Wild & Scenic Rivers Part One with Greg Hatten and Pendleton

Note: Please enjoy this guest post from Greg Hatten, of WoodenBoat adventure fame. He took some Pendleton blankets along on his latest river runs. Here’s his write-up!

The Painted HIlls blanket by Pendleton, at Oregon's Painted Hills. Photo and hand-built wooden boat by Greg Hatten

Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

“The great purpose of this act is to set aside a reasonable part of the vanishing wilderness, to make certain that generations of Americans yet unborn will know what it is to experience life on undeveloped, unoccupied land in the same form and character as the Creator fashioned it… It is a great spiritual experience. Unless we preserve some opportunity for future generations to have the same experience, we shall have dishonored our trust.”
Senator Frank Church (1957-1981)

In 1968, Congress passed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and President Johnson signed it into law. The primary goal was to “protect and preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations.”

Eight rivers were inducted in the original group and, now, fifty years later, there are over 200 rivers in the program. The state of Oregon has more protected rivers than any other state by far – with over 50 included in the program.

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of that legislation, I’m running several of the classic rivers that are under its protection in 2018.

Buffalo National River

I started in the Midwest with a spring high water kayak run down the upper section of the Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas. It’s 153 miles in total but I only ran a short section where it runs through the Ozark National Forest.

Greg Hatten's wooden boat on the trailer at the entrance to Lost Valley, before he takes on the Buffalo River.Greh Hatten's wooden boat waiting on the banks of the Buffalo National RiverA woman stands on a rocky outcropping, taking in a view of the Ozark Mountains. Photo by Greg Hatten

This run features a steep gradient drop, whitewater rapids and dramatic topography that includes sink holes, caves, beautiful limestone bluffs, numerous hiking trails and spectacular views of the Ozark Mountains.

Running the Deschutes River

In late May, I went out west to join up with my river running buddies for a fly fishing and camping trip on one of our favorite Wild and Scenic Rivers in the north central part of Oregon – the Deschutes. On my way through the state, I stopped just short of the river to see the Painted Hills in the John Day Fossil Bed National Monument. The Pendleton blanket I had chosen for the trip was the Painted Hills blanket and I was amazed at how the accent colors of the blanket matched the vivid hues of the hills so perfectly.

Painted Hills in the A pile of Greg Hatten's gear, including the Painted Hills blanket by Pendleton, at the John Day Fossil Bed National Monument

A rafter on the rapids of Oregon's Deschutes River. Photo by Greg HattenThe attraction of this river is the incredible native redsides that come alive in May when the hatch of large salmon flies sets off a feeding frenzy that is amazing to witness–and so much fun to fish.

A redside in the hands of a fisherman. Photo by Greg Hatten

It also features the Class IV White Horse Rapid which is the scene for probably more boat “wrecks” than any rapid in the Pacific Northwest. Another attraction of this trip? The elaborate meals cooked beside a rushing river on open fires and Dutch ovens by some of the best river chefs in the great outdoors.

A collage of campfire cookery delights. Photos by Greg Hatten.

 

RIver running gear in Greg hatten's wooden boat, including the Painted HIlls blanket by Pendleton. Photo by Greg HattenI have several more Wild and Scenic Rivers to run in 2018 – stay tuned for periodic updates.

Greg Hatten

See the blanket

Thanks, Greg! Here’s the Painted Hills blanket.

See it here: Painted Hills blanket

The Painted Hills blanket by Pendleton Woolen Mills.

Rising from the dry plains of Eastern Oregon, bare earth undulates in folds of scarlet, ochre, and yellow. These are the Painted Hills, whose brilliant stripes inspired this design and were created by oxidized mineral deposits in layers of volcanic ash. Adventurers who want to take a road trip into the past can see the hills, visit the nearby John Day Fossil beds and explore the ghost towns of this remote part of Oregon’s landscape. 

• Unnapped 
• Ultrasuede® trim; twin is felt-bound 
• Pure virgin wool/cotton 
• Fabric woven in our American mills 
• Dry clean 
• Made in USA

Greg Hatten visits Badlands National Park

Travels with Greg

A dirt road in South Dakota, with a vehicle in the distance.

Ed. note: Our friend Greg Hatten took a small detour to Badlands on his way home from Oregon this year. And since our #pendle10park explorer has shown us so many photos of spires and stacks, we thought we’d share Greg’s beautiful prairie shots, as the prairie is a huge part of this beautiful South Dakota park. Enjoy!

In the Badlands National Park, there is a Wilderness Area where bison, coyotes, prairie dogs, and snakes make their homes. You can be a guest there and share this space with them – at least for a night or two.

Prairie with prairie dogs

Look closely; there be prairie dogs in this photo.

Bison through the rig's window

Ed. note: We love the bison here, but we also love the national park stickers on Greg’s windshield. These were an enticement to the early motorists traveling from park to park. Like this (this is not Greg, though):

A photo from the 1920s, a woman shows off her national park visitor stickers, which threaten to block her windshield!

Now, back to Greg’s story in the present day.

It’s the primitive camping area at Sage Creek in the North Unit of the park and if you take the rutted dusty “rim road” on the north side of the Badlands park you will find it – tucked between the gentle bluffs and rolling hills of buffalo grass in South Dakota – just southeast of Rapid City and the Black Hills.

Greg's rig parked at Sage Creek.

As I pulled into the area, it was a warm day for October and the only signs of life were a couple of bison calmly grazing who didn’t even look up as I rolled by in my FJ Cruiser pulling my little wooden boat. A ring-necked rooster pheasant was quite a bit more shy but still curious about the sound of loose gravel crunching beneath the tires. My window was down and I took a quick photo just before he put his head down and disappeared in the tall grass.

Making camp.
Camping with the Badlands National park blanket by Pendleton

While there are no rivers to “float” in the Badlands, I was towing my boat through the park on my way to the midwest for a little off-season repair work. I’m so used to camping next to the boat on the river, it somehow seemed to “fit” in this rustic setting. If nothing else, I figured it would be a nice wind break for my campsite. I picked a level spot for the tent that was in-between buffalo “pies” that were stale and crusty and no longer smelled. The canvas tent blended with the terrain and when camp was “set”, I pulled out my lap-top and did some late afternoon writing as the sun set and the temperatures started dropping.

A susnet over the proarie

Greg’s post has a lot of beautiful photos and much more story. Read the rest here: Find Your Park in a Wooden Boat: Badlands

National-Park-Collection-100_Color-Logo