Owyhee River Canyon
"You better have your s**t together," the words of a gas station attendant before we began our drive down the maze of dirt roads into the Owyhee River Canyon.
We had already driven seven hours, leaving Hood River, Oregon at about 9:30 am, and were ready to be at the river. After another hour and a half or so, we had reached the put-in, where we would camp and prep for the river the next day.
Christie G and I documenting our trip (Photo by: Jesse Becker)
The Owyhee River Canyon (Photo by: Christie Glissmeyer)
The Owyhee River is a tributary of the Snake River, its source located in Northern Nevada, then flowing into Southwestern Idaho and finally, Oregon. The 200-mile river is divided into three sections: the Upper, the Middle and the Lower. We planned to paddle the Middle section from Three Forks to Rome, a 37-mile long class II-IV (V) stretch in three days and two nights as a self-support. Typically, the Owyhee has a short water window, with prime levels being around 1500 cfs. The day prior to leaving, the level hit 1800 cfs, and we decided to rally. Having never done a self support, I was psyched to get on the river and try out my fully loaded Diesel 80.
Three Forks (Photo by: Kim Russell)
Drew and I "about to perform a Miracle!", as Christie would say. (Photo by: Jesse Becker)
Once the sun came up and our bellies were full of eggs and hashbrowns, we each performed a Miracle of our own and packed our boats for the next three days. Putting on at about 11:30, we were able to paddle 15 miles to "Bombshelter Cave" where we camped for the night.
Entering the Owyhee River Canyon (Photo by: Jesse Becker)
Jesse in the Heart of the Canyon (Photo by: Kim Russell)
The gang (Photo by: Christie Glissmeyer)
Just above camp (Photo by: Jesse Becker)
Bombshelter Cave (Photo by: Kim Russell)
Christie and Drew overlooking camp (Photo by: Kim Russell)
Chillin' around camp (Photo by: Christie G)
Unloading boats inside the cave (Photo by: Jesse Becker)
Fire-logs make for an awesome fire (Photo by: Kim Russell)
Day 2 we woke up to grey skies, which opened up into a full blown snow-storm within minutes. Talk about a temperature swing! Mid-sixties and sunny the day before, snow and mid-20's the morning after! By the time we put on, the storm had subsided, but we were left with fairly strong wind for the rest of our adventure. Putting on around 11:00, we made it to mile 32 where we made camp along a sandy plateau. Notable rapids along this section include Widowmaker, the only class V rapid on the run, featuring two big holes in a row.
Christie G (Photo by Kim Russell)
Leaving the Canyon (Photo by: Jesse Becker)
Christie G and I at Camp: Night 2 (Photo by: Jesse Becker)
Jesse and our shelter for the night (Photo by: Kim Russell)
We finished the trip off with a five mile flat-water paddle out of the canyon, making it to Rome, Oregon at about 10:30am on Friday.
The crew (Photo by: Kim Russell)
Here's one of the last pictures from our trip. We were psyched to have just completed our first self-support in the Owyhee Wilderness.
I have to say that my Diesel 80 performed to the highest of my expectations as a kayak for self-support trips. I was a little nervous about being able to fit all of my gear, however the Diesel 80 has plenty of room and I even ended up with some leftover space! To my suprise, the boat was easy to paddle when it was fully loaded! I highly recommend the Diesel 80 for self-support trips: it has a lot of storage room, which is easily accessed, it paddles well under load and is comfortable for those long days on the water!
Hope to see you on the river!