Oregon boasts more wild and scenic rivers than any other state in America. I’ve been on most of them but the John Day River has been on my bucket list for along time. Last week, me and my fellow crewmen conquered the John Day.
This river is so remote there is no cell service, no World Cup soccer, no toilets. And because this river is in protected wilderness, several permits are requires: permits for paddles, permits for pests(invasive species), and most notably, permits for poop. Therefore, a bucket was on our gear lists and tied into the canoe.
River time was quiet. We faced a few class II rapids, many class I , and enough riffles to keep our paddles busy on this 47 mile stretch. Steep, monumental canyons provided plenty of wildlife as well: bald eagles, river otter, osprey, deer, and at night, bullfrogs.
Because campfires are not permitted, camp time was a time to reflect on our river time and past canoe trips. We also passed time playing river bocci~~~caveman style~~~with rocks. After three nights on the John Day, the entire crew were ready for showers. We were beginning to smell like cavemen.
On this canoe trip, the only thing between the wilderness and the John Day River was a Woody(not quite naked, but very afraid), a Lucas(a slip of a lad), and two Johns(well three, if you count the bucket).