Trip Report: Sandy River - New Year's Day, 2019 - 4000+ cfs

January 1st New Year's Float on the Sandy River

Submitted by Val Shaull

The North West Rafters Association (NWRA) was formed 35 or 36 years ago. Shortly afterward, they started the January 1st float on the Sandy River.  Years later, the Oregon Whitewater Association was formed (OWA), mainly from the Portland chapter of the NWRA. There was a little bad blood between the two and so at the New Year's Day float there were two different groups, NWRA and OWA. Later, cooler heads prevailed, and the two groups consolidated into one.

Over the years there has been rain or snow or a nice day. One year I got to the put in and there were only about 6 people total because of the snow. We decided to cancel the trip because we were afraid of the shuttle down to Oxbow. The road down there was icy and really bad!

We had a very good day for this year's NYD float! It was good water, 4,000 cfs+, and a sunny day! Lots of old friends and a few new ones joined the run. Most of the boats were catarafts but we did have a few rafts, oared and paddled, and a few inflatable kayaks and regular kayaks. I counted 16 boats but I'm sure there were more.

After a safety talk, we were in the water. Like I said, the water was good. Most of the rocks were covered and we had no big mishaps. The Sandy is an easy river so we just enjoyed the scenery and the sun. This had to be one of the sunniest days I have rafted the Sandy in the winter!

At the take out, everyone seemed to work together getting the boats out and loaded up. Afterwards, we were off to the BBQ in Oxbow park. The Disabled American Veterans, Chapter #1 in Portland brought pulled pork (Thank you Don Smith, Manager at DAV), others brought stew, "Kerry's (meat) Balls", and a variety of desserts to name some. I was too full to eat a little of everything.

We had a nice fire. It was sunny but the eating area was in the shade and it was cold! All in all, everyone had a good start to their New Year. I want to thank everyone for coming to help celebrate the New Year and I want to personally thank the new(er) disabled Veterans from Team River Runner who came out in the cold to try rafting. Also, I want to thank Oxbow Park for giving us free access to the picnic area.

I have been trip leader for quite a few years and hope to be trip leader for many more. I hope this trip will be around long after I'm gone. It is a great start to the (rafting) New Year!

You can put it on your calendar for next year:  RAFT TRIP ON THE SANDY RIVER 1/1/2020