By Jon Almquist
On Oct 10-11, a lucky number of us (13) enjoyed a fantastic weekend of paddling and camping on the southern Olympic Peninsula. With the Wynoochee gorge take-out access road gated by Green Diamond Resource Co., we were a little worried that our normal early-fall / low water favorite – the Wynoochee Gorge – wasn’t an option with the dry conditions we were experiencing. But ma nature came through with some good rains which brought the Humptulips river into fine form. We had water!
Saturday found us on the Falls section of the Humpulips, with the river rising. But that run holds water well, and the higher-than-normal level (for early Oct) simplified the approach to the falls portage. Finishing the Falls run, we had a riverside discussion about Sunday options. With the forecast predicting abating precipitation, we decided to “chance it”. With that, we left our boats down at river’s edge in anticipation of paddling the Gorge section the following day. This made the 1+ mile hike out to our shuttle vehicles easier. Back at camp, Jeromy already had a large group tarp pitched from his arrival the night before. This made settling into camp and prepping dinner in the rain much easier - thanks Jeromy! That night, as predicted, the rains stopped and the skies cleared. And our gamble paid off!
On Sunday the levels were dropping and the water clearing, which made for a really enjoyable day on the Humptulips gorge.