green river gorge washington

Yet as we approached we entered the rapids with two adults, two fully grown border collies, and gear fitting for a day on the water, the packraft continued to shine. Moss, ferns, and other flora cling to the canyon walls in “hanging gardens” threaded with tiny waterfalls, creating rainforest-like scenery. I took advantage of the respite and studied the water we had just left. There are also individual stories of people who have a strong connection to this unique river carved canyon. The water pickup has recently been moved across the road where there is more parking and 7 water spouts. While the excitement of the morning was not unwelcomed, it was like sweets, you only wanted a little bit every once in a while. Now let’s see how consistent I can be.” I cast back, knowing that my confidence was starting to grow. I forced the paddle in the water to straighten the nose of the raft to align with the roaring whitewater in front of us. The river was too deep and the current was far too fast to make a presentation that the trout would find enticing. Large trout. Instantly, a small brook trout exploded out of the water attempting to throw my fly. With the other I slid the barbless hook out and he darted off immediately into the depths of the river. This wasn’t going to be the last bit of whitewater we were going to experience. A long ride through south King County — with treats. A donation is required for whatever you feel the water is worth to you. I could see multiple boulders the size of cars and houses that the river navigated through over the next half mile. That flexibility allowed it to stay on top of the water. The green river gorge spring water is open 24 hours a day. The trailhead is on the far side of the field with a yellow vehicle gate. Explore the most popular trails in Green River Gorge Conservation Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. Nothing. The Green River Gorge is a rugged landscape of steep ravines, coves, and old-growth and mixed hardwood forest which boasts the some of the most popular whitewater rapids in the eastern United States. Cait handed me the double ended paddle over her head and the four of us made our way down the river like an expert crew. The fish were at least six feet down and by the time the small fly reached that depth, it was far past where the fish were. As the rear of the raft entered into the fall, I got a slight bump that allowed me to see down the river. This would allow them to breathe and snag anything lost in the river that could make an easy meal. “HOLY CRAP THATS COLD!” Cait called out as my euphoria was interrupted by reality. Yet each time there was a splash or a wave crashing against the gunnels of the boat, more ice cold water got in. The Green River Gorge is a 12-mile sandstone gorge cut by the Green-Duwamish River located near Seattle. The packraft juked and jived over more rapids, none as intense as when we entered over the small waterfall. State Parks has been buying land along the Green River Gorge since the 1960s, both to protect the views from the river and to provide recreational opportunities. We would need a respite before much longer and I wanted to get back to the whole reason for this trip; fishing. The Green River Gorge Resort also offers parking, short hikes for access to the river but the trails and in some places stairs are steep and can be very slippery in wet conditions. A quick look indicated success, so I began to lash the ruck back to the raft. The water is purified by an ultraviolet light an tested nearly every day. Join our Newsletter! That wasn’t something that I had in my kit. For a largely unconsidered river that is mostly unvisited, it’s incredibly wild. Cait was up walking around and playing with the dogs. All photography by Lisa Parsons unless specified otherwise, Personal stories of people connected to the river, History of Green River Gorge Conservation. I set the hook. We were doing it. The Green River Gorge Swimming Hole is the classic "locals" spot that is little known by outsiders. The packraft had picked up some decent speed on our descent down into the gorge and that translated into a hearty impact as it ran up onto the gravel bar. I wasn’t going to be able to get to where the fish were unless I either gave up my fly fishing gear or drastically changed my approach. Specialties: The Green River Gorge Spring Water filling station and the Green River Gorge Wilderness Trail are located at the edge of the old Franklin ghost town. Almost a lake with a slight current, the open area was only five to six feet deep on one side and extremely shallow everywhere else. At the far end of the large pool was shallow rapids that trickled the pool down a steep grade and disappeared into the future. The river is a popular tubing spot in the Summer. The river meandered, hemmed and hawed until we made a nearly ninety degree right hand turn. It was an understatement, I knew we had a lot more to go, but I didn’t want to stress Cait out. Once he reached my feet, he surrendered almost as if he knew that he had failed to escape. We have a few more to go” I called out as we tracked toward the next ripple in the water entering in the left side of the river. Work is like mace to the fanny pack wearing, chubby