Rafting Oregon’s Lower Owyhee River V 18-Apr-2019

Day 5: “Andy’s” Camp to Birch Creek Take-out (5,030 cfs)

The last day on the river is always bittersweet – sad to be leaving such a beautiful and peaceful place but looking forward (perhaps secretly) to a hot shower (particularly enticing after these colder weather trips). Since we’d camped farther downstream than planned, we got a later start than usual for the short run to the take-out at Birch Creek [RM 51].

Leaving “Andy’s” Camp
Going toward Birch Creek
Near Pothole Camp
Pothole Camp
Pothole Arch
Turning the bend at Birch Creek
An old waterwheel used to lift water to agricultural fields on the bench above from behind a small dam (now gone) across the river
Birch Creek take-out on the right
Loading the gear
Good-bye to the Owyhee ❤ 😦
The Birch Creek Grade – not a road to be taken lightly 👿
The road carves its way to the rim
The view west from the rim
Truer words were never written…

The original plan was for all of us – clients, guides, and gear – to claw our way out of the canyon and rendezvous in Jordan Valley for a final good-bye (and ice cream). Unfortunately, the Birch Creek Grade took out the gear trailer’s hitch, stranding Andy, Mike, and Rob in the canyon (temporarily). Those of us who had to catch a shuttle back to Boise from Jordan Valley could only wait so long for them, so we missed out on the final group good-bye. 😥 But we did get ice cream. 🙂 Aside from the hitch with the trailer, this was a great trip, with excellent guides and fellow rafters. Another trip with Momentum is a real possibility for next year. We’ll see… 😀

The river itself, from the Idaho-Oregon border downstream to Owyhee Reservoir, was granted Wild and Scenic River status in 1984. Some of the watershed in Idaho is currently protected as federally designated wilderness, but attempts to secure further protection for the Owyhee Canyonlands (primarily as a national monument) have thus far proven unsuccessful. Now that we’ve had the privilege of seeing it for ourselves, we definitely believe that a way needs to be found to balance legitimate competing interests so as to protect this amazing area for continued enjoyment by current and future generations.

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2 comments

  1. Figured you were off somewhere in the world since no postings for a while. Trip looks and sounds fantastic. We actually saw a segment on the Oregon Field Guide show about rafting the Owyhee River via a guide for 4-6 days. When I watched the show I thought, we have to do that some day – even though I am not a river rafter type person. It is on the Bucket List and I will have to check into your guide group. Great trip and thanks for taking us along.

    1. I recall it was that same Field Guide episode that convinced us to do this trip. There was also a piece in the Mail Tribune. We just had to wait for the right flow. At these higher flows, this is much more a scenery trip than a whitewater (white knuckle) adventure. Momentum ran a fine trip for us and we’d recommend them if you want to do the Owyhee.

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