Typically when I think of high canyon walls rising straight from the river, continous whitewater in a remote setting, and white sandy beaches with the smell of Juniper’s in the air I think of the classic multi-day runs of Idaho or Utah. However, the run that I’ve just described is only an hour away from my hometown of Hood River, OR. The White River in Oregon tumbles off the eastern flanks of Mount Hood before draining into the popular Deschutes River. Recieving it’s name from the silt that gathers in it’s glacial waters the White River has been in my thoughts for a few years. Christie and I decided to check it out for my birthday this year and we were pleasantly surprised. The whitewater was continuous enough to keep us entertained and the scenery was surreal. We decided to make the most of our weekend and spent the night half way down this 23 mile stretch.
The first day consisted of fun rapids the entire way in an intimate forest. After about 12 miles the forest peeled back and towering walls of basalt emerged from the river. As soon as we saw a big sandy beach we decided to have our birthday celebration. We set up camp, had a few cocktails, and enjoyed the afternoon sun. When the sun dissappeared behind the canyon wall we started a fire and cooked up a tasty meal that we let digest while watching the stars illimunate the desert sky.
The morning brought blue skies and a day on the river to be remembered. Floating by sandy beaches, caves, and springs along with a collection of hawks, butterflies, and bear our cameras were getting a workout. After a couple of serene hours the canyon walls tapered off and the whitewater resumed. Just three miles below our takeout lies the infamous White River Falls State Park, aka Celestial Falls. This impressive waterfall plunges ninety feet over a basalt shelf before falling again fourty-five feet into an amphitheater-like pool and yet another twenty feet just downstream! Needless to say we enjoyed our weekend and started off my new year in good fashion!