Professor Paddle: Chiwawa River - pretty fun little run
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NateW
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  Quote NateW Replybullet Topic: Chiwawa River - pretty fun little run
    Posted: 29 May 2012 at 11:10am
Just thought I'd make a quick post letting folks know that there is another class III option pretty close to Leavenworthless that is definitely worth checking out. Ran it yesterday w/ Dan (forget his username) and had a pretty good time. The put-in is a bit difficult to find - small little dirt road that is a bit hidden. Other than that the run was all good at 1800CFS - no real wood issues. You want to be careful as you come around bends and make sure you have a lot of time to eddy out/ferry at least for a first run. Reminds me a lot of the Tieton but probably a bit easier. A swim would probably suck because the river is fairly continuous, but its not horribly fast.

I think at higher flows you could have some really good catch on the fly play. Another 250-500CFS would make the run really fun I imagine. There is a really fun little playwave right at the takeout with good eddy service. Seemed like a fun alternative to Turkey Shoot on the Wenatchee. Its probably not worth driving for, but if you are in the area or over playing on the Wenatchee you could hit it up on your way out of town.
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pottert
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  Quote pottert Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2012 at 3:37pm
Sounds sweet, any beta on how to get to the put in?
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NateW
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  Quote NateW Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2012 at 5:10pm
http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/2087/#tab-directions

This is really accurate the turn off is just really not obvious - a very undeveloped little road that goes down to a single campsite/put in area. If you're unsure about your rig you could walk your kayak down. I think just about anything that isn't really low would be fine. After you cross grouse creek go slowly and look for a left turn.

You can also avoid the gravel road completely if you go from Chiwawa Loop Road to Chiwawa River Road to Road 62. Probably a little faster and more pleasant.

Edited by n8r78 - 29 May 2012 at 5:12pm
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  Quote LisaF Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2012 at 8:01pm
Thanks for posting the update! I'm scheduled to lead a WKC trip down this river in a couple of weeks and was wondering about the wood this year (it's been about 15 or 16 years since I've run it, LOL!)
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thatguydan
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  Quote thatguydan Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2012 at 10:24pm
There is one almost river wide log to watch out for. It's maybe a quarter-mileish past the first bigger drop on the run (a short section noticeably harder than everything up to then). We didn't see it until we were right on it and we got over it easily at 1800, but it could be in play lower. You can get around it by staying near the right bank.

I'd also say its almost all class II at this level other than a couple short drops, which are pretty mild III. The continuous nature could make swims and recoveries less than desirable, especially for inexperienced groups.

Overall a fun run, and a good mellow option around Leavenworth.
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justin
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  Quote justin Replybullet Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 3:24pm
Is there any good camping near this?
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BRoss
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  Quote BRoss Replybullet Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 4:44pm
lots of nice FS campgrounds up the chiwawa road, most are primitive. might be free dispersed sites too, not sure
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jP
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 6:01pm
This is funny. I thought everyone who ran the Chee knew about the Chiwawa. But I just went to our rivers page and its still blank. The Bennett book has all the beta in it too. Its a nice quiet alternative to the Wenatchee as far as seclusion goes.

I been trying to get around to it for years by there are so many runs in Washington competing for a boater's attention. Myself, I just got on it last summer. Musta been July and it was unseasonably high (maybe a strong medium or medium high). Saw lots of Western Tanagers out there that day. Musta been mating season because the males were zippin around sportin them bright orangish-red hoods.

Definitely watch the wood though. Being an intermediate run, I've heard several horror stories about people getting tangled up with strainers they were not able to avoid quick enough.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 6:10pm
Originally posted by thatguydan


I'd also say its almost all class II at this level other than a couple short drops, which are pretty mild III. The continuous nature could make swims and recoveries less than desirable, especially for inexperienced groups.



That's why its rated class III, not class II. It is very continuous and there is a lot of wood poking into the run from the banks. And, who is most likely to go run it? Mostly inexperienced groups. You aren't likely to find it on Cody Howard's hit list, exactly.

Granted when I was there it was pretty filled in and swift. I was with another very experienced paddler and we cruised through it easily for sure, but there was a lot of wood that kept our attention as I recall.

Definitely worthy of the class III rating given it by the guidebook, if not for the difficulty of navigating it, then certainly for the consequences of continuous swiftvwater and strainers.

Beautiful run.
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thatguydan
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  Quote thatguydan Replybullet Posted: 05 Jun 2012 at 11:27pm
Agreed that the potential consequences warrant the class III rating. I was just trying to convey that experienced people shouldn't expect big splashy class III rapids, but the inexperienced should probably have a decent roll and someone with rescue skills and abilities in their group. Also, I feel that 1800 was pretty low and the run would get more interesting and exciting with more water.

Originally posted by justin

Is there any good camping near this?



The putin itself is actually a sweet free camping spot (maybe supposed to have a forest pass?). Right on the river and away from the road a ways.

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NateW
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  Quote NateW Replybullet Posted: 06 Jun 2012 at 4:14pm
On a busy weekend if you're looking to spend a bunch of time at turkey shoot but don't want a croud the park and play wave at the takeout would be a great alternative.
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