. Once below the rapid we were in a deep channel of rock and deep deep blue water. I just love it when the water is this color.

Right around the corner we spied an awesome rocky beach river left and decided it was time for lunch and a good nap. With only 10 miles to do over three days, we luxuriated in the time we had each day, and since all the scouting and portaging had taken some time, why not have lunch!

We paddled over, ate a bunch and spread out on the rocks for a snooze in the sun. We both brought our Eno hammocks to use on the trip, but as most of the shore was covered in poison oak, i wasn't brave (or stupid) enough to try and hang it from the surrounding trees. A rocky beach proved to be just perfect in the warm sun.

After rousing ourselves I looked downstream to notice the fencing of the parking area above the upper Steamboat Creek Falls. We were already really close to our next portage. The upper falls are about 20' and were NOT runnable at this water level, not counting the rebar and man-made junk in the second tier of the rapid. An old fish ladder was knocked down and pieces landed in the waterfall.  Granted I would NEVER run them, but Kirk, that's another story.

Photo from
The above photo was taken at a higher water level than we experienced.

Below that we had a calm mile of creek until we passed under a bridge that takes people to the falls over look and a campground.

We wanted to get away from the road to make camp that night, and we keep pushing on, not finding much suitable.

We entered another long gorge section. We got out to scout a few times, running one, walking the other due to the water being too low over a rocky ledge feature.

Then came the big daddy. We had to walk a few hundred yards on rock ledges (river right) to see exactly what the waterfall looked like, and it looked like death. Ok, not death exactly, but a fat log in the bottom made the run un-runable, again, not that I ever would. So this big one was worthy enough for me to dig out my phone to take the next photos. I don't know that my words could do the area justice.

Kirk dragging his boat behind on the portage

That is not for me, but incredibly cool. River-wide log in the bottom not visible in photo.

We had to drop ourselves & boats into the water up there
We were traversing quite high above the creek, but we managed to slide ourselves and our boats fairly close to the water and then threw our boats in water and jumped in off a small shelf. Which is a good reminder to me to practice getting in my boat from the water. I suck at it and thank goodness we weren't in moving water.

There were very marginal camping choices in the next little bit of creek, and we ended up doing a few more scouting journeys to check out more gorged sections. I was getting tired. We had both been sweating profusely in our dry suits over the last big portage...and that is not pleasant.

I cursed myself for passing by a better camp option than we had seen in a while when we ended up having to yet again scout. But as luck would have it, we found camp around the bend and I'm glad we waited.

We scored a sandy beach.
Right below a little rapid
Our yard sale approach to cooking.
It was truely a great day.