Grande Ronde River (OR) - May 18-21, 2016 - 91 Miles

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Trip Itinerary:
Day 	Camp 			Bank 	Miles 
Put-in	Minam	 		Left	0.0
0	Minam State Park	Left 	2.0
1	Island Camp		Right	24.0
2	Bench Camp		Right	54.0
3	Cow Patty Camp		Right	72.0
Takeout	Heller Bar		Left	91.0	

Minam rigging area. Minam Store across river did the vehicle shuttle

Day 1 - Minam campground, 2 miles down from rigging area

Final rigging before launch

On the water at 11:25am

Above 'Red Rock' rapid (more of a riffle)

The Eagle Cap Excursion Train operates on a roadless stretch of the historic Joseph Branch Railroad track that follows the Grande Ronde River downstream from Elgin, crosses the bridge at Rondowa, then goes up the Wallowa River to Minam

Rondowa bridge

Floating aside Dennis and Mary

Grande Ronde merges with the Wallowa

Confluence #2


Verifcation photo2

Brief stop at Sheep Creek Camp, which we have used in the past as the first camp at lower water levels

Canyon scenery

Island camp at ~RM 67. Thunder, lightning and rain during the night, but magically things dried by morning

Group dinner. Laurie was the primary chef. I assisted

Casey warms up for a group performance3

Day 2 - On the water at 10:25am

Checking out another campsite option for later trips. John K. in foreground

Mountain goats

John and Terri

Powwatka Bridge

Dennis and Mary just above Troy Bridge

More canyon scenery

and more...

Partial group shot3

Passed on the campsite with the resident bull

Casey and Carol prepare dinner. John K. supervises

Group chatter at bench camp2

Day 3 - View from bench camp at ~RM 37

On the water at 9:53am. Laurie and Rich in the foreground

Less trees on the hills

Boggan's Oasis bridge

Floating along enjoying the scenery

No shortage of cows on the vast rangeland


Carol inspects the campsite view above Deer Creek which we decided was too compact for the group

Decided on the Cow Patty Camp at ~RM 19. Yup, watch where you step

Day 4 - Good thing we had set up the tarp previously. Rain started just after it was up and continued on and off thru the night

Looking upstream from camp. Tents were packed mostly wet

Rendering of picture above by budding artist Diane

Camp highlights3

On the water at 10:15am. Private land started just downstream of camp (yellow sign)

Fog shrouded peak

Circling in the eddy water hydraulics

Eddy #2

Rich does the work while Laurie takes pictures3

Sun out again briefly

Bald eagles and nest

Clouding up again

Would have been a nice campsite, but given the deteriorating weather and proximity to the takeout, the group decided to end the trip a day early

Lunch stop

What looks like large holes are actually trees in the narrow ravine

Ever-changing landscape

Into The Narrows

The Narrows #2

Bridge Rapids

Looks like a fun driveway during the winter!

Fish trap in operation

Spectacular canyon scenery

Grande Ronde merges with the Snake in the distance. Heller Bar takeout is just downstream

Looking back up the Grande Ronde, and the end of our 4 day river adventure

USGS Flow at Troy 05/18/2016 12:00 PDT 5,200 CFS 5.89'
El. 2,536' - El. 817' = 18.9 FPM (91 river miles); 20.3 FPM to Troy (46 river miles)
Minam 2536'; Confluence 2305'; Troy 1601'; Boggan's 1260'; Heller Bar 817'

Original plan was to run the Owyhee, but we thought it was going to be too low. As it turns out, we could have run it. Oh well. Pictures from 2002 trip

  1. U.O.N., Olympus Stylus 770SW Digital Photography by William F. Smith (7.1 MP, 2304x1728 SQ1, 3X optical 38-114mm)
  2. Fujifilm FinePix XP50 Digital Photography by Mary Mac (14.4 MP, 5X optical 28-140mm)
  3. Apple iPhone 6s Digital Photography by Laurie O'Rourke (12 MP)

Last Update 1-Aug-17