Ok, Ok, I know that the Ohanepecosh River in Washington has nothing to do with Ecuador, but it was the last stop on Don and my Small World Adventures spring promotional tour, so I thought it was appropriate subject matter for the blog. Washington boaters might take interest as well if they are heading down to paddle this run.
While the massive rainfall in the Northwest this past fall cleaned up many rivers in WA, the Ohanepecosh was NOT one of them. The lower section of this run is still great (except of course for Elbow Room), but the upper section from the Ohanepecosh campground down to the “sercret campground” is choked full of logs and, honestly, not worth doing.

After hearing about a log jam just downstream of the regular put in, we found a little trail from campsite A-21 leading to and around the first log jam. This log jam is impressive–there are trees with 10 and 20 foot diameters stuck in there–but it is only a small sign of things to come further downstream.
We put in below this log jam, paddled a few fun rapids, then got to one that had a marginally runnable line that was made more complicated by 2 ill-placed logs. We opted for an “arduous portage” high and on the left. Shortly after this portage, we encountered log jam #2. This one was runnable, but the rapid underneath it runs directly into log jam #3 which looked unpleasant to say the least.

Luckily, these big logs make nice sidewalks for portaging!

After this 3rd log jam, we paddled one great rapid (the one just above the “secret campground”).

There were 3 fun and runnable rapids in this upper bit, but they are NOT worth all the other portaging.So, our conclusion at the end of the upper part of this run, is that it ain’t worth putting in above the “secret campground.” If you could put in above the rapid just above this secret campground, that would be the best option.

We are lame and didn’t get any photos of the lower section, but it was great and mostly clean! There were logs in 2 of the rapids(1 of which I’m pretty sure was there last year). We were able to run them both but lower water might make the second one unrunnable. It is wedged across the river at the bottom of a non-descript class III rapid where the river narrows down to about 25 feet wide. We did portage Elbow Room, but the falls below it were clean as was the last rapid. The gauge was reading 1,640 at Packwood when we did it and that seemed like a fine level to us.

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