Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 162/163 - Moab / Cataract Canyon

Distance travelled (by raft) approx. 110 miles

Day 150
Meeting at 8am rather than 6.30 took the edge off the day. Having loaded up  the mini bus we were driven to the launch site. There were two rafts, 18 people, after the guides, Corey & Shad (sorry if i mis-spelt) had strapped down the dry bags with our clothes to the rafts, sleeping bags etc in them, we started to drift down river. 
Motoring down river 100's of feet down in the canyon though stunning scenery the morning flew by. Stopping on the side of the river for lunch, a feast seemed to materialise out of nowhere. Fed and watered we boarded the raft for the next stretch. It was decided that we would run the rapids today, after floating for a few hours down river we pulled over again for a safety briefing, the rafts to be repacked and to put waterproofs on before doing battle with the rapids. 
The guides, Corey & Shad, came across as really laid back, which they were, but they were incredibly professional, proficient and ran a slick operation. No mistakes on their watch.
These were serious rapids, Jonathan had been dreading this moment from the minute the trip was booked and it showed, his hands turning white the tighter he gripped the handles on the side of the raft. In fairness i think everyone else was equally apprehensive as we barrelled into the first set of rapids, from a distance they looked smallish, closer they were huge! Some of the waves must have measured over 35ft, like i said, serious rapids, Completely soaked having conquered the first set of rapids, the apprehension had disappeared, everyone was willing on the next set. 
In one of the sets of rapids i thought we were going to be flipped, i'm sure things were under control, Shad was on the ball and in my mind, managed to avert disaster. 
Further down the rapids we met the park rangers, waiting to pull out the unfortunate people who had capsized. With the water the highest its been for years and the enormous rapids i was told that other rafting companies had flipped boats this season. 
After miles of rapids we pulled to shore to make camp for the night. Again, as if by magic a kitchen, toilet and fire appeared. Everyone opted to sleep under the stars, after setting up the beds we relaxed with beers around the fire (though it was hot and the fire wasn't really needed, but every camp should have one!). Whilst we were relaxing Corey & Shad were cooking, the food throughout the trip was amazing, tonight we had prawn/shrimp cocktail to start, followed by steak and salad. The steak cooked to peoples preference. 
After our multitalented guides/cooks/musicians had sung a few tunes around the fire we headed to our beds under the stars. Incredible to look up from the canyon and see the stars in the sky, there was a full moon which lit up the camp all night, truly magical.

view looking down the canyon

river talk with Jonathan (dad)

packing the rafts

on the emove

relaxing in the evening

moon over the canyon

the rafting group, with a catfish caught using a line made of duck tape and an improvised hook

i couldn't take photo's through the rapids, this is a photo of other rafters going through some of them

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