2011 Grand Ronde River Trip Report
May 13, 2011 at 9:00 AM
OWA Float on the Grand Ronde
May 13-15, 2001
Minam to Hellers Bar on the Snake, 90 miles
9 boats, 14 people, 2 dogs, 7 shuttled vehicles
Flow: At put-in, 8,200 cfs. At take out, approximately 13,000 cfs.
The annual OWA Grand Ronde float launched on Friday the 13th under threat of deteriorating weather, but with excellent flows. Due to our extensive public relations gambit, we had one of our largest groups ever, including returning customers and new ones willing to brave the 50 mile second day of this trip. Unfortunately, word also got out to other boaters as well, and we saw a large number of parties on the upper section (but no one below Troy). No worries; there are plenty of great camps in the upper section, and we arrived at ours around 2 PM. Spud shared a beautifully presented smoked salmon fillet, personally caught and smoked just the week prior. A brief thunderstorm around midnight is all the bad weather we saw on day one.
The excellent flows pushed us thru the upper forested canyon, and into the lower canyon (high basalt flow bluffs, green grass side hills), arriving at our second camp around 3PM on day two. Some folks enjoyed a burger, shake and fries at Bogans Oasis at lunch time, and arrived an hour later.
Plenty of time to set up camp before a thunderstorm hit, with winds strong enough to break tent poles on two tents, but clearing out quickly enough that good humor was maintained.
On day three, we ran the Narrows rapid at around 12-13,000 cfs, with an easy cheater run on the left (at lower flow, the cheater run is right), and made it to the take out in time to enjoy an hour-long downpour (hey, we were still in our river gear) as we de-rigged. The water at Hellers bar was up to the pavement, higher than I've ever seen it, and Tom Hanson calculated the flow on the Snake to be around 150,000 cfs.