suburban crowd that often finds some of the most beautiful spots then overruns them. I pushed my old green packraft that I had purchased years ago into the raging waters of the river. I let out an exhale and took the moment to reflect on what we had just done. The difference of this river with others is the ferocity of those little rapids. Downstream from the Green River Gorge is the half-mile wide Green River Valley, where farmland has been protected from development. We’ve made our way south to the city of Auburn for a ride through Green River Valley. Decided to head to the upper Green River right below the hwy. Being a single man exploring various wilderness over the years, I had learned to pack super light so I would not be distracted by gear. After a few casts, I felt the all to familiar tug at the end of the line. Parking is $5 on a private field on the right side just before the Green River Gorge Bridge. So while Cait sunned herself in an effort to shake off the cold of the river, I worked my way to the top of the boulder. I had my feet splayed out either side with her leaning back into my lap. The nose of the packraft entered the fall and I felt it push into the air. 100 yards to our left on the other side of the gravel bar was a father and his two small daughters. She slipped and fell into the water. As we came around the large rock outcrop that the turn bent around, the right side of the canyon disappeared into a large open area of the river. Despite the size of the fish that I caught that day, I treasured it. Otherwise serene and beautiful, the deafening sound of the river’s rip through the canyon we occupied reminded it us it was also deadly. My husband and I decided to go for a short hike nearby. The Green River cuts through sandstone and shale to form a deep, rugged canyon with numerous “kettles” and other grotesque formations carved by the water. This beautiful scenic rocky gorge offers 14 miles of class III-IV whitewater and lots of great play spots for rafters and kayakers. That would add weight to my fly and pull it to the depth it needed to be at in order to reach the fish. The river roared through the Green River Gorge as we inflated our packraft. I felt like a new section of the world was unlocked and mine for the taking. “Hang on! I had missed the little trout that had taken an interest in my fly. Green River Gorge is an interesting stretch of water. “Uhhhh….ok”, she stammered back as the boat bounced up and down in the wake of another rock that was disrupting the river’s flow. The extra buoyancy would likely keep the raft upright and everyone else dry. The primary advocate for the preservation and protection of whitewater rivers throughout the United States and connects the interests of human-powered recreational river users with ecological and science-based data to achieve goals within our mission. The bottom followed a steep grade; it was very shelf like. Today is a gorgeous spring day in Tacoma, warm with blue sky. There are stories from those connected to the river and it is a documentary on the conservation history starting with the original efforts by Wolf Bauer in the 1960s. For a moment, only half of the boat was on the falling, raging whitewater below us. The dogs reluctantly walked back over to our little corner of the gravel bar. That old Alpaca Raft had seen saltwater marshes, Arkansas swamps, large flatwater lakes, and small ponds all over America. “Yeah, this is no big deal…just looks bad.” I reassured her. We were less than a half hour away from our driveway, yet to someone that didn’t know better it would appear that we were in an unexplored wilderness. The dogs immediently jumped on to dry land and started shaking off the experience. Defeated in the hole that I had been searching for, I packed up my gear and resolved to refit and return. I figured this was going to fail miserably and I would end up washed ashore wishing I would have drowned rather than face Cait’s wrath. I drifted back into reality and stood up, pulling the boat to shore. I presented my fly with those things in mind. Yet with a wife, gear, and two dogs my little raft kept us safe and was driving on down the river completely unabated. The river roared through the Green River Gorge as we inflated our packraft. With the warm summer sun beaming down on us, the little splashes seemed like refreshments on our skin rather than the unwelcome attacks they were earlier. The Green is hit pretty hard by gear anglers but for those willing to hike a bit, the Green River Gorge and the upper stretches of the river offer some solitude from the masses. They were in there by the dozens and were all pointed upriver. From the gravel bar, I presented my yellow nymph upstream hoping that the current would bring it to the trout I had seen below. “YES!”, I cried out of pure joy. Yet, my fear completely deflated when I found myself keeping the raft straight as it weaved its way through each little ripple in the river. Green River Gorge State Park is a cultural feature (park) in King County. What about the uncharted dangers of the Yukon or the Northwest Territories? For a largely unconsidered river that is mostly unvisited, it’s incredibly wild. Where most canoes and kayaks would have plunged in, the packraft flexed. It