chipmaney's Submission - Entered on 8/21/2016 7:04:00 PM
Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at 3/29/2017 8:03:50 AM)
NF NOOKSACK RIVER BL CASCADE
||NWRFC | FC Page
3rd Party Gauge
||3/29/2017 6:15:00 AM
Minimum Recomended Level: 350 cfs Maximum Recomended Level: 2000 cfs
Paved shuttle, with Riverside walking Trail. Short shuttle and easy to lap do laps. You can scout all of the named rapids from this trail, starting from the take out.
Drive northeast on the Mount Baker HWY from the take out. Around 2 miles gravel pull outs begin appearing. Use the 3rd pull out which is the largest. look for a Purple Care Bear Shoe and a cloud of smoke.
Take out at the Bridge that crosses over the N. Fork Nooksack just east of the town of Glacier, or just continue down the class 3+ canyon section downstream.
The recommended levels range from ELF (350) to Huge (2000). At lower levels you should expect to hit some rocks, but easier time catching eddies. First timers should find levels around 700-800 easiest for learning the lines. As levels increase above 1000 the meat of the run gets progressively pushier and continuous, and swims can turn epic. Above 1500 expect some class V.
Update Nov '14: did the run at 1200 and the run was pretty big and the crux of the run is the long rapid below bench drop. Very pushy and some very large hydraulic features. I imagine the 2000 would be monster flows.
There are two logs in bench drop. One is very obvious as you enter, the other is smaller and in the middle of the rapid. It is in play at low flows and if you flip in the entrance, otherwise easy to avoid.
Run Description [Season: Year Round]
This is the Horseshoe Bend section of the North Fork of the NooksackŠone of the Bellingham staple runs. It does not take more than 1 lap to figure out why. Within the first mile your running through class III rapids and easing into class IV. By the beginning of the second mile your looking at a solid couple hundred meters of quality whitewater. The shuttles short, the river has a sweet trail from the takeout right along the river to the beginning of the quality at the Bench. You can use the trail to scout the bigger drops or do hiking laps on the quality till you are spent. And that's why the Locals love the Bend!
The run begins with a few turns of class II-III which gradually pickup when you reach a wall of wood with a blind corner and significantly more whitewater than the beginning. This Rapid is called Entrance.
Just after Entrance you will arrive at a fun flume style rapid that has a few nice lateral holes and diagonals which is run down the middle. A few eddy turns later you come to the Dangler or S turn. This sweet little guy is a nice wave that leads around a boulder and then up and over a sweet boof ledge. As you continue from here the pace picks up until you reach the Bench Drop. Bench Drop is the largest ledge on the run and also named from the Bench that spectators sit and watch from.
Right after Bench are a few fun ledges that end in a great series of holes in the center of the river. Practice your boofs as you sail them all but don't get too far right since there are little pieces of wood hanging out.
Just downstream of Bench, catch the left eddy before PSAT, the next large drop. This used to be a fun slide down the middle. Recently, however, the big boulder creating the slide moved downstream and now forms a gnarly-looking piton. Take the left slot on this one.
The final big rapid is SAT which is aptly named as the Bellingham students are sure to be found working on academics and not aquatics near this sweet boulder garden. A nice beginning ledge and then a fun series of S turns around holes and boulders ends the difficult rapids of the run.
A final class III boulder garden that ends with a sweet eddy on river left awaits paddlers with extra energy to burn. See how many times you can make the attainment!
As you finish the run and see the bridge, be sure to try for the last big boof off the angled rock in the center of the River!