Hells Canyon

Written by Jerrica

Boy are we behind.  There's no way to adequately catch up and explain all the amazing things we've seen and done but I'll do my best to highlight a few favorites.

On August 30 we set out for Hells Canyon.  We were lucky enough to be joined by Spencer (Kevin's dad), Ryan Campbell (a college friend of mine), and Nash Campbell (Ryan's 3-year-old son).  It was nice to have Ryan and Nash with us because we were crashing at their place in Cascade to begin with. 

We set out with Walter the Raft and Debbie the Ducky.  Ryan rowed Walter with Kevin and Spencer fishing off the raft and Nash hanging out with his dad.  I spent the day in the ducky; Kevin joined me for Wild Sheep and Granite Rapids, the 2 big class IV rapids, then went back to the raft to fish.


I have spent a lot of time on the Snake River, and I have done Hells Canyon in October of 2016.  In my experience, the Snake River is a COLD river.  So that's kind of what I was expecting.  I was pleasantly surprised when I paddled my way through the first rapid in the ducky and the water felt pleasant on my skin.  To me, nothing beats whitewater at pleasant temperatures.  I knew we were in for a great trip.


We scouted Wild Sheep and had a fun ride with no problems.  Shortly after that we thought we were coming up to Granite, but we weren't sure.  We just didn't make a decision to pull over fast enough and ended up running the rapid without scouting it.  Ryan picked a great line... the same line that any of us would have chosen.  After a couple of rapids a lateral wave came from the right and ended up dumping everyone out of the boat.  Kevin and I watched from behind as Ryan, Nash, and Spencer got knocked into the river.  We shot through Granite to catch up and help out, but Ryan was super fast and got everyone into the boat before we got there.  Thank goodness Spencer was on the boat- he held onto Nash and kept him right by the boat.  After Ryan pulled himself on the boat, Spencer handed him Nash, then Ryan helped Spencer up.  It was all really fast and I was really glad we had Ryan's experience for something like that.


After the dump truck we pulled over to let everyone catch their breath.  I was pretty worried about Nash... this was the first rapid he had swam through.  This kid was AMAZING!  He was a little shaken up for sure, but I never saw him cry or freak out.  He was a little nervous about the rapids for the rest of that day, but by the next day he was stoked for the whitewater again and spent most of the day in the ducky with Ryan.  I can't think of a braver 3-year-old.  He was a rockstar.

We camped by a ranch the first night.  We had some rain that night and most of us turned in early because of it.  The next day we explored the ranch and the caretaker gave us a little tour.  We ate figs off the fig tree and chatted for a while before we headed out. 

Day 2 was just fun with no incidents.  We fished, had lunch, hit more fun whitewater, and soaked in the sun.  We could have taken out that day but we decided to camp one more night instead of driving home late that night.

I loved our camp spot the second night.  It was a big sandy beach and I love kicking off my sandals and walking around barefoot.  Sand makes it hard to keep things clean sometimes, but the luxury and comfort of soft sand make it worth it for me.


The next day we de-rigged and drove back to Cascade.  Besides rain that first night, we had amazing weather and warm temperatures.  I loved playing games with Nash and watching him enjoy the river.  He caught his first fish and, like me, wasn't too stoked about touching it.  He swam through his first rapid and he ended up being fine.  He was such a fun kid to have on the trip.  Ryan and his family help me feel optimistic about having a family of my own one day.  I love seeing friends do fun things with their kids.  I love that he and his wife share their passion with their boys and help them explore the outdoors, rafting in particular.  Very cool in my opinion.


Enjoy a quick video recap of one of my favorite river trips.