Nate Wilson: By late July, most of Northeastern Oregon's rivers and streams had neared what began to look like unnavigable flows. I had been watching the gauges for weeks in anticipation of my brother's arrival from South Carolina, and wondering if our planned float down the Grande Ronde was going to be a bust.
When we did finally arrive at the Minam store to set up a shuttle, no one that worked there made it seem like we wouldn't make it with the current levels and that was good enough for our crew. Along with my wife, brother, and dog, I pushed out into the current and immediately felt glad to be there.
No one does the Grande Ronde for the whitewater, so if we had to occasionally push our raft over a gravel bar it did not detract from the great scenery the river here is known for. My brother had good luck fishing on the cooler water near our put in, but found ample time to pester the fish through out our trip. None of us had a map or way to discern where we were, but managed to find plentiful camps in old growth Ponderosa Pine groves on elevated bars each night. Our days on the river were undoubtedly longer because of the low flows, but in the heat of the summer we wouldn't have strayed far from the water anyway.