This was a wild trip. My Dad and I had been scouting the river, and planning the ride down the Nehalem river for months. He read all he could find on the dangers, and decided to try floating from a higher point at Spruce Run. After pumping the 14 foot cataraft up, we got it loaded on the trailer, and headed south past Cannon Beach on Highway 101. Our friend Steve tagged along. He knows the Nehalem well, and has been fishing for Steelhead on it for years. We used his rig to shuttle us back to the trailer, and drag the raft up a steep bank at Beaver Slide after traveling 13.3 miles.
This journey didn’t go exactly as planned. We unhooked the raft too soon, and it fell off the trailer when we were backing it up to the water. After that mishap, we picked it up by hand, and got her wet. It was a smooth ride at first, but early into the excursion we lost an oar lock. Thankfully, Pops was wise enough to have an extra on hand. Without the oar lock, we would have lost an oar and been screwed. I had a great time chatting with the boys, and relaxing. We were also trying to locate a lost dog, that had a $2500 reward for information resulting in his rescue. No luck on that. We did however see a coyote, fish, and a bald eagle.
The Nehalem got rougher, and more dangerous as we got lower on the river. The water was freezing, and we were wet. I had a wetsuit, booties, and gloves to stay warm. On a quick stop I used the spring water I collected to make Mountain House spaghetti with my Jetboil Zip camping stove. Steve and I warmed our hands on the hot bag as the food cooked. Near the end of our unexpected journey we ran into more trouble. We got hung up on a boulder, and spun around. Then at Salmonberry Drop we got blasted by a 7 foot wave, and my camera went out. You gotta watch the video in 720p HD. It was a hell of an adventure. We got out alive, but not without a little suffering. We won’t be rafting the Nehalem again soon.
Here’s a fun video I made of the first time my Dad and I rafted the lower part of the Nehalem River.