I’ve spent a lot of this year writing about more personal things–it’s been a “full” year. So today I bring you something full-on paddling. About as close to a review as I’ll get.
Working around class IV/V kayakers for a decade I hear Meadow Camp, or Riverhouse referred to as our “Town Run”. And yes, for experienced boaters, it is amazing. With Meadow Camp you can put in upstream and literally paddle down to the shop. I’m totally jealous frankly, and have frequently suggested that I could do a lot with just a few sticks of dynamite well placed!! If there was a 6-8 mile class II/II+ stretch right here in Bend I might never leave! Hell, I’d settle for 3 miles.
With all that said, there is a short and easily accessed stretch just below Bend (below the Riverhouse run) that has enough flow for a short time of the year. It’s the “Tumalo to Twin Bridges” stretch offering the smallest of Frisky Ripples and two class I+/II- rapids ….both super short, very close to each other. Furthermore, the shuttle is short and easy. Win win!
I’ve run it several times, all very different water levels. The first time I’m guessing, about 300 CFS. Starting from the park you float through scenic areas and somewhat developed areas (houses on the riverside)–nothing crazy urban. You’re also treated to more rural stretches which makes it all worthwhile. The second time I ran this stretch it was under 100 CFS. I do NOT recommend this. We had to pick up our paddleboards and carry them over parts due to the low river level.
My favorite level was at 450 CFS where the water was high enough to pretty much cover all the rocks in the class II- section (barely) so you have to choose your line carefully to avoid catching a fin and Supermaning over your board. For me, that’s a fun. This time I ran it with my bud Jaymo. The stoke was high, the laughs frequent and very happy I didn’t have a long drive back to my house.
Most recently I did this run with new whitewater paddleboarder–been 5 times– friend/co-worker Kelli and “not new” WW SUP’er, Brent. Kelli is a year into whitewater kayaking, has a combat roll and knows how to read water, plus is strong and has good balance. She’s a natural with whitewater SUP due to all those things (and waaaay more risk-tolerant than this ol’ lady!). Brent is basically an “obsessive” meaning he can’t stand being a beginner at anything new he tries. He was actually a first-time paddler in my whitewater SUP clinic a few years back, and dedicated himself to the sport, practicing typically 5 days a week in the whitewater park and just plain getting after it. A great guy and solid paddleboarder and also learning his kayaking. They’re both two of the best people I know and was really happy to get out paddling with them together.
We reveled in the beauty of the day. We laughed at how both Brent and I over-dressed. I shared my odd “river pee anxiety” habit, which means I absolutely, without fail, HAVE to pee immediately before I get on the water (and then am fine, typically for the whole paddle). TMI? We laughed at how Kelli has a “suggestive bladder” which means she had to go too, mainly because I said I have to. Ha! We were all simply overjoyed to be on the water. Because that’s the thing about paddling (and what I’d say makes a “paddler”) is that long or short, big or small, it’s just amazing to be on the water.
For those of you who have at least a wee bit of experience on rapids in a kayak or SUP, this is an awesome run. You might fall in from a SUP (one of us did, two times over the 4 times I’ve done this run…not mentioning names…they were both dudes). You might have to roll your kayak. I’ve heard. I wasn’t there. I report this all in fun, because it’s a part of it and we all fall (swim).
Thanks for listening…see ya out there on the Frisky Ripples…
(Stay tuned to Backyard Bend for our recently recorded podcast Tumalo Creek’s Paddle Tales where we talk with Brent about these and other adventures).