Crazy T Trip

April 10, 2006 at 5:55 pm (Rafting)

The 2006 Tuolumne season started with a wonderful but crazy trip on April 8. We knew the week before that most of the roads in and out of the river canyon were closed, but we decided that we would run the trip despite the complicated logistics. The night before the trip I had butterflies from nervousness, but I was also really excited. Less than a year before I didn’t know how to row and guiding high water was unthinkable. I spent the winter in the Bay Area and although I excercised, my arm strength was pretty pathetic. I woke up several times throughout the night from dreams in which I didn’t have the strength to live the heavy ash oars out of the water.

The next morning Aaron, Tom, and I made our way down Lumsden Road to Meral’s Pool. Since the roads were washed out and very narrow in places due to land slides, we had brought half the equipment down the night before. Zach went to meet the guests in Moccasin because Priest Grade Road was closed as well. They got dropped off at the South Fork Tuolumne trail and hiked with their dry bags down to put-in.

The water wasn’t too high, thank God, about 5000 cfs at Meral’s Pool. We made our way through Rock Garden, Nemesis, etc. down to Clavey just fine. A couple swimmers in Evangelist, but other than that, the morning was very smooth. The Clavey was pumping in another 1500 – 2000 cfs, not quite enough to run the Linford Slot on the right, but it still made Clavey Falls pretty big. We scouted left and quickly decided to run the goalpost move down the middle. Zach and Aaron both had great runs. I followed Aaron and as I was entering Clavey I could hear Tom yell from behind me, “More to the right!” I ignored him and followed Aaron’s line since it had looked clean to me. We had a great run through Clavey, split the hole and Dinosaur perfectly, and turned aruond just in time to see Tom come through (A little more to the right) with a very bumpy ride. They all gathered themselves, but not in time to completely avoid Dino and Tom and 2 of his paddlers went toppling out. We recovered them quickly though, and everyone was fine.

At the end of the trip we had to row all the way to Wards Ferry Bridge, go another mile past it to a log jam, and then we spent an hour trying to get through the log jam. The whole time we could see our tow boat on the other side waiting for us. One of the guys in my boat really wanted to walk along the shore and pull the boat, but that didn’t work very well (we told him it wouldn’t) and he ended up falling into the disgusting log jam.

We were picked up by the tow at 5:15, towed another hour accross Don Pedro to the boat ramp at Moccasin, and arrived back at the house by 8 pm. The day was full of all sorts of things that could have messed us up, but luckily, things went smoothly, the river gods were on our side, and the 11 guests had fun.

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