Tuesday, July 22, 2014

High Marks

All the creeks and rivers in town are approaching the highest marks in decades. We haven't been in the packrafts together for a long time so we mapped a plan to finish a route we started back in "I love a good disaster". It's sunny, nice, and the bugs are expected to be huge.
 We air up and launch into the main of the Mississippi, under the bridge and into the Vermillion.
 We turn in to the Vermillion or what becomes the Vermillion. We don't see shore for the next 3 hours.
 For the new readers we have our 'shuttle' bikes on the bow of our Alpacka Rafts. The way we tie them on is a personal preference and what bike you have. 
We are completely spoiled with the river all to ourselves. Around this time we lose the proper river waterway because of a huge log jam packed with branches picked up from the flooding making a massive nest. Maybe 200 feet across. We paddle around it but in the flooding we actually traverse into Lake Isabelle (not connected to the river) .
When we discover we are in Isabelle we laugh a little and then start working on a way back to the river. If we could float in, we can float out. I look at the map and see a short pointed bay that must be the exit we need. We were correct and the views through the woods were awesome. The water is maybe 5 feet deep in the photo below.

We need to weave around a few very tight trees and some fences but a short time after we float into Isabelle we float out. This day is working out better then we could have planned. The water is moving us fast enough that we don't need to paddle and the sun is out and the bugs are not so we drift.

 Time for taffy and a long slow raft. We lean back into the boats and 'slow the roll'

 If pictures are really worth a thousand words please don't read out loud, we're relaxing.

 Out of the trees and having a good long siesta it's time time to paddle out. That means we need to dig in deep and paddle hard at the best time to pull out of the current that's been pulling us along.
Popping out of the main current, we make landfall. Within minutes of landing we break out snacks and load up on water because we're about to get on the bikes and this is the best opportunity to lard the fuel you need to ride back and still have fun and not crater and hate the day.
 Eat, pack up and ride out.
We add some miles on the bike because we took out a little early on the rafts. The plan was to go another 3 miles but with the flooded banks the current was too slow and we aren't sure the exit is even above water so we pull out and ride. It's really great to roll out some miles and collect some intel for the next trip.

Back at the starting point and the high marks on the river are matched by the high marks on the rafting adventure. On that, I give high marks to the day.

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