Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Escalante River Packraft Trip

I'm not a neophyte to inflatable rafting but definitely a novice to packrafting. I'm also a sucker for new ways to explore Escalante Canyon.
Last week, 3 friends & I packrafted down Escalante river when the river was 8 cfs (cubic feet per second). We all had Alpaca rafts which can glide on 2 cfs water courses and weigh only 7 pounds. We strapped our heavy dry bags and packs to our bows that contained provisions to camp overnight. We were to haul our raft, paddles, camping gear, etc up 5 miles to our shuttle vehicle.
My 1st indication that this was NOT a leisurely float trip when I was ensnared in spiky thorns from Russian Olive branches hanging (thriving) in the river's current. The 2nd clue was when I scrambled for my bilge sponge, bandana, water bottle after my raft flipped over. Omen #3 came as I pulled out my stuff from my "dry bag" that got wet from being submerged. I was never cold or miserable.
It was an adventure cuz I discovered new-to-me petroglphys & pictographs in weird places. Our camping site (Twin Caves) was spacious & not trampled on. The weather was warm and the river inviting. Will I return to finish running the Escalante River? We'll see.