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Showing posts from March, 2016

The Phenomena of People

I do not have a river story for you this week, but I had a visit from a good friend from Bellingham and our reunion reminded me of one of the other reasons I have persevered with this little cottage industry.



I wrote a story a few years back titled "Why I (Continue to) Raft" and the gist of that column was that I realized how much I enjoyed getting people out on the water and watching the transformation.  It ended with the brief tale of my very young nephew from Dallas who floated the Skagit and - at first - was terrified of the moving, darn-cold-if-you're-from-Texas water.  And, despite being on a trip surrounded by a large Y group of boisterous Northwesterners who could not get enough of swimming, it appeared he would endure the trip and be ecstatic to see the takeout and a warm, dry car.

When we were halfway down the river, his entire attitude did an about face.  And by the time we hit the takeout he WAS ecstatic, but not about being finished and back to dry land.  …

Our Own Private Idaho. . . River - Part 2

“The Selway, between Double Drop Rapids and Ladle Rapids, has averaged one drowning per year, over the past 8 years.” the veteran Selway River guide intoned.  “Don’t take it lightly.”
~~
After awkwardly clambering up a steep slope above Double Drop Rapids in an effort to get a peek at what lurked around the bend, those words lay harbored in the back of my mind.  With the Selway rising, rocks were disappearing and ugly hydrologic features were emerging.  

The reason those who scouted the day before were nonplussed about location was because they had noted an enormous boulder at the head of Double Drop Rapids.  
An enormous boulder.  With the rising tide, the telltale boulder was engulfed.
From the scout, I had no doubt of the preferred route.  However, the slightest miscalculation risked an encounter with some of the explosive breaking waves toward the rapid’s tail.  The more technically difficult Ladle Rapids were far enough downstream to be out-of-sight but close enough to not be out-of-…