bent in the middle slightly as the boats buoyancy pushed back against the swirling water below us. It has never had a bad report. At the rim of the gorge, the large spring appears from beneath a hillside covered with ferns and salmonberry. The sun was out and the mood had changed from when we had shot the rapids. Images of the Green River Gorge by Wolf Bauer. That’s unheard of for a river in this area in the middle of summer. Even the dogs were dry and ready to embark. With the amount of flow that was there they could breath fairly easily and have food brought to them, yet they didn’t have to fight the full force of the current as they would elsewhere in the river. The sides of the crevice were stepped at different depths creating shelves for fish to hover around. I scrambled back down the boulder and broke out my fly rod. As we approached the first stretch of white water I felt the anticipation swelling in my stomach. “Hey! Another in our series by Nancy Yu. There were trout. The Green River Gorge swimming hole is perfection. I knew that the packraft was used widely in Alaska to pack out moose, elk, caribou, and bison on rivers, but I had never tested its weight limit. I caught myself feeling a little stress from the presence of the little family and our dogs’ interest in them. I changed positions and altered my approach. I hope that the stories, history, and landscape capture your attention and draw you in to become part of the story and the vision for the future. The Green River Gorge The Green River Gorge is a rarely visited site outside of Seattle. While it was somewhat effective, it wasn’t effective enough. Now married to a woman that loved her dogs, weight and gear became a whole new item of consideration. Perhaps I could cast in such a way that the current would work to my advantage pulling the fly down as it plunged into the crevice. Sponsored Topics. I glanced over and noticed that there was a path onto the top of the boulder, but I would need to scale some other rocks to get there. There is a rich history of conservation of the Green River Gorge. Between having to park cars in two different places, pack in all our gear a mile down a canyon, then float several miles to Flaming Geyser State Park, we were more than insulated from a crowd that I had declared to be my sworn enemy. The boat was also starting a hard left spin as the water churned underneath it. “Despite the size of the fish that I caught that day, I treasured it. I knew people used packrafts on whitewater, but had never been afforded the luxury of seeing them in action. With a push of the paddle we were off and floating to our next adventure. This website showcases the work of conservation photographer, Lisa Parsons, who has spent 17 years as an advocate for conserving this unique area. The fish, I postulated leaning on years of experience catching a wide variety of fish, would be stacked on the shelf with their nose to the current. I cast back upstream to allow the current to take my fly into the shallows. He continuously fought, but being so small any effort he put forth was utterly hopeless. My ruck was sideways across the front and both dogs were perched on Cait’s lap looking straight ahead. There was no way out at this point other than through the rapids that lay before us. Icy Creek emerges from an underground channel where the gorge begins to slope toward the Green River. Unfortunately, most of the fish were pinks. At its most impressive point, the Green River drops 400 feet in a distance of one and a half miles and runs through a six-foot wide crevice known as the Narrows. The looks of people unfamiliar with packrafts was something that I had ignored at first, but come to take as trophies over the years. Telling her I was also terrified wouldn’t help anything, instead I wanted her to have a strong, reassuring presence so that she at least felt safe in the face of danger. Home->Washington River Trips->Green River. Aside from the father with his two small children that we were attempting to give a wide berth to, we were utterly alone on a Saturday. Like any river, it has large, quiet pools broken up by little sections of rapids. It’s unconventional, but so is every great thing at the beginning of its life. Learn more about river safety. “Ok, you get in first with the dogs, then I will shove us off and we will be on our way.” I barked to Cait as if I were captaining a battleship into the Pacific. She always liked to watch me fish, but never seemed to want to partake herself. “Yeah it is!”, I responded as I started making sure that we had everything we entered the falls with. The dogs played with each other as they explored the gravel bar. More from Lisa Parsons at: www.lisaparsons.net, Subscibe to Field Notes From Green river Gorge Greenway. We were moments away from the fall and I couldn’t hear myself think of the sound of the river. A trail from Seattle to Kent along the Green and Duwamish Rivers – The Green River Trail is one of the longest contiguous regional trails in the Puget Sound Region with 19 paved miles from the south edge of Seattle to the city of Kent. If I were a large brown trout, I would want to be at the bottom of this little tear in the river bottom. 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