Just some random thoughts about the trip.
I really need to do some work on our small raft: it leaked air atrociously. Maybe some of this stuff.
The Otter once again exceeded my expectations: this was one of their first generation rafts, and it has held up really well for a "low-end" boat. I keep expecting it to develop major problems, and it just hasn't happened.
We need to carry a somewhat bigger saw in our kitchen box. The ability to cut the firewood into smaller hunks would have been much appreciated. The saw we now carry is just too hard to use for firewood.
I need to set up fixed loops on our big table. Attatching the mesh dish drying hammock to our table was a pain: fixed loops on the ends would solve this problem.
We used five gallon plastic buckets for a lot of our dry storage on this trip. We replaced their original lids with "Gamma Seal" lids. This worked out pretty slick. They kept their contents dry, were easy to open and easy to pack. I was very pleased with them. A kind of low-tech solution to keeping your stuff dry in this age of high-end aluminum and plastic boxes and expensive dry-bags.
As a bonus, the buckets have good handles so they're easy to carry (and secure) and can double as a stool in a pinch.
While the food was consistently good (even the brownies: they looked funny, but they tasted fine), there was also consistently too much. We ended up having to throw away a lot of cooked food (lasagna, enchiladas, falafel, cakes), and at the end of the trip, there was a lot of uncooked meat and produce that had to be thrown out. On one hand, you would definitely rather have too much food than too little, but my Scotch ancestry cringes at the waste.
Still working on portioning, but some things, like the cakes, just come in one size, and that size is too much for a group of 5.
Drag bags, zipper style:
To keep a lot of our drinks cool, we used small mesh bags with just a few drinks in them that we hung off the back of a boat while we were in camp. This worked well, but then we got greedy, and tried to cool all the drinks in a large zippered mesh bag. This turned out to be not only very cumbersome, but sand lodged in the zipper making the bag impossible to open. With a little work while wading, the zipper cleared, but this was more work than it was worth. We'll be sticking to the small draw-string type bags from now on.
When all was said and done, we we're able to do this trip for just under $200.00 each. We carpooled from Couer d'Alene, since CB has a crew-cab pick-up and between his truck and our trailer, we were able to carry everyone and everyone's gear.
This saved us a lot of money since we only had to pay to have one vehicle shuttled to the Cache Bar take-out. That cost $260.00, the food cost was about $350.00, which was too high (we had a lot of extra). The use fees ended up being $120.00 ($4.00 per person per day) there was a bunch of money spent on fuel in the truck, and a few odds and ends here and there. But $200.00 for a six day wilderness trip? Almost as good as river booty.
I've known CB for many years and wouldn't hesitate to boat with him again.
I was a little apprehensive about Backstroke and Bama before the trip having never met either one previously. But CB vouched for them, and his judgment was sound. Both were very easy going, a lot of help around camp, and willing to "go for it" in rapids that challenged their current skill. Both of them in my opinion got better at both reading water and hitting their lines as the trip went on, but that first day was kind of scary. I would boat with either again (I don't know if they'd want to boat with me though).
Sparky. What can I say. When we were first invited on this trip (it was Backstroke's permit), she just wanted to ride on my boat, and maybe do a little rowing in the easy areas. Personally, I don't like that kind of arrangement: as noted before, I like to row. It is notoriously difficult to get the oars out of my hands (though in hindsight, she would have been a lot more help in camp).
So I suggested she take her own boat. At first she was adamantly against it. But I kept working on her, and eventually her adamantium crumbled, and she agreed, at least tentatively to row her own. I wasn't certain, even when we were camping at Boundary Creek, if she would actually go through with it though: CB offered to let her row his cataraft some of the time (which would have allowed him more time in his kayak), and she seemed to be seriously considering it.
But the love of my life stepped up boldly and with courage, and extended her limits. I know this was very difficult for her: just putting her boat on this river was a big step for her.
When we are both in the same boat, she always defers to me in any big rapids (and I'm only too willing to take the oars from her). This sport can be very scary, especially for the inexperienced.
So rowing her own boat on a river that neither one of us had been on before wasn't just a step, it was a leap. I've never been more proud of her (and I've often been very proud of her), than when she actually "saddled up" and started floating away from Boundary Creek.
Throughout this trip, her confidence grew. Actually seeing Backstroke mess up a couple times and laugh about it that first day really showed her that most of the mistakes you make on a raft aren't a big deal (but some can be). By the last day, she wasn't just following my line through rapids, she was reading the river herself and choosing her own lines.
Even when she flipped, despite swearing like a drunken sailor, she was laughing and having a good time riding the bottom of her raft through a class IV rapid. I think I would have been a little more agitated myself.
So in any case, she is my heroine, my diva, my exemplar. I'll boat with her, hike with her, swim with her, follow her anywhere she wants to go. Except a mall. If she wants to go to a mall, she's on her own. Too many people aimlessly consuming. Gives me the willies.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Just some random thoughts about the trip.