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Class IV Get Out and Paddle Trip Report - East Fork of the Lewis, Sunset to Horseshoe
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Class IV Get Out and Paddle Trip Report - East Fork of the Lewis, Sunset to Horseshoe

Class IV Get Out and Paddle Trip Report - East Fork of the Lewis, Sunset to Horseshoe

The last Get Out and Paddle of the season was this past Saturday, and it was AWESOME! The weather was perfect, the people were cool, and the river was beautiful. We had some great flows for first-timers on the East Fork of the Lewis (~800 cfs). For those unfamiliar with our Get Out and Paddle series, check out the description below:

 

“Three times a month, NA Kayak School staff takes a group of whitewater paddlers down one of their favorite rivers - everything from classic runs to rarely paddled gems.

We paddle a variety of runs each month - a class 2 the 2nd Saturday of the month, a class 3 the 3rd and a class 4 the 4th. The trips occur from November to March, starting at 8am at The Paddle Sports Center (704 SE Washington St.) with a van for free shuttle. The first 10 folks to arrive get a spot in the van. The rest end up carpooling to the river. Every Friday at noon we will email trip details to PDXKayaker. River locations are dependent on current river levels. We tend to paddle runs that are at low to medium flows.”

The day started off with everyone firing up Sunset Falls, a ~10 foot waterfall with three lines to choose from. We all ran left due to the low flows. At least a few of the paddlers had never run a waterfall, so Sunset was a first for them!

Class IV Get out and Paddle Trip Report - East Fork of the Lewis, sunset to Horseshoe
Portaging Screaming Left

After some (manky) boogie-water, we ran Sky Pilot and got out to look at Screaming Left. Screaming Left has a nasty undercut boulder that splits the flow into two channels, and at 800 cfs it is exposed and fully in play. We all portaged the top part of Screaming to avoid the hazard and keep the day fun, dropping in right above Dragons Back. The river narrows into a beautiful gorge here, my personal favorite part of the run.

Class IV Get out and Paddle Trip Report - East Fork of the Lewis, sunset to Horseshoe
Stephen running Dragon’s Back

After many more cool no-name rapids, we approached the biggest horizon line of the day - Horseshoe Falls. The total gradient of the falls is probably a little over 20 feet, but depending on the line you choose, a decent amount of the gradient is lost on a slide. This is a super friendly drop if you take the middle line, a terrifying one if you run right (almost no one does), and a more challenging boof if you run left. We all ran center, the only good line at these flows, and had great lines. I managed to snag a rail grab in mid-air... some serious treatlayage.

Hope to see you out there next season, now that the weather is awesome you have no excuse to not GET OUT AND PADDLE.

Patrick Heindel

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