Trip Report

Trip Report 6/27/11 to 7/3/11

 

After a camping rendezvous at Orvis hot springs, we launched a 2-day San Miguel......... Randy and Libbi Stovall, Larry Lewis, Wayne Mathews and Brody, came out from Texas.......... Cindy Welt and Rowan, Paul and Danny, from Arizona........ Lorri Lau and Sage from Colorado...........  The only tense moment occurred during the lining of a lethal low-head diversion dam. The last boat made a determined attempt to run the drop - but we short-circuited that most noble effort............
 
Various vehicle problems (most notably my dumbass stunt of locking the keys in my truck) impeded our progress, but we rewarded our misfortunes with a night at the Pagosa Springs hot pools resort...........  It rained like a real monsoon whilst we were on the upper San Juan..........
 
The Arkansas River has been near flood stage for several weeks, and even on Fourth of July weekend, the river was not crowded .......Duh!  Because we had the benefit of Chris and Lorri, and their insider knowledge of the river, we got to do a stretch of the Ark that I'd never done before (Frog Rock/Fractions). The Creek was screaming @ 3700......... Lorri led, Chris ran safety kayak, and me, and Cindy, Larry and Randy piloted solo boats............  And OH, what sights we saw that day.......... The Ark was a virtually continuous Class 4 boulder field, with very little down time until a few miles from the takeout..........  Big water, pushy, unforgiving.......... I got to witness Cindy, Larry, and Randy, all in the same hungry hole, all at the same time.......... They played bumper boats, and everyone made the sound choice to stay in their respective craft......... Lorri's cross-river typewriter/surfing exhibition in a sticky reversal was as spectacular as any I've seen in a long time ...... Then Larry apparently got hot, and took matters into his own hands, with a swim of nearly a mile - just upriver from a really nasty pour-over.........   Randy, feeling neglected, played his 'hole' card with a back-endo, over-the-top flip in huge, erratic, exploding waves.......... It was old-time river man Randy's first ever raft flip (wish I could say that).......... And his boat departed for parts unknown..........  Chris chased it for several miles in his kayak, and had it upright and under control when we all reunited about 4 miles downstream...........
 
I think Randy summed it up best, when he turned to me, squinted with one eye, and drawled, "Well, I mighta flipped, got pretty beat up in the water, and almost lost my damn boat, but that don't mean I didn't have a good time."  Well said, Randy, well said......
 
               Until the next installment                       David Regela