Sunday, December 13, 2009

Finally, The River

The next morning was cold and the alarm clock is especially jarring when tucked into a warm sleeping bag.  I shoved a quick breakfast into my stomach and started the car with enough time for the heaters to melt the ice on the inside of the windows.  I drove to the takeout, packed everything I'd need for the day into the Water Master bag and started walking.

Walking along the frost covered roadways was interesting.  The occasional log truck heading to work blew by.  I quickly turned off the headlamp as the half moon illuminated the clear morning.  Slowly, the gloves came off and then the hat was replaced with the hoody from my base layer.  Carrying a 45 lb raft plus my gear was at least keeping me warm.  Thank god for the Nice frame and sling I ordered from Mystery Ranch company (Mystery Ranch).  Nothing like being able to put some of that weight on my hips.

I eventually made it off the main road and onto the dirt road leading to the launch.  I walked another mile and a half as the distant sun started lightening the sky.  Eventually I heard the rumble of a couple vehicles coming up from behind.  The rattle was a sure sign one was towing a drift boat.  Even though I was within a half a mile of the ramp, my thump shot out to attempt to save a bit of energy.  The first vehicle passed but the truck towing the drift boat stopped.  I jumped into the back of the pickup, although jump might not be the best term for climbing into the back of a pickup with a 50+ pound pack on.  Off we drove to the launch.  We drove out onto the gravel bar and I hopped out, gave a quick "Thanks!" to the driver and started getting my gear together. 

I was still toasty from my human-propelled shuttle, but I was struck by something I hadn't seen before on river rocks.... hoar frost.

After getting geared up with foot warmers (the adhesive toe warmers work great), I pumped up the raft and slowly started floating down the river.

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