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The Gearboat Chronicles

Everyone to the ark, rivers are on a rampage

Uh-roooogah . . . uh-roooogah . . . Flood Stage Alert. The Grande Ronde is grande right now. Behold what 25,000 cubic feet per second looks like under the old bridge at Troy –

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Yowza. Here’s what it looks like from afar. (photos courtesy of somebody who linked somebody’s photos on facebook. Thanks, Winklevoss twins.)

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And she’s up over the road in places –

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The Imnaha River also let a few notches out on its belt, doubling from 800 to 1,600 the other day.

At the moment the Grande Ronde is dropping, but I’m going to keep an eyeball on this just out of curiosity.

Steelheaders: you know how everyone talks about a big flush pulling fish up? Well, here you go.

Big water on the Grande Ronde brings Buzz Holstrom to mind. If you don’t know about this guy, you ought to. We’ve recommended the book The Doing of the Thing: The Brief, Brilliant Whitewater Career of Buzz Holstrom before.  For good reason. It’s a helluva story and that’s not just the Winding Waters Reading Club talking. It won the 1998 National Outdoor Book Award for history and biography.

Spoiler: There’s a sad ending to the life of this remarkable man, and it went down near a camp on the Grande Ronde River during a high water trip Buzz was running a sweep boat for.

Follow this link to the site of Vince Welch, who co-authored ‘The Doing of the Thing’ along with Cort Conley & Brad Dimock. There’s links to buy the book and you can also check out his recent work ‘The Last Voyageur’, about another Oregonian river badass, Amos Burg. Penny’s got copies of both books on the shelf at the Boathouse Shop.

Vince is coming out this June for a special trip down the Grande Ronde, centered around the Buzz Holstrom story. I’m looking forward to this, a lot. If they don’t let me go, I’m just going to follow along in a kayak anyway. We’ve been talking to Mr. Welch about doing a reading at the boathouse in Joseph before the trip launches, for those who are interested but won’t be on the boats. I suggest you be on the boats. It’s like a book club meeting, but with rafting and camping. I dunno why nobody’s thought of this before.

Here’s more info on the June Buzz Holstrom float with writer Vince Welch and Winding Waters. And me. In a kayak. Following along behind and eavesdropping around the campfire.