Monday, March 23, 2009

Wilson River March 22nd - TR

The Wilson River's Jones Creek run is really a good run for Intermediate kayakers, although it proved to be pretty exciting Sunday. And I was glad I was able to introduce so many people to it. Eight of the 12 of us were on the run for the first time. Three hardy paddlers started by running the class 3 drop at the put-in, but most of us saved our first face full of water for a little later. A short distance down, there is a tree sticking out from the left bank right into the main flow. Most of us cut right of it, but a few had to challenge it. Not far past there is a long class 2 rapid that ends with the water slamming into the left bank and into a wide ledge hole. Here again most of us cut right on the green water, a few punched the hole, and one boater got several cartwheels before flushing out!

After that, our next excitement was at the S-turn down the right side. My advice wasn't too accurate for this water level, and we had to scramble to get left of the big hole about halfway down. It is a fun rapid, though. Then it's pretty easy boating for a while. There's a very broad gravel bar where the best line is to just keep going right. Most of the other channels shoal out.

This gravel bar feeds right into the first real gorge. There used to be a couple eddies above the entrance, but the ones that are there now are not very big and were bleeding through pretty strongly. I think that gravel bar above is getting washed down into that entrance area. Consequently we went through the gorge without any briefing. Perhaps the nastiest part is just before the entrance, where the water pillows on the right bank in a very turbulent manner. This nasty pillow caused a swim, one where the boater got to shore quickly, but the boat continued through the whole gorge. After hiking halfway, the intrepid boater swam the rest of the way to the boat. At this level, about 1,750 cfs, there were a number of eddies in the gorge that added to the fun of the run.

We stopped for lunch, with the sun shining, below the Footbridge parking area. Here is a nice sand and gravel beach, with restrooms conveniently up the footpath. Clouds and drizzle soon came, and we departed. Although the river lets up some after this point, there are still plenty of rapids, with a lot of wall shots and some turbulent eddies, good practice for more difficult water. It's been a while since I've boated below the Jordan Creek area, which comes after about 5 miles, so that added to the fun for me, although several people seemed to be thinking seriously, "When do we get to the take-out?" But it was worth continuing, with a couple more wall shots, two easy boulder gardens, and the nasty looking riverwide ledge that is easily passed on the left.

Our timing was not exactly perfect, arriving at the take out in the rain, but it just help speed things along to our ultimate destination at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse.

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