The rain has been a blessing. I finally had a 20+ mile day. The river is up from 2.6 when I first started to 4-5 and rising. Outfitters are restricting certain accesses I hear. Only large rafts at this level, at 5.0 they all shut down. The going is way faster and the thrills a bit better. Nothing worth restricting though. The few daily class 1 rapids are looking like fledgling class 2s, with a couple little surprise 3s perhaps. I’m no expert. It’s great to not have to row 99% of it.
I had some great footage on GoPro of the larger prior rapids. It’s just to risky to do with my phone, one handed, on the bigger stuff. I’ve really learned great control with the oar style of rafting though.
My primary problem in the beginning was taking to fast of an approach. Slow it down to a crawl, unless it’s a single small set with an obvious line. I can now stop, cut and pivot quick, even at the edge of white water, changing my line in the middle of a set. Always looking for the highest elevated “V” extending into the white water to aim for. I can’t afford any thrill rides and the V is usually the path of least rock-sistance (I’m from Texas, we make up words as needed).
Navigating the mine fields with the sole objective of not popping the boat is becoming way more fun. I’m utilizing all directional movements in the boat to gracefully flow through obstacles now, much less muscling around.
Increasing my visual distance looking for lines further down river was the next best adjustment, just like highway traffic.
There’s still plenty of rowing to do though.
Storms are still looming about. Mostly slow drizzle and the canopy is doing great. My gear and I are dry. And for the umpteenth time, I’m exceedingly happy I didn’t listen to most people’s advise and ditch my bluetooth speaker.
Another great canopy conversion serves me well, tent boat! My tent’s rain fly, inside out, where the velcro normally secures to the tent poles, attaches to the ridge line support for the canopy and fits perfectly over the boat all around me.
I pulled off into a cove surrounded by farm lands and tied to a root. I slept floating on the water tonight for the first time. My paddles pulled apart in half and jammed into the mud around me to stabilize my bedroom to be further, so I could move gear around.
No mosquitoes or rain, glorious. And it took less than 10 minutes. This is a big win for using a raft like this verses a smaller more streamlined canoe. I’m incredibly comfortable. And tired of thinking I should of got a damn canoe…