WA: Pilchuck River

Did the hike in on the Pilchuck River. Here is the trip report I submitted to the local whitewater club:

On yet another wet, rainy Friday Steve Munk and I headed up to grab our first D of the Pilchuck River. That’s not a typo…Pilchuck River and NOT Pilchuck Creek which we have run many times before. The Pilchuck is not an instant classic, despite that it is relatively close in proximity. Access is the issue, and if you have read about it in Bennett, the access issues have degraded and not improved since that book was printed. You need to hike to get to this ride. Now that I have 2 such boats in the stable Steve and I loaded packs at the gated old road and began hoofing it up. First thing of note is that that take out bridge is almost a mile from the put in road…so you will have a little extra scamper on the back end of your Pilchuck adventure if you are in one rig. But the hike itself is cake…fairly flat and wide and good to go. The ATVs mentioned on the AW page will not be an issue anymore…about a mile up a huge washout reduces the road to a narrow trail. More washouts were upstream including an even bigger one in the making. Since this was Steve’s first ever Packraft paddle, the flow was not a gimme (1200 and rising fast) we decided to hike in about 2.5 miles and put in below the Class IV gorge. We did hike up sans boats to check out the gorge…super good, but hard to see everything. For sure a return trip is in order to run the 2 fun rapids we saw in the bedrock realm far below. We then put in and paddled for a while and stopped during an almost sun break for lunch…nice little rapids and great scenery. A long set of Class 3 awaited us after lunch which then put us on high alert for the portage around an absolute killer 15 foot dam. The eddy was OK to catch at this flow…but at 2000 or so I would be gripped as a mistake is death. After the easy portage on river left, we soon saw the bridge and another notch could be made in my river log.