Mile 11.6strainer.jpg

Trip Report    

White River: Buckley to Auburn

What started out as a splendid day on the river turned into a long slog with several unpleasant nuisances on the lower half - several portages, gun shots, buffeted by wind and dirt on the last mile. No longer one of my favorite class II runs and probably won't repeat it again.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The water was unusually clear.  The streamflow gauge in Auburn was 960 CFS.  We did 4 portages for wood hazards. There were 3 mandatory portages.

    The first portage came about mile 5 and actually was clear but you had to pull hard left around a left turn to avoid wood. With some novices in our group we opted to take the safe play and portage.

    The 2nd portage came at Mile 7.4 into the run.   It is just downstream from a left turn below an island.  You can eddy out on river right at the turn which is about 150 feet above the wood. There is a dirt road close to the right river bank that makes for any easy walk through the forest. About 200 feet below the first sweeper is another riverwide strainer. Three of our boaters paddled through an opening in the branches in the middle of the first strainer and then eddied out to portage the next one. 


    The 3rd portage came at mile 10.1.  The river is very braided here. The right channels were too low and had wood. The left channel we encountered a riverwide strainer. 


    The 4th portage came at mile 11.6.  This involved a long portage about 300 feet to avoid several wood hazards.  River is very braided here. 

    Mile 11.6strainer.jpg

When we got to the take out bridge at 8am my spirits were high. The water was clear, it was a rare sunny blue sky shining upon us, and no wind.  We got on our drysuits and boats and assembled into a caravan to the put in at 8:30.  We got to the put in bridge by 9:00 and pushed off at 9:32am.  Things were very smooth so far.  We had three early swimmers.  One hit a small hole and popped out of their boat.  Two got pulled down by the same eddy line.  Nothing out of the ordinary for folks straight out of the course on their first or second experience trip. 

The first 8 miles of the stretch is pretty nice, with fun class II wave trains, and some boulders.  The second half of this run was characterized by several nuisances with very few redeeming qualities.  There were three portages, and about mile 13 we heard shooting. There was a family picnicking and target shooting across the river. We heard several shots before they saw us.  They were friendly. It did not feel unsafe, but it was unnerving and has the potential to be a bad scene.  

The first set of power lines is 2 miles from the take out.  The second set of power lines is 1 mile from the take out.  Great to finally see light at the end of the tunnel.  This was wishful thinking. Suddenly, in the last mile the wind picked up and we got slammed by dirt and pollen.  My eyes felt like they were getting scratched by sandpaper.  A brief few minutes of hard paddling to push through.  There is one very fun wave train on river left 1/2 mile before the take out. 

By the end of the day we had 5 swimmers (4 people). The person who swam twice was on their first experience trip following the course. The other 3 swimmers were on their 2nd trip post course. None of the experienced paddlers swam. The training in the course paid big dividends as everyone remained calm and methodically went into action to help the swimmers when they occurred. 3 of the swimmers did deep-water re-entries. 

For the leader, these wood hazards present a lot of stress for the particpants' safety.  This, combined with the bullets, and the overall length - it took our group over 5 1/2 hours - makes this no longer one of my favorite class II runs.  There too many other, better, class II runs in the area.  I probably won't repeat this run.