No, I didn't really strike gold, but a perfect April weekend on the Illinois River is almost the same...maybe better. Since the Illinois is either known for it's crystal clear water, beautiful scenery, and exciting whitewater or it's horror stories of being stuck on a raging river that quickly rose with a single rain storm, we jumped at the chance to hit it with a perfect 2000cfs level and a forecast of sun. (I had been stalking the flow and forecast for weeks)
The Illinois River in southern Oregon is a perfect 32 mile stretch of whitewater and wilderness. The flat water has just enough class II-IV rapids to keep it exciting and the 4 mile III-IV (V) crux section is too much fun to describe.
Excited to be getting an early start on self-support trips this year, I could not stop smiling. Of course, the cushioned out rapids, 75 degree weather, and beautiful waterfalls lining the canyon walls didn't hurt either.
With the run being fairly remote and difficult to catch, it is not crowded and left us with the place to ourselves most of the trip. Nothing like a little wilderness to refresh the soul!