River Rim Park is the preferred access for quick runs that take in all the significant whitewater.
PLAYTIME is a long rapid with excellent eddy hopping to get you ready for the action downstream. The rapid consists of 3 distinct drops. As you approach a horizon line, go for an S-turn move on the far left around the two center holes, or go down the right. If you take the right line, be aware of a pretty nasty sieve over there. The water does not push into it, but paddlers have ended up there (in one recent case the paddler was upright, but it still took a few minutes for him to get himself out). The second drop can be run center or left, and there are several fun eddies and moves to try. The final ledge in playtime is a riverwide hole. Either run the easy tongue on the right, or boof next to the rock on the left. Either way, make sure to catch an eddy on the left, because Dammit is just downstream.
DAMMIT is the biggest rapid on the run and lies about 50 yards below the last hole in Playtime. A diversion dam on the right diverts water into a canal. The canal intake is a major hazard that has caused several close calls in the past. Scout left or portage right. Dammit starts with a river wide four-foot pourover, followed by a fast slide. Boof either edge of the middle chute. After the slide, it's best to catch the large eddy on the left to set up for the bottom half of the rapid, the Pipe.
In the bottom half of Dammit, a pipe shoots water back into the river on river right. The pipe creates a large diagonal wave that pushes toward a catcher's mitt on the left, referred to by local boaters as "the room of doom". The room of doom is really just the bottom of an eddy. It's not fun to be in there upside down, but swims have happened without any major issues. The line on the pipe is to drive right across the diagonal where the water from the pipe hits the river. It can be a tricky move the first couple times. If you do end up in the room, just go with it and paddle back to the top of the eddy. The ferry out is intimidating, but if you just take a couple good strokes and sit on your downstream edge, it is surprisingly smooth.
After Dammit, is about half a mile of read and run class III. When the river takes a dramatic turn to the right, you have arrived at AMAZING. Start by sliding over the left edge of a log that spans the entire right channel. Run the lead in down the middle, and then move right as the river speeds up and turns the corner to the right. Multiple lines are available through the main ledge. It is a powerful but not really retentive hole. Anywhere but left is fine.
After Amazing, the river slows up, with a couple easy Class III- rapids before you get to MARIOLAND. This rapid is created by a massive log jam. At flows over 1800, Marioland is pretty straightforward. At lower flows, it's really manky. The line stays the same at all flows. Enter center, and find a route down the far right. A far left line is also an option that may be runnable depending on the flow and the current wood situation. There isn't really a way to check, so stick to the right line unless you know for sure the left line is clear. When the channels come back together, a short section of class III+ read-and-run follows with lots of eddies and a few good boof spots. A half mile of class II brings you to the final rapid of the Meadowcamp run.
ONE HUNDRED PERCENT is a great rapid that can be recognized by a cliff on the right and an obvious horizon line. Drive left to right over the diagonal wave at the entry and hold on as you careen down through a slalom of boulders and holes. A large hole on the right at the bottom of the rapid can be avoided on the left, or boofed on the far right. This hole isn't sticky until the level gets above 2,000cfs, but there is a barely submerged rock about 10 feet downstream of it, and if you flip here, the saying goes, you will hit your head 100% of the time.
2 years ago
by Joel Welsh
The Deschutes is managed based on irrigation demand. Canals divert water at Lava Island, upstream, and at Dammit. Paddlers use the Benham gage, but the actual flow is significantly less than that. From late April through the middle of September, flows are almost always between 1700 and 2200 cfs on the Benham guage. Most paddlers consider the easiest level for Meadowcamp to be 1800-1900 cfs. At lower levels, more rocks are exposed, making the run more technical and tougher for first timers. At levels above 2000, the upper half of the run, from Playtime through Amazing, becomes pretty continous and quite pushy. Meadowcamp above 2000 on a hot summer day is a beautiful thing.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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Farewell Bend Park Take-Out
Approaching Farewell Bend
River Rim Park Put-in
Ferrying out from the "Room of Doom"
That seam will get ya
Approaching The Pipe
Last ledge in Playtime
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This week, Oregon House Bill 2835 re-passed the Oregon House on a 52-7 vote. Having earlier cleared the Senate, the bill now awaits a signature from the Governor to be signed into law. For decades, opportunities to protect and improve the ability of the public to access and legally use waterways for recreation have seen minimal progress, while efforts to severely limit access have been a consistent threat. Oregon House Bill 2835 is a pivotal piece of legislation in Oregon, and the first proactive waterway access bill in recent history to have made it through the state legislature.
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