Tag: Rafting

The Wood River – Navigable History

The Wood River – Navigable History

A little less than 2 hours from Medford is the historical town of Fort Klamath. Through that town runs a river, with ancient history and epic scenery.

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The Wood River is not a ripping, thrilling, white water experience. It is a relaxing 18 miles float through a beautiful country side teeming with wild life. The Wood River is clear and cold, and in some sections lack a lot of depth. You may find yourself porting the boat here and there, but it is worth it!

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From the Rogue Valley, take 140 east and turn Left on to the West Side Rd, about 55 miles from Medford. The sign also reads Volcanic Legacy Highway. Fort Klamath is about 18 miles further. The history of the Wood River begins in the old US Calvary Fort built in the late 1880’s. Forth Klamath has some of the most unique old farm buildings I have ever seen. It is now an unincorporated active ranching community. The Wood River is short, about 18 miles from Kimball State Recreation Site, to the Wood River Wetland Area and take out.

The put in, at Kimball State Recreation Site, is located a few miles out of town. It has restrooms and a few camp sites. The river access is easy to drop a boat into and the views begin right away. From the river, views of the Crater Lake rim are present. The Wood River is best known for the fly fishing and bird watching opportunities. I am not an avid bird watcher, but a lot of places in Klamath County, the diversity of wild fowl is spectacular!

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The Wood River meanders around bends through the farm country and forests in the country side. One can do the entire length, or plan a shuttle and be on the water as little as a few hours. A majority of the river is banked by private property, but there are public take outs, such as the Fort Klamath County Park. The Wood River can be paddle boarded, kayaked or coned, but isn’t suitable for bigger boats because of its varying depth.

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As it ends, the Wood River flows into the Wood River Wetlands and then into Agency Lake. This area is worthy of a trip in itself, but bring the bug spray! The Wetlands are 26 miles north of Klamath Falls, off of Modoc Point Rd.

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Contact Christy Snook and Let’s Paddle! of Fort Klamath for awesome rentals and shuttle rates!

 

Mary Jane Feetham

 

 

Smith River

A self-guided adventure on the Smith River that can be done in a day!

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The Smith River is an amazing float to do in March. Just wear a wet suit! From the Rogue Valley, the popular put – ins on the Smith River are roughly two hours away. This makes a perfect day trip for those Rogue rafters that are looking for some new scenery. Hiochi, California hosts several experienced river guides and very inexpensive and reliable shuttle drivers.

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I would not consider myself a expert rafter. I took on the Middle Fork of the Smith River this March (2016). I wore a wet suit, wet suit socks and boots, a long sleeve running shirt, and a wind breaker. I added a signal mirror and a knife to my life jacket. It rained a few times during the 3 hour float, and I was comfortable. I chose to float from Slant Bridge to Ruby Deventer State Park.

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The color of the Smith at higher water in Spring is a spectacular emerald green. Water flows in from drainages throughout the float creating many picture perfect moments. As the water drops, the Smith River is the clearest navigable waterway in the Pacific Northwest.

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This section of the Middle Fork of the Smith River offers Class II – III (-), which is quite thrilling when you are less experienced on white water. I did this mission as a self-guided trip, but the Smith River offers up to Class IV rapids in different sections, including the world class Oregon Hole Gorge!

To choose a Smith River float that is right for you, there is a very informational online article by Flow State about your options for Smith River trips. However, most helpful was the information and shuttle service offered by Brad “Bearfoot” Camden of Hiochi, California. He is the all around river guide that can give you the information you need to choose the perfect Smith River trip. Brad is very well known and his shuttle rates are extremely affordable. I paid $50 for a  shuttle and received invaluable information about the Smith River for free. Brad is also very involved in preserving the Smith River and involved tributaries that are under attack from a proposed Nickel mining operation.  Outside Magazine did an article on Bearfoot Brad and the importance of preserving these waters. Find Brad Camden on Facebook to sign a petition as soon as possible. And get out there . . . the Smith River is waiting!

Mary Jane Feetham