2011 Upper Deschutes - A Day of Rest
June 17, 2011 at 7:09 AM
June 17 – June 20, 2011
Submitted by Scott Ogren
Many of us schedule our river trips to minimize the time we need to take off work. Often times, that means we pack as much river into as few of days as possible – and we hurry our way down stream so we can tell ourselves and our friends all that we did over the weekend. I was on a trip last summer where we did just the opposite, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the slowed down and relaxed pace of the trip. All we needed to do was take an extra day off work and agree to do less of the river than we were capable of.
On Friday, June 17 a gaggle of kids, adults and dogs lazily left the Trout Creek boat ramp on the Upper Deschutes River headed for Whiskey Dick. The sun was shining, clouds were few and far between and the wind was calm. The kids were playing, shooting water, jumping from boat to boat and all the adults could talk about was how nice it was going to be to have a layover day at Whiskey Dick.
We arrive at camp and we were a little disappointed to find that another group had the same idea and had already been in the prime camping spot at Whiskey Dick for a day or two and so we had to go around the corner and park our boats in the large eddy. That turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to us. The kids spent the afternoon playing in the water, climbing on the wood that had settled in the eddy, and generally having a great time. Some chose to fish well into the evening without a care in the world.
The next morning we all woke up to a small rain shower and the common theme was, “If it’s going to rain on a river trip, the best day to do it is on a layover day.” The timing of it all was perfect – we all hung out under the tarps we had set up until the rain stopped around 10:30 am while some slept in and enjoyed the fact that there was no hurry to be in. We spent the morning drinking coffee and hanging out waiting for the rain to stop, and when it did we spent the rest of the day playing. Our layover day was spent being lazy, hiking, playing games, fishing and loving the fact that we didn’t have a thing to do.
About the most useful thing we did was everyone who was rowing a boat made the walk down to Whitehorse Rapid and pre-scouted the day before we ran it. That saved a lot of time because the next morning we just lined up and ran it. Other than that, the view from the cliffs that overlook the plateau at Whiskey Dick was pretty cool.
We spent one more night camping at Lower Rainbow Bend and ended our trip at Harpham Flat, so that meant our trip was 32 miles in total with each day we floated was only about 10 or 12 river miles. Short days on the river with a layover mixed in were just the right mix to make for one of the most relaxing trips I have been on in years.
I highly recommend adding a layover day to any river trip. The one thing that all of the adults on the trip kept saying was that layover day was one of the best river days any of us ever had. And that made the rest of the trip just that much better. At this point, it’s going to be hard to run the Upper Deschutes River with kids and not include a layover day…it was that good. Trust me, the extra vacation day is well worth it.