If a river has more trees in it than water, is it a river or a forest?
  Our asinine quest for the answer to this and other even less meaningful paddling questions continues..

  By Jason Rackley

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If you like your water dirty and your rapids woody, then you just found your new favorite run. The Uppermost section of the Devils Lake Fork (also known as 'The Little Brown Bastard') is a hideous Oregon log-fest, containing more semi-runnable rapids formed by wood than any other river I have ever paddled.
In fact, almost every single rapid on this run is formed by wood, and the river boasts an endless array of mind-boggling Alder gardens punctuated by short, powerful Alderfalls. So, if you happen to the in the area and forget to take your Lithium, then this run is definitely a must-do!

Now, don't get me wrong. I think if any of us had even the slightest clue as to what waited downstream, there is no way we would have put on. ( Actually, we probably would've run it anyway, justifying our actions by saying "We gotta do it for the sake of completeness" or some other kind of asinine logic that we usually employ before doing something stupid in a kayak.. )

Nobody waits for action on The Little Brown Bastard; from the bridge you can see the first rapid, which requires a strong move past a huge root-wad that most of the water is going under. This is just a taste of what awaits downstream, so if you don't like the looks of this one, you might want to think about paddling elsewhere, or you could just sit under the put-in bridge and drink heavily.

The first steep section is known as 'Gettin Stupid', a long rapid that filters downstream at a mind-bending 40 fpm through approximately 500 metric tons of wood. You know when you have reached 'Gettin Stupid', because the river takes a sharp turn and disappears into what appears to be a forest, at least to the untrained eye. Fortunately we are highly experienced with torturous woodfests, so we estimated that the wood-to-water ratio was such that there was at least an even chance that we wouldn't end up pushing up a logjam by the end of the day, so.. off we went!

Umm.. there's wood in this eddy.. Jon clings to the wall and takes a breather in the middle of the toughest part of 'Gettin Stupid'.

Jon and Pete reach the bottom of 'Gettin Stupid'. Nobody was pushing up a logjam at this point... a major accomplishment!

It's kind of like hiking through the woods.. except you're in a kayak, and the trees are trying to kill you.

The best part about this run is THE TAKEOUT

Now, you should be strongly forewarned that there is a perfectly 'good' class IV run downstream, that has "Very Little Wood" and is "Actually Worth Doing". I only mention this because there may be those in your group who may want to keep going, past THE TAKEOUT.

Don't be fooled by their seductively rational arguments! If you don't experience THE TAKEOUT, then you really can't say 'I've paddled The Little Brown Bastard!' (or, for those of us with really heavy boats: 'I can't believe I ran this #@$ing piece of @#$#..' as you slip and fall in the mud for the thousandth time..)

The best part about the take-out for this run (besides the fact that it has about ten times the vertical gain of the takeout for the "Actually Worth Doing" section downstream) is that you fall down a LOT, so you get to have intimate experiences with all kinds of random garbage that the tourists have hucked out the windows of their SUVs as they buzz over the bridge, high overhead. There's lots of glass, bits of plastic, and a few suspicious bones here and there to spice things up.. A good time will be had by all!

Jon slogs up the muddy, garbage-strewn slope to reach the take-out. This photo was shot from the bridge, so I could delay my slog for as long as humanly possible, under the guise of 'getting the shot..' which is often interchangeable with 'avoiding the slog' or 'scouting the drop'...