Originally posted by KirkE
I am bringing my wife out this August, and she has never been to the PacNW. I am trying to get her on the best class 3 stuff out there. Not really interested in the dry side/Wenatchee stuff, I want to show her the lush side out there. Originally I had planned on taking her to the Elaho-Squamish, Cal-Cheak and keeping it in BC, but now it seems that we have another high water year and that stuff might be a little bigger than she is used to.
Here is what I have been looking at:
NF Nooksack class 3 section
Middle Middle Snoqualmie - will this still have water, Min?
Middle/Lower Dosewallips - will this still have flow?
Lower Elwha - trying to sneak in a day for the Grand so we'll be up there anyway
Chilliwack Classic section, would the canyon be low by then and more in the class 3+ range?
Coquihalla was recommended
Hoping the Chehalis near Mission would have some water, as it looks easy but super scenic.
If anyone sees something I am leaving off the list, or has any comments on the above list, I appreciate any info.
Here's my thoughts for the timing that you'll be here...
NF Nooksack - this is a great time for this run as long as there is warm enough water to bring it up. After August first there is an honor system agreement for paddlers not to run this section if the level is below 1000 cfs because of the spawning salmon. The run is more fun if it's over 1000 anyway. Very fun class 3 run, although a bit short.
MF Snoqualmie will likely be low then. It might still be running but at the very low end of flows unless we get a freak summer rain that brings it up.
Skykomish - A great choice for that time. It will be runnable. It will be either at the very low end or a medium low level. You have boulder drop to contend with. At really low levels (like 1000 or under) boulder drop can be run by aggressive class 3 boaters, especially with someone to show you the lines. At those levels, it really breaks down into 3 seperate drops. Anything much higher though and you're looking at a solid class 4 or harder rapid, and it could very easily still be 3000 or more around August 1 this year. Still, you can portage Boulder drop, and then everything else is no harder than 3+.
Dosewalips - Hard to say if it will be running, it does come off higher peaks in the Olympics... It is a fun run but has a couple of class 4 rapids. Not hard class 4s, but a step up from 3+.
Chilliwack middle run should be in great shape then. Tamihi rapids is the hardest drop on the run and you can scout it easily as its just up from the bridge that crosses the river. Even at low water, you should consider the Canyon section class 4.
Coquihalla and Chehalis I think are both somewhat rain dependent and without rain will be too low. (Vancouver Kayak club peeps would know better than me). But if you can get on the Chehalis it is highly recommended. One of the best 3+ runs I know of.
The SAUK is a fantastic 3 - 3+ run and should still be running, at least at lower (but still fun) flows in early August. For a longer run on a sunny day run from Whitechuck down to the Darrington Mill bridge for a 9-10 mile run. Fantastic scenery as well.
Also if everything is dropping real low, you can always run the Skagit river. Its dam controlled so it's always running year round. The down side is, though it has a few nice rapids. (like 3 class 2 and a short canyon with 3 3s) it's mostly a swift float on flatwater. The N. Cascades scenery is spectacular, though.