Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yellowjacket Creek

The first weekend of July I went up to paddle Yellowjacket Creek in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington. It is a deep little canyon that flows off the east slope of Mount St. Helens. Mike and Dave had been up there the week before and done a class V hike with their kayaks to get down into the gorge. They decided it would be a good idea to explore upstream a few miles from the traditional put-in for better access. Jesse, Turin, Pat and I were syked to come along.

We didn't know anything about the upper section except for a 15-footer we could see from the road and rumors of a very large waterfall somewhere in the canyon. We headed up FR 28 until the road met up with the river again and geared up. The estimate flow was about 590 cfs.

The first couple of miles had quite a few fun class III, IV drops with a bit of wood that we had to sneak. We paddled through a few gorgeous mini gorges and eventually came up on the 15-footer. Dave fired it up and made it look so good we all ran it.

Dave Hoffman in the lead-in ~ www.enrgkayaking.com

Jesse Becker boofing the 15-footer

Just downstream we came to a big horizon line which turned out to be a not so clean 40-footer. With a bit of team work we were able to portage the drop and continue down some fun slides to the traditional Veta Creek put-in. A bit more water would have been better for the lower stretch but it turned out to be a pretty awesome day.

Me paddling down through the lower section

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