Trip Report: North Fork John Day
North Fork John Day
Submitted by Paul Norman
04/08- 04/10/2022, Camas Creek to Monument
(With apologies to those who would prefer to keep this little gem of a float a secret.) A group of 7 did our annual North Fork John Day trip April 8 to 10. 1 cat, 1 raft, 1 IK, 2 canoes, 1 kayak. We usually wait until May for the NFJD but it looked like the snow might be gone from the headwaters by then, so we went early. It was definitely a trip of weather extremes, as per usual in April in Central Oregon. It was sunny and 75 when we arrived at the Camas Creek put-in camp. It was in the low-60s the first day on the river, mid-20's that night, around 50 and very windy the next day on the river, and we woke to an inch of snow on the ground the morning of the third day. Par for the springtime course out there.
Those who know this float know that good camping is abundant above the confluence with the Middle Fork, and gets increasingly scarce below there. Flow was steady at about 1400 cfs at Monument the whole time. We usually run it with at least twice that much water, but this level was fine -- good current the whole way and minimal rock dodging. This section can get busy, but we saw only 2 other parties. An advantage of this level was that it is possible to get three rigs down to water level at the Monument take out ramp. That ramp can get hugely backed-up at peak periods when only one vehicle can get to the water. Arranging shuttle through Jeremy at the Boyer Store in Monument was super-informal -- a brief phone call and no paperwork or emails. But as usual the shuttle went fine.