Drag River - The 10 foot dam at Outlet Bay can be run, but care and good judgment are required. The move is to drive across the outflow with some lateral momentum from left to right so as to hit the eddy tight and high on river right below the falls. The main flow piles immediately into pinning rocks and/or timber, or worse, flows down the left channel where the penstock tube sits…. NOT a pleasant place. Set appropriate safety on the left.
After the dam, the river takes a tight 90 degree turn to the right and heads over another steep 4 foot falls. The best line is centre right along the green tongue into the eddy directly ahead of you. The fantastic “rail slide” on the left line is now broken.
Again the river takes a 90 degree turn and immediately plummets over another 10 to 12 foot, near vertical falls. The best line is near the centre, just right of a large log that sits perpendicular to the flow. Bump down and into the eddy on the right.
The final large drop is a long, very shallow slide that drops into some interesting, complex holes at the bottom. Get out and look at it from the eddy on river right at the lip of the slide. The best line here is to hit the second pyramidal wave at the lip of the slide dead centre and hold on. Paddling is very difficult as there are only a few inches of water below your hull.
Below here, the river slows to a long Class 2. Watch for new timber here. A long 1 km stretch of Class 1 (a few Class 2’s) follows. This is the place where you need to be constantly watching for downed trees.
A low bridge will herald the start of the lower canyon. This is a long ½ km stretch of beautiful, “creeky” water, requiring some precise boat control to run well. Immediately under the log bridge, the river picks up speed and narrows into a canyon. There is a small eddy on the right just as the river bends around a blind corner to the left. This eddy allows you to boat scout the next 50M stretch of Class 3. The next important eddy should be visible on your left far downstream. This eddy sits on the brink of the toughest rapids in the canyon. It’s worth a scout, especially in high water (the holes get big and hungry!).
The first ledge here can be run in higher water on the left with a good boof stroke. The meatier line is on the right, off the pillow, and through the hole. This should increase your pulse somewhat. The next ledge is best run far left, where the tongue is. The problem is that it sits only a few meters below the first drop so getting there is difficult without a perfect approach through the top ledge. There is a small eddy on the right to gather your wits before the final chute/falls. The 3rd drop has a tongue on the centre-right and leads immediately into a tight, steep chute (4th drop ). This final rapid can be boofed in the middle over the hole or snuck on the right where it is more of a slide. You’ve just completed the crux rapid.
Class 2/3 water continues for another 200 meters until you see a large willow stretched across the water. Be careful here but there is usually a clear gap near the left hand shore where you can slalom by. The canyon ends abruptly here and dumps into a large pond.
Paddle through the large culvert under the road and into the pool above the dam. Definitely have a look at this from river left (I usually scout this before I set shuttle). The dam is a steep 20 foot drop into an “auto-boof” ledge. Pretty well a straight shot down but again, be careful. The water pulls deceptively to the right where there is rebar, rocks, general ugliness, especially as the water drops. A little right to left momentum works well here. Enjoy the flight time….it’s one of the funnest rides you’ll have anywhere!
Take out is on the left by the platform. McKeck’s is just down the street for après paddling snacks and beverages, just across the street from AO Boatworks.