Posts tagged: latah creek
CANOEING — Despite the bad news recently about paddlers on the area's swollen waters, some canoeists and kayakers are enjoying the season safely.
Going with a group of people with comparable skills, knowing the weather forecast and having the right gear on your body and in the canoe or kayak can make a big difference.
A Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club group was on Hangman Creek Saturday after the river had come down from veryhigh flows the previous week. While rafters like higher flows in the upper river for their thrills, canoests generally look for flows in the neighborhood of 1200 cfs to avoid too much big water and still have enough to float without banging their boats on rocks.
“Saturday's flow was900-940 cfs, which was nice for our group,” said Dan Hansen.
“We ran into a kayaker who mentioned he would have liked bigger waves. I think it could have dropped another 100 cfs or so, and we still would have been happy.
“As it was, (Therese Wittman and I) took on a lot of water at the Big Rock Wave (in Vinegar Flats), bailed out the water, then went back to surf… that’s when we dumped my Dagger Legend.
“Luckily, I had bought a wetsuit … the day before our outing… the best $37 I’ve ever invested.
“I was also glad that I had an air bladder in the canoe (to make it easy to swim the boat to shore).”
PADDLING — Spokane paddler and guidebook author Dan Hansen couldn't find a scouting report for a stretch of Hangman Creek at high water, so he set out by foot to find out for himself.
Hansen hiked the 10-mile stretch from the Qualchan Historical Monument site downstream to Valley Chapel Road and found excellent paddling water — with a few big rapids to be aware of — at a flow of about 1,000 cubic feet per second.
See Dan Hansen's Facebook page video report of Hangman Creek at 1,000 cfs.
Note: Hansen previously reported that he floated the river at 3,500 cfs. Here's his retraction of that initial report:
“A group of us ran that section of the creek after I sent that…. It was 1,000 CFS, and it was actually just about perfect. I remember thinking at the time that my initial assessment of the creek was wrong. I’d be scared to death to run it at 3,500.”
This week: On Tuesday, Hangman Creek peaked at almost 3,500 cfs. It's down to 1,700 today but likely will go back up considering the amount of rain in the weather forecast.
Directions to Qualchan Historial Monument:
Drive south from Spokane to Waverly, which is just southwest of Fairfield. From the main street tavern, go north and west on Spangle/Waverly Road 5.5 miles. Turn right and follow North Kentuck Trails Road just over 2 miles to Hangman Creek. Cross the bridge and start looking for the small monument on the left.
RIVERS — The river running season is officially underway on Hangman (Latah) Creek, and it could be over in another day or two.
Unlike most rivers that require spring runoff to get the juices flowing, Hangman is notorious for brief spurts of high flows generated by rain-on-snow events like we had this weekend.
Expect to see experienced river runners equipped for being on the cold, off-color water testing their river skills on Wednesday.
RIVER RUNNING — Seven canoeists wearing dry suits had a wet and wonderful trip Sunday on Hangman Creek.
We all agreed that a flow of 1,200 cfs was about as good as this trip would get,” reported Dan Hansen. “I’m really glad I didn’t try running it that day it was flowing at 3,400.”
“Chris Haralam and I did some more scouting Saturday and felt humbled by a big series of waves about 1.5 miles below the (Qualchan) historic marker. So we moved Sunday’s put-in to the Keevy Road bridge, which is the tail end of those rapids. Still, there was plenty of whitewater.
“It took us almost two hours to go the first two miles because we were doing so much scouting of routes. After that, it was smooth sailing, with quick water and rapids that quickened the pulse without being a real threat. And the canyon is beautiful.
“No one swam, but we all had to make frequent bailers.”
PADDLING — The rain-on-snow event that's making Inland Northwest roads and landscapes a mess is an opportunity to behold for paddlers and rafters.
E-mails were buzzing today with the possibility of a rare opportunity this weekend to run boatable flows down Hangman Creek and the Palouse River.
If the forecast hold true, the rivers will be running big, brown and ugly with runoff, perfect for skilled paddlers properly dressed in dry suits and PFDs.