Mar 29, 2016

John Day River

It was the weekend, and adventure was at our fingertips.

It has been a fairly wet winter and spring, so when we looked at the water flows around Oregon, we thought it would be a good opportunity to try our luck at some of the desert rivers and creeks. Now we knew the desert rivers were flowing, but were some of the smaller creeks? Many of these are only boatable in the spring, so it was worth a trip out to the John Day area to find out.

We first choose Burnt Creek which runs along the Painted Hills area, one because it would be a stunning float, and two, because why not?

When we got there we first checked out the Painted Hills.

Then soon determined Burnt Creek probably never has enough water to packraft, at least not while all the willows in the creek made for pokey sticks that might sink a packraft. Now a hardshell would be a fun bomb run at high water.

So we looked up the dirt road to the John Day River.

Water flows were 4,400 cfs, plenty for a raft, so plenty for a packraft.

We had neglected to throw a bike in the car, and these roads were so sparsely traveled, that we would need to float the old fashioned walking upstream and floating back to our car.

We found a sweet spot to car camp on the river, and set out for a little hike.

This is a stunning area, and it left us wanting to spend more time over here. It's just over 2 hours from Bend, maybe we'll be back next weekend too!

The next day we packed up our packs for a walk upstream to the next boat launch.

Because there's a fair amount of private property in the area, there aren't many spots to access the river.

Once we got to the Priest Hole put-in, we pumped up our boats. I'm using my new bow bag that Kirk made for me this week. It will help to have small things accessible along our future packrafting trips.

It was a lovely float.

Spring was definitely still in the air, and the wind had a bitter cold hint to it.

There were a couple of splashy Class II sections, but mostly it was a mellow float.

I think we will be back next weekend...this time with our raft!