Christie and I usually call our car rides together "business meetings" and use them to discuss upcoming trips. One day in February, with both of us recently returning from international trips and thinking we needed to keep it local for a while, we started talking about the Illinois River. We did some research and both got pretty fired up about it. We began watching levels and weather forecasts, but things never seemed to line up. Three months later it did. With hot, sunny weather in the forecast and a good level on board we immediately starting planning, calling on our good friend Turin Hill to round out the crew. It couldn't have come at a better time, with both of us having stressful weeks and Turin just graduating and looking for one last hurrah in Oregon before moving to New Mexico. The next morning we hopped in the car and made the trek to southern Oregon. We had a few adventures in Merlin while waiting to meet our shuttle driver, Linda, and were certainly glad to get back on the road.
Linda the shuttle driver
Linda was great, telling us all about shortcuts to the river and small town drama and giving us a very interesting safety talk. She hung out with us while we got all packed up and sent us on our way with big hugs.
We finally put on the river around 4:00pm, all of us breathing a big sigh of relief that we were finally on the river and away from everything else.
Christie enjoying the beauty
There was some great boogie water and beautiful scenery all the way to camp. We chose to stay at South Bend or "Last Chance" because it was close to the halfway point and would position us nicely above the gorge for the morning.
South Bend camp (mile 17)
After a fun night around the fire we all woke up really early to an exquisite view of the moon through thick fog.
The last of the fog
The sun came out quickly, burning off the fog and we were set to have another great day!
What a great way to wake up!
With an eagle flying overhead we left the beautiful green and turquoise surrounding camp and entered the steep canyon that contains most of the rapids on the run.
Scenery at camp
After a brief warm up we found ourselves at Green Wall, the most challenging drop on the run. We hopped out, picked our lines, and went for it. With everyone killing it we cruised through the rest of the section.
Christie charging the right line
Kate going for the boof line
Turin rounding the final corner of Green Wall
All smiles and giggles, we exited the steep section and the walls started opening up.
With it being such a hot day, we stopped to hang out on the beach and go swimming for a while before returning to the real world.
Turin in the final stretch
A couple hours later we came out of the canyon having seen some deer, a turtle, and some other wildlife, but no other person. This is the life!
Leaving you with our happy dances..