Thursday, June 15, 2006

Colorado River Trip

Boss lady came to me recently and asked if I would like to go on a river trip. Well, let me think about 2 damn, well, I guess. She said I would have to eat my days off. Oh shucky darn. I figured it wasn't a bad way to eat my days off. I contacted my toe doctor and he said it would be just fine. So on Sunday, June 11, I set out around 8am with T-Berry, Doc, and Telluride. The raft trip would be three days two nights. My biggest concern was having to use the groover.

This wasn't your typical raft trip with oars. We had two Mercury motors on the back. Which seemed to helped quite a bit in the head wind flat water. We started down the river and I would say about 30 minutes to an hour into the trip, I was taking a nap. The sound of the water and the vibration of the boat was soothing.

We did some sight seeing along the way. We went to some ruins and petroglyph/pictographs and to a site of petrified logs. When we went to the first archaeological site, I forgot my camera. At the second one, my battery went dead. But I had a backup camera.

That night as we pulled into Spanish Bottom and T-Berry stopped at several camps to check names for permits, we met Toby and family. Toby had never run the rapids that were below us and asked T-Berry for support. Being a good park ranger, T-Berry said sure and that we were leaving about noon tomorrow. Keep that in mind. We camped right below them and had a wonderful dinner and hung out with the State Park crew. We all tried to stay up for the full moon, but most of us got a glimpse of it as we rolled over and opened our eyes for a moment. The river and sun suck the life out of you.

Monday morning, we arose early and hiked past Toby's camp saying good morning to them and headed up the hill to the Dolls House. The hike was primarily straight uphill, but it was worth every moment of it. It was even worth the pain I was enduring with my toe, which was now uncovered and covered in dirt.

Coming down the trail was brutal on my toe and I watched as blood oozed out of it. Thank goodness we had a doctor along as he kept saying it was ok. We passed by Toby's camp and it was filled with other boaters. Keep in mind that Toby had to pass our camp before heading into the rapids. We loaded our gear and headed down river. T-Berry had told Toby to meet at the top of Mile Long Rapids. When we arrived, Toby was not there.

We checked the banks again and then continued on. After Big Drop 1, we stopped for lunch. I was freezing and had changed shirts and went to sit on the hot rocks to warm myself up. After finishing my sandwich, I was daydreaming when I heard a pop and then watched as a flare floated back down toward the river below us. We quickly gathered our lunch stuff throwing it every where and untied the boat. We went through Big Drop 2 to find Toby on river right with his boat upside down, his belongings all along shore, and only him. He was throwing up hand signals that we had no idea what they meant and shouting directions on how we should proceeded. I was the lucky one to get off with Schmuch (aka: Toby) with a radio. There were two females in the water, a woman and a 16 year old. We were concerned. I helped Schmuch flipped his boat. In the meantime, T-Berry and crew had found the females. We helped him re-rig his boat and T-Berry went over how he should proceed down Big Drop 3, the only rapid I did not get to run. Then we walked back to our boat and waited for Schmuck to scout it and run it. I look up to see him already going. T-Berry took one look at him and said get ready because he is going to flip again.

Now let me back up a bit...the first flip was probably at Rapid 15-17 and the young female was found at Rapid 26 I believe. So she had swam a long ways before hitting shore. Sure enough they flipped again. So she got to swim Big Drop 3 twice. But this time she was over to the shore quickly. As T-Berry drove, Doc, Telluride, and myself picked up Schmuck. This story surely isn't as funny reading it as being a part of it. We rigged a system again to turn over his boat. At one point, he attempted to tell T-Berry how to do something and the look T-Berry shot Schmuch pretty much said...well you can only imagine. We got the boat turned over and T-Berry suggested the girls ride with us through the last two rapids. He agreed. We had already rescued him twice, would there be a third or fourth?

Finally rid of Schmuch we continued on our peaceful way, but without making fun of Schmuch the entire time. We did a hike where I took a short nap with my Nalgene bottle as a pillow. We finished out the night with an unbelievable pasta dish. And I finally used the groover, but not without gagging and nearly puking.

The next morning, we finished the trip in Hite.

For more photos see: Photos

I head to the Doctor tomorrow because I believe my toe is now infected with a lot of sand and wonderful clean river water.

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