Name a steep creek competition after the “Northwest,” a region known for capricious weather and copious precipitation, and it should be no surprise when river levels skyrocket overnight. Still, waking up to three times as much water flowing through the narrow gorges on the East Fork of the Lewis River elicited surprise—and trepidation—from most competitors.
4.17.11, ~2:30 p.m. Toketee Falls, on the North Umpqua River in southern Oregon, has only had more than ~75 cfs five times in the last year, because of an antiquated hydro-power diversion. I was planning on paddling somewhere else when I woke up in the morning, but looked at flows after a night of rain and saw the gauge above Toketee at ~250 and going up slowly.
Oh spring, glorious spring! On April 1 the California Department of Water Resources reported that the Shasta River Basin was showing 199 percent of its average snowpack. At the end of March, Northstar-at-Tahoe reported 42 feet of snow—the ski resort’s snowiest winter in 25 years. Most whitewater paddlers are frothing over the length and potential of this fresh season with the amount of precipitation feeling borderline biblical.