As our summer in the Northwest wound down to an end, we decided there would be no better way to finish it off than to spend a week running the Little White Salmon near Hood River. Little White is usually done by this time of year, but we found really nice flows between 3.1' and 2.9' for our week there.
Getting in the Groove
We were lucky to hook up with a variety of great people to paddle with during our week there. Some days there are plenty of folks, and some days you can get shut down because even though there is perfect weather and perfect flows, nobody shows.
The run starts with about 1/4 mile of warmup, then plunges through a 1/4 mile long rapid called "Gettin' Busy." GB is a lot like the classic West Prong back home at a solid medium to high flow, and will definitely get you awake and ready for action. At the end of Gettin' Busy is Boulder Sluice - a fast ramp to a boof toward a rock with a pretty solid rapid in the runout.
After Boulder Sluice the boogie chills out a little bit, as you make your way down through (or around) Island Drop, Sacriledge, and Double Drop. All of the bigger named rapids have miniature versions of Gettin' Busy between them, so there is never a dull moment on Little White. After Double Drop, the river becomes even more pool/drop, and you get in to some of the classic rapids that Little White is best known for.
The main blast of excitement for those who are starting out on Little White is Wishbone - a mandatory 20 footer that is really blind but as clean as can be. It's almost impossible to scout this thing, so you have to take the leap of faith your first time!
After Wishbone, there is a tricky gorge with a three stage rapid leading into Horseshoe - a sticky hole that you have to boof over. Just below Horseshoe is another burly drop - Stovepipe.
Below Stovepipe things chill out considerably for a few minutes while you paddle down to the main attraction.