Saturday, July 07, 2007

Walk the boat! Don't walk the boat, baby!

The Chatanika River is at an all-time low as far as water levels. We knew this going in, but I guess we didn't really know what to expect. Just to give you an idea, at 10 feet, the river is perfect for rafting. From seven to nine feet, the water is great for canoeing. When we got home from over paddling trip yesterday evening, we checked to see what the levels were actually at for our trip. Five feet. So, Richard and Sam in the canoe and me in the kayak had to walk our respective vessels over rocks and around obstactcles several times. Though over the coarse of most of the float was spent doing exactly that, floating. The weather was great on Thursday. We paddled for a few hours and then stopped at a huge gravel bar to set up camp. We had just finished setting up when the skies opened up. A dark storm had been making noise behind us all day and it finally caught up. It was really pretty cool sitting under the shelter, drinking beer and watching the ligthning storm, wondering where the next forest fire will start because of all the lightning strikes. There were an abundance of beavers in the river. I only saw two, but Richard and Sam, who stayed ahead of me, saw several beaver up close and personal. One beaver was swimming under their boat and turned to surface, saw the big canoe and freaked out when he saw Richard, scaring the crap out of Rich and Sam and then causing them to laugh like hienas. They also saw a beaver come down a beaver slide into the river. I missed that one, too.
The paddle out yesterday was a bit shorter but the weather held and we had some sun. The low water made for some hairy corners with downed trees all over the place, a couple of which we had to avoid by walking the boats. I dumped my boat once but it was only because a huge beaver jumped up and bit me and threatened to do the same to Sam and Rich. I fell out of my boat trying to whack that beaver. I was only thinking of them. As most of you know, I am not clumbsy and would not just fall out of a boat for no reason at all. It was the beaver. The beaver made me do it.
Besides the obstacles, the river was beautiful. And there were some deep sections where we could just kick back and enjoy the birds and the bees and the beavers and the trees. It's good to be back, the dogs were good. Usually when we leave them alone overnight, something bad happens. But no, everyone was happy and healthy. Even those naughties, Sneaky Pete and Parker.
This morning we're getting ready for a party at our house to celebrate the closing of birthday week. Should be fun. I got about eight cards in the mail from Sam's family. What a cool surprise, thank you very much.
Here some pics from the trip. Sam had the camera in his boat. The goofy gal in the kayak is not someone trying out for the Special Olympics, that's me! We got home and I was taking photos of my flowers with bees on them and then we parked ourselves on the upper deck to watch another thunder storm roll in. After 700 images I actually caught a lightning strike...two actually.

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