Trip Report: Lower Deschutes - Mar 2018 - flow unknown

9th Annual Spring Break Lower Deschutes Trip

Submitted by Sean Allensworth

It was snowing as my daughter and I left the Eugene area for this trip.  People on the freeway give you strange looks when you are pulling a raft in the snow.  We drove most of the way to The Dalles in the rain, but it was dry as we started down Highway 197 to Buck Hollow boat ramp.

It was clear and cool the first morning as we rigged our boats at Buck Hollow, and -- thankfully -- the sun came up over the canyon wall and warmed us up before we left.  We ended up with 23 people, one dog, and 14 boats.  Scott gave us a safety talk, and we were on our way.  I think there were three of us who had not rowed this stretch of river before.  The canyon was beautiful with green grass just starting to sprout everywhere.  The weather was cool, but not uncomfortable.  The current was moving pretty fast so the rowing was easy.  We had a good warm up period, and then we were upon Wreck Rapids -- a nice class 3 rapid.  After that it was a scenic cruise to Beavertail Campground.  We set up camp and had appetizers (thank you to the Albers family), got a fire going, and watched the sheep across the river. As evening rolled around we sat around the fire having great conversation and then chili for dinner.

Day two started at 7:00 am with a great oatmeal and fruit breakfast and coffee waiting for us when we got up.  Thanks to Bill and Scott. We were all packed and on the river by 10:00 am for the 20 mile float to Harris Camp.  There were not many rapids but the current was fast and the wind was mild by river standards.  It was a very beautiful and relaxing float through deep canyons.  The only weather we ran into was a small hail storm that ended quickly.  We made it to Harris Camp about mid-afternoon and the weather was nice.  We set up camp, appetizers were set out again (thank you to the Ben and Kaylee).  There were sheep across the river again, and they were much closer.  They were also very active, and we had a great time watching them.  Sometimes it seemed they were having a good time watching us too. The kids on the trip really enjoyed this camp.  It was big and there was lots for them to do.  After the sun went down we started a couple camp fires and Lori cooked us a great burrito dinner (thank you!). We all had wonderful time talking around the camp fires.

Day three started at 7:00 am again with delicious French toast and sausage breakfast cooked by John and Dianne.  Scott also made coffee again.  Thanks for getting up and getting our day started so nicely!  We were on the river by 10:00 am again.  This day was to be a short day, but a fun day with more rapids than the previous two days combined.  The rapids were fun, but not too threatening, and they all had sneak routes if people wanted.  The day seemed a little colder but we were at Heritage Landing at about 1:00 pm.

This was a great trip with great people, great food, and beautiful scenery and of course the mighty Deschutes River.