Blue River

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Blue River is more like a creek than a river, with many fun, technical rapids that drop through a series of small, tight gorges. The upper mile (from Quentin Creek to Cook Creek bridge) is usually very woody- the last time we ran it (June of 1999) we had to portage a logjam and dodge many other logs. The four mile section from Cook Creek bridge to the reservoir is much cleaner, with many fun drops and very little wood.

Most of the photos in this guide were taken at a relatively low flow of ~200 cfs, mainly because that was the only time I ever took my camera on this run. I have never again run this section this low as it is much more enjoyable at four to five times the flows shown here.

If you choose to put in at Quentin Creek, you will encounter the class V rapid known as Food for Thought. This double ledge drop isn't really worth all the wood you have to deal with to get to it, but if you insist on paddling this section, here's why this one is class V. A local expert nearly lost his life running this drop a few years back. He pitoned into the rock, got worked, swam, and got trapped in the hydraulic for a long time. This hole is really sticky as it is strongly backed up by the boulder, so be sure to set up a rope!

Steve Stuckmeyer runs the first part of Food For Thought. (flow 500 cfs)

Griff runs the middle drop on Food for Thought. The large boulder backing up the hole is barely visible in the middle of the river. (flow: 500 cfs)

Below FFT, get ready to deal with some wood... Mike is in here somewhere...

The biggest drop on the lower four miles is a twisty boulder garden visible from the road. Variously called Pincushion or S-turn, this fun drop gets a lot easier with more water. At the low flows pictured here the slots are a bit narrow and the sharp rock at the bottom has wrapped a boat. Just to give you an idea of how low it was the day these photos were taken, usually when we run this river we boof the large triangular boulder directly in front of Mike... this is looooow water.

Mike at the top of Pincushion. (flow: 200 cfs)

All of the rest of the rapids on Blue can be boat scouted or easily checked from the shore. If you run Blue at 800 cfs or higher, check out nearby Lookout Creek. The bottom mile on Lookout has two large ledgy drops that make for a fine way to end the day, and since both Blue and Lookout have the same takeout it is a logical extension to a run down Blue.

Mike on one of the many fun drops on the lower section. (flow: 200 cfs)