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Trip Report    

Mashel River Crossing Practice

A beautiful day and venue for a river crossing practice. We focused on using the wedge technique to facilitate crossings where stream depth and volume might make a single person crossing a bit spicy.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

A beautiful day and venue for a river crossing practice. We focused on using the wedge technique to facilitate crossings where stream depth and volume might make a single person crossing a bit spicy. We started this trip by stopping at Mill Pond Park to change clothes and use restrooms (this park is ~1/4 mile south on HWY 161 from the intersection of HWY 161 and Center Street E in downtown Eatonville, and is reached by turning east onto Alder Street E from HWY 161). Leaving Mill Pond Park, we headed south on HWY 161 a very short distance and just after crossing the Mashel River we turned east onto 436th Street E to reach the parking area for George Smallwood Park at the end of this road. After gathering our gear we followed the path along the south bank of the Mashel River a short distance (less than ~1/8th mile) to reach our practice area with a sunny/rocky beach. This spot has deeper/slower moving water with faster/shallower water immediately below, and slippery rocks/boulders throughout. We started out with 3 person configurations (no packs), then moved onto 6 and 4 person configurations (with packs). We were surprised to discover that the most stable configuration for these conditions was 3 (1 then 2) or 4 persons (1 then 2 then 1), and not a larger group. Stability was significantly improved with the 2nd row people having their arm across the other's shoulder/back. Footwear included mountain boots, neoprene socks/boots, and even Scotch-Brite pads duct taped to bare feet (surprisingly good traction and very lightweight). Photos can be seen here.

 

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