2012 Upper North Umpqua
June 01, 2012 at 10:35 AM
NWRA-OWA NORTH UMPQUA CAMPOUT
June 1-3 2012
Respectfully submitted by Walt Bammann
The 10th annual Umpqua Chapter campout on the N. Umpqua River was held the weekend of June 1, 2, 3 and the following is a “trip report”. There were 8 known trips reported and probably many more not mentioned to this writer. This writer personally tripped 6 times over the weekend. Three of them happened while using Jake’s makeshift launch site just above Dry Creek on Friday afternoon (see main article below) and I saw 2 other trips by helpers at that site. It’s tough looking for poison oak, dodging branches and looking for sticks in tall grass while walking single file with a heavy raft on one’s head. Apparently Jake has more practice at this than us as I didn’t see him trip once. This writer’s other trips came back at the campground -- once on a rock in his campsite, once on a root on the trail to the bathroom and once over his own feet while just walking (with a glass of wine). Luckily he was not talking or chewing gum at the time or he might have hit the deck and spilled either his wine or his guts. It is a well-known statistic that most injuries on raft trips occur on land and not on the water. The above certainly bears that out with an 8 on land to 0 on water. Stay safe out there and remember, don’t drink and walk. If you do, wear a helmet and life jacket for head and rib protection.
Sorry about the above. Other than the above trips, the weekend was another successful campout hosted by the Umpqua Chapter. It was great to see so many familiar faces and to make some new friends. We counted over 50 people attending at various times for the floating and bloating. We even got lucky on the weather as the few showers we had hit Friday afternoon and night and didn’t amount to much. The main float on Saturday enjoyed partly sunny skies and mild temperatures. The best news was that the potluck on Saturday evening stayed dry so we didn’t have to set-up tarps to cover the food.
Folks were rolling into the campground beginning Friday morning and quickly filled the camping areas. The Deerflat group area has only 9 hardened slots so we double-up and get friendly. There are many spots for tents and pull-outs for cars, trucks and boat trailers so we always find a way to fit in.
I’ve got to kid Jake a bit here. As noted in the first paragraph, his choice of a launch spot for an abbreviated float very late in the day on Friday was a bit challenging. There were several plusses, it was at a wide spot in the highway so getting hit by traffic wasn’t an issue. Most importantly, it did allow the 6 boaters in 3 rafts the opportunity to run several good rapids above the Horseshoe Bend launch while avoiding the slower section from Boulder down to here. On the minus side, the bank is a bit steep in spots, there was no trail and we had to carry the rafts on our heads in order to push our way through the brush to find the river. Once we got to the edge of the river, there was no eddy here and the bank had about a 3’ drop-off requiring the rafts to seal-launch into the current. We did our best to hold the boat back while people climbed on and the rower attached the oars. And then away they went! I should also note that I was one of 3 shuttle drivers who got suckered into helping with the launch……..
Saturday arrived with the sun peeking out and we began stacking boats on trailers and figuring out the shuttle process. We got lucky at Boulder Flat this year as we were the only group trying to launch. Garry Steffy once again volunteered to help with the shuttle so with his big van we managed to get all the drivers back to Boulder Flat by 11 AM which is easily the earliest we’ve ever launched. We ended up with 15 rafts/catarafts and 2 kayaks. The river was at 6.5’ on the Copeland Gauge which is about 2100 cfs. This is a great level with most of the holes being runnable providing some big hits for those venturing in. Everyone had a great time and I believe the only swimmer was from one of the kayaks for a very short time in one of the” Headknocker” rapids just below Pinball.
The bloat time came Saturday night at the potluck. As usual we enjoyed many dutch oven treats not to mention all the salads and appetizers. Prizes were awarded once again in the dutch oven contest for Main Dish, Side Dish and Dessert categories. First place in the Main Dish went to David Gester and Kathy Fletcher for their enchiladas and second place went to this writer for his white wine chicken with rhubarb. Side dish first place went to Lenise Kaup and Destiny for their potato au-gratin dish; second place went to Margaret Ann Anderson for her cauliflower/cheese mash. The dessert first place winner was Van (don’t know his last name) with a chocolate cheesecake creation. Second place was Garry Steffy’s peach cobbler. Many thanks to everyone contributing dishes.
As usual, Sunday is a bit quieter with many folks looking for a relaxing morning. Even so, 16 people were up for boating. Jake organized the trip on the Gravel Bin to Susan Creek section which is about 12 miles. This section has fewer rapids but the holes and waves are much bigger particularly in several rapids like Steamboat Falls, Wright Creek, Bathtub, Island, Ledges and Susan Creek. The group had 1 cat, 3 oared rafts, 1 paddle raft, 1 IK and a hardshell kayak. Jake reports that there was a swimmer or 2 but no carnage in spite of his paddle raft running the biggest holes at Island and Ledges.
Jody and I are already looking forward to next year. Many thanks to Suzi Richards who coordinated the OWA side of things and to everyone helping out.