Rafting Oregon’s Lower Owyhee River III 16-Apr-2019

Day 3: Pruitt’s Castle Camp to Upper Whistling Bird Camp (6,740 cfs)

The rain ceased in the night and we awoke to a day of gloriously dry clarity. 😎 The colors and shapes that form Pruitt’s Castle, which had looked drab under yesterday’s cloudy skies, lit up exuberantly in the morning light. After the baggage rafts left, we did a short hike over to view the Chalk Basin and Lambert Dome.

The morning light inflames Pruitt’s Castle
Pruitt’s Castle
Pruitt’s Castle
Rob loading one of the baggage rafts
Starting our hike to see Lambert Dome
Looking downstream over the Chalk Basin
Lambert Dome
Balsamroot was beginning to flower

After our hike and lunch back at the rafts, we broke camp and headed downstream. Thanks to the high flows, we encountered only wave trains before stopping to see Potters Cave [RM 30], an overhanging (now partially collapsed) rock shelter that has been in use for as long as 7,000 years. Then it was a short float to our camp at Upper Whistling Bird [RM 31]. Just before camp, at Whistling Bird Rapid, the river flows hard towards the right wall where a huge flake has detached from the wall. Despite the high flows, this was still a pretty exciting rapid.

Passing Lambert Dome
Going downstream toward possibly threatening clouds
The river cuts a notch in a lava flow at Potters Cave.
Potters Cave
The view upriver from Potters Cave
Continuing on…
And on…
Past sheer cliffs of basalt…
To the beach at Upper Whispering Bird Camp
This convoluted tower of basalt sits directly above Whispering Bird Rapid
Looking downstream from camp
Evening at Upper Whispering Bird (today the tarp had been for sun, not rain 🙂 )

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