The Wildest River: Kayaking the Upper Owyhee

In Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I follow a short distance behind Geoff, our expert kayaker, as he weaves with deft turns around rocks in the East Fork of the Owyhee River. Sheer, 300-foot cliffs of black rock rise close on our right and left, amplifying the roar of whitewater. Although paddling vigorously, I shiver in my wetsuit, soaked from the 37° F downpour unleashed by a thunderstorm 20 minutes ago. It’s our third day on the river and our third day of cold rain and wind. Wet and shivering has become my default status.

Then Geoff cuts left around a boulder parting the swift waters like a hippo standing broadside to the current.

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5 Responses to The Wildest River: Kayaking the Upper Owyhee

  1. Wes   |  April 5, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Great article! I’ve been wanting to do this for the past couple of years and I think this spring it might happen. A couple of questions for you. I’m considering starting at Duck Valley launch site. From what you know and have heard, would you sway me towards that put in or deep creek? Excuse me if you mentioned this, but what was the flow rate at ROme when you went? I love your blog. Thanks for the help.

    • MichaelALanza   |  April 6, 2017 at 7:53 am

      Thanks, Wes. I honestly don’t know much about Duck Valley. I believe we had to get landowner permission to put in at Deep Creek, but I don’t have the contact for that, either. I don’t recall the CFS when we did the trip. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. This is definitely a trip that requires a lot of research and digging and logistics. Good luck.

  2. bigdaddyhank   |  May 12, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Oh MY, what a wild trip!!

    • Wes   |  April 19, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      No problem, Mike. Thanks for the response. FYI to the community, Jon from Barker Expeditions also offers shuttle services and knows the area intimately. I recommend using him if you are to use an outfitter.

      • MichaelALanza   |  April 20, 2017 at 10:38 am

        Hi Wes, yes, I know Jon, and he does know the Owyhee canyons very well. Good luck to you.

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