Day has come and gone, the Seahawks are starting the football season,
Seattle is in the midst of breaking a record for days without rain and -
as I type these words - the Tieton River,
a mere 30 minutes from Yakima, begins its annual white water rebirth.
Why, you may ask, is there water sluicing down the red rock canyon on
the east side of White Pass, while every other commercial rafting river
in the state flows at a trickle?
The Tieton River
owes its September existence to two factors: irrigation and fish.
Irrigation needs place a demand on the river late in the summer and that
is why, toward the end of August and the beginning of our 'Indian
summer', the outflow from Rimrock Lake starts to escalate. But fish are
the true driving force behind the September resurrection of one of the
busiest Class III white water rivers in the Northwest.
our government accommodating the needs of fish every year immediately
after Labor Day weekend, white water enthusiasts have - at least - three
weeks to get out and play on the busy, fun waters of the appropriately
named Tieton River, which is said to be an Indian word for "roaring
waters". The Tieton River
includes a dozen or more boat-drenching rapids and innumerable sets of
delightful waves. The best white water can be found between the dam and
mile or so below Rimrock Retreat, Washington, with rapid names like
Double Barrel, Dodge City, Grimy Gulch, High Noon and Waffle Wall.
is rarely an issue on the Tieton River because 90% of the land appears
to be Forest Service. Besides the half-dozen established campgrounds
along the river, there are another half-dozen on Rimrock Lake and more
primitive, undeveloped camp sites than can be counted. Call the Naches
Ranger District (1-877-444-6777 ) in Naches, Washington if you are
concerned about reserving a site or reserve online.
if your summer just flew by and you were unable to get out rafting, the
Tieton River is your last chance for 2012 before the fall rains begin
to inundate the region. Combine your 14 mile river trip with a
leisurely drive through Mount Rainier National Park or a spontaneous
visit to the wineries around Yakima. You can also drive up to the
artist colony/town of 'Mighty' Tieton on the plateau above the river for a dose of creativity with jaw-dropping views of the Cascades.