I just got back from paddling the Lower Five of the North Fork Payette. This stretch of river definitely lives up to its reputation. Full of rocks, holes, and absolutely non-stop!
Hounds Tooth: This is an awesome rapid. I put in partway down, ran the boof on the right of Hounds Tooth, and plopped into the eddy. The second time, missed my boof, braced hard as I landed, then was funneled straight into the line down the center of the rapid.
Small class IV a little after Hounds Tooth: I flipped in this rapid. Twice. Big hit coming off the left bank, which flipped me the first time, then the second time stayed upright through the big hit, only to run straight into a rock sticking just out of the water. I really don’t recommend flipping here. It’s a little rocky.
Juicer: Definitely felt like class V. Holes everywhere, although none of them seemed overly sticky. I avoided Juicer hole at least, but think I ended up in just about every other one! Flipped once, scraped a couple rocks, then rolled up. I think this was the hardest rapid on the run, quite a bit to look out for and easy to get disoriented.
Crunch: Lots of fun! Holes everywhere, fun to crash through a lot of them. Definitely a lengthy rapid, I felt a little puffed in the eddy at the bottom.
Looking forward to a lot more time on this stretch of river, and catching higher flows in the spring!
I don’t have any video of my run, but here’s video from my friend Christian of the North Fork and Staircase sections at high water this spring.