It was a tossup between doing the Upper John Day River between Dale and Monument or the Grande Ronde Wild and Scenic section. The Ronde had a little too much water and the John Day had a little too little. Ronde a well-known, well-traveled section with Trip Leader Mark Tracht having done it 3-4 times before. JDR more out of the way with neither paddler knowning much about the river. Grande Ronde won out with the trip turning out to be an easy, fast trip with lots of leisure time. This was a two-person, two-boat (canoe and IK) of 5 days/65 miles. River speed without a paddle in the water ran between 4-7 mph on the flat stretches. With that kind of speed, there was plenty of slack time and a decision made to skip the layover and come out a day early. The 32 miles on out-day is currently the single-day distance record for me. This is a self-permitted river so filled out the permit at Minam's and put it in the box. Boggan's ran the single vehicle shuttle with the price going up in recent times to our price of $95. We were open-ended on campsites, but the unspoken assumption was that Mark would rely on past locations and pick good ones.
Flow was all over the map for the preceeding two weeks ranging from 3000-6000 CFS. Mark stated that his sweet-spot was in the high two thousands so this was the highest water yet. Although an occasional bite, not much in the way of insect life. Weather was dodgy with a good rain on the first river night. From there it was party sunny, partly cloudy, partly warm, partly hot. It was all good. The BLM is the river manager. Photo credits: Mark Tracht, Gene Couch.