Sunday, September 25, 2011
Words by Greg
Photos by Trina and Greg
We wanted to get an early start to our packrafting float, so we woke up with the sun on our last day in the mountains. But since we were camped down in a canyon, that wasn't exactly early or anything. The river burbled nearby as we went through our morning rituals of coffee (for Trina) and breakfast (Leftover Chanterelles-'N-Spinach-'N-Pasta™ from the night before). Then packed up the bags and tent and dogs and set out to scout the river.
It was almost noon when we started scouting, and by the time we were done driving the dirt road that paralleled the river, stopping, looking, pointing, and shaking our heads, it was past lunch time. We did manage to determine that out of four possible miles of river, there was only about one mile that was suitable for the late-season water level and our skills.
We left a bike, drove to the top, ate a snack, then puffed up our rafts, grabbed the dogs (who had been waiting and waiting) and hit the water. Bright and early at almost 2:00.
The river was amazing. Black rock canyon. Beautiful deep green pools connected by a series of tight chutes or shallow riffles. Lots of rocks sticking up like bones to either dodge around or bounce over. We're still new enough to packrafting that we're still learning what we and these little rafts are capable of. And most of what we thought we'd have trouble with wasn't as tough as we thought. The scary chutes were fun! And we only waded a couple places where the water was too shallow to float.
We splashed through fun sections more than once, took photos, shuffled the dogs from boats to shore and back as necessary to keep them out of the scarier sections, and had a picnic lunch before we "finally" made it to the stretch of river we'd decided we weren't going to float. And somehow we'd managed to squander the rest of the afternoon. There was just enough sunshine left in the bottom of the canyon to let us read and nap and warm up after playing in the chilly water. Then the shadows covered the water and we headed home.
We're not going to brag about how it took us all day to packraft one mile. Because we know that it's not the miles, it's the smiles.