Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Saint Louis River

Rafting the Saint Louis:

Getting an opportunity to do proper rafting with an experienced river 'captain' was exciting and a way to learn how to read rivers in a bigger boat than my little raft.

The first quarter mile is flat water and time for instructions. A review of commands and a brief summary of what to do if you fall overboard. In short, float with your feet pointing downriver so you don't take a rock to the head or bum and let the boat come to you.

 All of us have some kind of whitewater experience but it doesn't matter. We all have a jolly good time although the water is low and not making the best rapids.

 We are setting up to try and surf a mid size class III hole but it's just too small. We try 3 times.

Being in the same raft means you get better conversation between rapids, easy access to snacks and photo ops and can stop paddling from time to time without the boat spinning around and bumping into things you really ought to miss.

  Various low grade whitewater and a lot of fun and sun and it's time for lunch.

 The mid-point take out for grilled meats and snacks.

All of us took the day off of work, it's Wednesday, but our captain who has an offset workweek. It's a nice day and everyone is having the best time relaxing and even the rafting is easy and fun with hardly any 'digging' or deep hard paddling to force the boat to turn or pull out of holes.
 All packed up and back into the boat for the last few miles to our take out.
 We'd all like to see monstrous water but this will do for now.

One large hole is known to trap trees or logs and create a dangerous obstacle that could flip the boat or trap us in a very bad way so we pull over to scout the plunge.

 All clear. It's a straight long tongue of water and we can run it any way we want.
 Out hole! Wahoo!

 Having too much fun on the first pass we loop back, carry the boat over some rocks and run it a second time.

 Reloading after the portage for our second run at the hole. The water is so low we are just making the most out of what we have available and this hole is a hoot.

 A wide angle camera flattens this to a silly drip of water but it's actually big enough to make you seriously wonder if a swim would mean you have to change your weekend plans to mending an injury.

 Looking back it makes more sense. It's a lot bigger looking upstream than down. It always does.

The last 3 miles is calm and everyone uses the time to reflect on the day. It's a little quiet but at the same time its cathartic and relaxing. A nice balance to the thrills and now calm ending to the day.

After the take out we have to pass over the dam at the end of the river we just took out of to find a mini packraft/kayak playground. We plan to return for this.