John Day Rafting

Friday–Tuesday, May 10–14, 2013
Leader: Barb Revere
Ext Trp: 70 miles (Easy)

This trip was the substitute for the Owyhee River trip, on the same dates, cancelled due to low water. We put in at the Clarno Boat Ramp, NE of Madras, and takeout was at the Cottonwood Bridge, SE of Wasco.

A consolation trip it was not: We had summer weather in May; there were few other boaters on the river; and we all enjoyed a mellow float through 70 miles of the deep and ever changing John Day River Canyon. It was “just lovely”, “too beautiful for words”, “magnificent”, “fabulous” and “absolutely spectacular”! When we ran out of new superlatives, we just repeated ourselves.

Wildlife spotted included: red-winged blackbirds, canyon wrens, ouzels, magpies, mergansers, mallards, porcelain ducks, Canada geese, wild chukar partridges (introduced as game in 1951), red tail hawks, osprey, bighorn sheep, and mule deer. A young golden eagle sitting calmly beside the river, almost within reach, was a first sighting for a few of us.

Obsidians Scott Hovis, Andy McIvor, Mike Piehl and Barb Revere were joined by guests Carol Carver of Eugene, Mary Carver from North Carolina, Scott and Kimbrough Elstad from the Portland area. Also Bill from Lake Oswego joined the group as an ‘independent’ with Ouzel Outfitter. The river guides, Neely, Jarrod and Tim, were impressive, providing tasty and nourishing meals as well as geologic commentary and wildlife spotting.

Each morning chukars in nearby brush announced a wakeup call at first light. A match held to The Blaster signaled that coffee was soon ready.There was plenty of fun for our adventurous gang with inflatable kayaks for those who wanted a break from the paddle rafts. Swimming and hiking rounded out our evenings, as did watching the guides prepare great meals and perfect choreography.

Everyone was talking-up a proposed 2014 Owyhee River float as we unloaded at Cottonwood Bridge.

Thanks to Pat Esch who organized, and did most of the work for the original Owyhee trip. Barb Revere took an easy hand-off and led the John Day trip.

Members: Barb Revere, Mike Piehl, Andrew McIvor, Scott Hovis. Nonmembers: Carol Carver, Mary Carver, Kimbrough Elstad, Scott Elstad.


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