2013 Lower Deschutes Spring Break Float
March 23, 2013 at 8:15 PM
Saturday, March 23, 45 boaters on 13 cats, 9 rafts and two kayaks left Buckhollow for the annual OWA Lower Deschutes Spring Break Float. It was a cold start, but fortunately, it was not raining. With limited parking, unloading there is not easy, but eventually everyone was ready. The scenery was stunning and there were blue herons and deer along the way. This section is fairly peaceful after the Class III rapids near the railroad trestle. As we neared our first camp, the sun came out and it was a nice day. Once we took out at Beavertail, it was actually warm. The stocking hats were off and the sunglasses were on. After everyone set up their own tents and took off their dry suits, they started working on the main camp area. We had a few boaters join us here. Bee and Mark had camped here the night before and had delicious quesedillas ready for us almost immediately off the river. Brenda, sporting some trendy new glasses, and Vic joined us here as well, but possibly most importantly, Cary, probably the world's most gregarious floating bartender, met us here. That night's most popular beverage may have been his white Russians, but it was pretty sweet watching a couple of the younger campers order Virgin Strawberry Daiquiris. Some played games, but many sat around in circles catching up over Cary's cocktails. Fires were built and dinner was made. We had chili, salad and the best cornbread I have ever had. There were also homemade monster cookies after and campers were passing around ingredients to make s'mores. Thank you, Pat, Bee and Jan.
Sunday morning, as campers forced themselves out of their warm bags and tents, fires were built and coffee was made. Lots of good strong coffee. Joe and Julie offered a bagel extravaganza with salmon (caught by Joe) , Spanish capers, and cream cheese. They also provided biscuits and venison gravy. When asked if he shot the deer, Joe said, "No, I just convinced him to come home with me." Breakfast was a hit. After breakfast, tents came down, bags were sealed and loaded and boaters suited up. We were off again. This section of the river is very beautiful and reminded me of parts of the Grande Ronde. Some lucky boaters saw Longhorn sheep high up on a cliff. When we came ashore at Harris Camp, again campers set up tents and the main camp. This campground was not accessible by cars, so it was not a traditional camping ground. Tents were spread out throughout the desert grass, reminding me of earth-colored Easter eggs. Several campers took naps, but one patient fisherman caught a steelhead instead. We knew the bar was open when Cary's wonderful laugh echoed across the field. Before dinner, Sherry hosted an Easter egg hunt for the younger campers while the rest of us enjoyed appetizers. Thank you, Brian and Melissa. Sunday's dinner was spaghetti with salad and bread.Lots of good cookies for dessert. Thank you, Jim and Dominick. Cary received a special birthday cake that was enjoyed by all and yet was calorie free. Late into the night, conversations were rich around the campfire. Evidently, rafters like to travel, too. I enjoyed hearing about trips around the world. Thank you, Ben and Yakc
Monday morning, it was cold again, but the sun came out earlier. It felt nice to be out in the sun. Again, knowing that hot coffee was ready was appreciated as motivation for getting out of the warm sleeping bags. Thanks, Scott, for keeping that coffee ready throughout the morning. This morning's breakfast offered a burrito bar. Delicious eggs and bacon with various hot sauces. Thank you,William. We packed up one last time and hit the river for our last day. According to the map at the campground, this section has five Class III rapids. The float went by rather quickly with lots of good waves, welcomed splashes and abundant sunshine. As we approached the take out point, we saw more hikers along the river, warning us that we were nearing civilization again. Seeing I-84 confirmed that this trip was almost over. We took out at Heritage Landing. As usual, our members were very patient and generous, offering to help load other rafts before their own. This was a great trip. The people were all very nice and welcoming, the food was hearty and delicious and the river was peaceful, offering us uninterrupted time with some of our favorite people and a much needed break from reality.