Monday, September 2, 2013

Deschutes River 2013

This weekend Emily and I joined a group of around 20 people from around Oregon to raft the Deschutes River as we do every summer now.  Ben and Bryan organized the trip as usual and despite a few injuries, a few blackouts, a ticket and a lost wedding band we all had a great time in the sunny, warm skies of Central Oregon.

Emily and I had planned on going to her co-worker’s wedding in Corvallis on Saturday and also tailgating with Kevin and others before the Beaver Game but our meeting point for the rafting trip got moved up to saturday night at 7:30 off I-205 and we didn’t want to miss our ride or it would have been an 80 dollar car shuttle and extra gas to get over there.  So, we had a relaxing Saturday before dropping Leo off with Arley and Katie for the weekend, grabbing some sushi at Mio Sushi in Oregon City and meeting up with everyone.

It didn’t take too long to load up Bryan’s van and trailer with gear and the ride over Mt. Hood seemed pretty quick.  We actually got to Trout Creek around 11pm instead of our usual 1am.  Ben and Tiah showed up around midnight and Maxine, Darren and the rest showed up in the morning.  It was a chill night of drinks that night catching up with everyone who we only get to see a few times a year.  Ben even got bit by some fire ants he ended up standing on!

After breakfast in the morning it took us a long time as usual to put on the river but we were moving along downstream by about 11am.  As usual the heavy drinking began and everyone was a having a great time in the beautiful sunshine, unlike last year when it was cold and rainy the first couple days.  As we floated along we saw tons of wildlife including many ospreys, a river otter, tons of deer and even some wild horses as we passed the Warm Springs Reservation Land.  

This was the first trip for several people with our rafting buddies and they definitely got initiated with slap the bag, lemon drops, and fireball right away.  Peter had never even been rafting before so this was pretty exciting for him.   Michael and Ben seemed to be the ones who kept the party going for the day.  I, the old man I am, was getting pretty bad heartburn, and had thrown up in the morning and at lunch just to feel better so I laid off the booze for the rest of the afternoon.  Just like the year before, the river was busy and it took us a while to find a camping spot, barely finding one before a long stretch of private land that would have put us in the dark.  

Bryan had bought a ton of food for the trip and we had some really great fajitas that night.  I had several cups of milk as well to help my gut feel better.  This was when our trip was very different than previous years.  Usually, we end up partying late into the night the first night, but this year, with the exception of a small crew that went on a short hike, everyone passed out by 10pm!  I think it was the combination of drinking and being under the hot sun all day.  This was fine with Emily and I who were really enjoying the beautiful stars.  Without a moon or city lights in the sky the Milky Way was brilliant.

We all slept soundly that night and I don’t think many of even noticed the loud trains on the other side of the river as they passed by us in the night.  In the morning we had a bountiful breakfast of pancakes, eggs, fruit, potatoes, sausage, etc.  Probably the best I’d ever had on a rafting trip!  Thanks Bryan and Darren for cooking!  Without having to pack as much stuff we were on the river around 10am for the shorter float that day.  I always think the last day on the Deschutes is the best because the terrain we float by is amazing, the rapids are bigger and there is more stuff to do.

Again, we began our floatzilla of drinking down the river.  Emily and I stuck to some rum and juice we had made before the trip which helped minimize my heartburn.  We came to the cliff jumping spot pretty early in the afternoon and nearly all of us jumped with me throwing a front flip off the 30’ ledge just to prove to myself I’m not THAT old... :)  Ben and I also jumped off the other side into the main river to meet up with our boat.  We all had a wonderful afternoon partying on the river and we even bumped into Tim from WSI just before we hit Maupin Park.  

At the park the rest or sun must have gotten to us because one of our crew basically just passed out and we spent some time getting her water and making her feel better before carrying her back to the oar boat for the rest of the trip.  Thankfully, her friend stayed with her and by the end of the trip she seemed to be doing much better.  Just after Maupin and chatting with Tim for a while I decided I needed a bit more adventure on the trip so I jumped into the front of Maxine and Chris’ tandem IK for some fun.  Little did I know that it was right before the biggest Class IV plunge of the day....

As we approached what looked like a significant drop in the river I told Chris and Maxine we should pull over and wait for the others.  When we saw them behind us we dropped in and saw people on the shore pointing for us to head far river right.  We tried but ended up barreling straight into the middle of the hole.  I have been through this plenty so just took a big gulp of air and waited for the river to spit me out.  I went all the way to the bottom and it took me about 10-12 seconds to pop up again.  This felt like a long time but I remained calm as I felt myself bobbing towards the surface again.  When I got up onto some rocks I saw Chris and Maxine on the shore with paddles floating towards me and Ben’s boat with Emily going for them.  

That’s when I heard the Sheriff on the loudspeaker yell for Ben to pull his raft over.  In the chaos of lunch with a girl nearly passing out life jackets had been exchanged and I ended up wearing Ben’s while the sick member of our party ended up with another vest and my original one was in Bryan’s boat.... so Ben was without one... and got a $260 ticket for it....  We waited while Bryan went ahead with his boat and the other IK towards the underwater slide side trip.  When Ben caught up he wasn’t pissed and actually said the cop was pretty understanding and had even given him a vest for the rest of the day.  

Then it was on to the underwater slide side trip where we found Ben’s buddy completely drunk out of his mind.  He couldn’t stand, and he could barely speak... what was going on this trip!!??  A few stayed back to watch over him and keep him warm on the side of the river while we made a quick trip to the slide and went down it.  I even convinced Peter to jump in with me.  I got a cool video of Emily but when I went to jump in after her I rolled my ankle really bad.  I heard a crunch and at first thought I broke it but upon swimming to shore I could tell it was just a sprain.  Before the pain set in I got to moving along the shore back the quarter mile to the rafts.  Emily caught up and walked back with me.  It felt good to keep the foot in the cold river for the rest of the trip.

At Sandy Beach we got Ben, Tiah and their friends into a car to warm them up and head back towards Pendleton and Idaho while the rest of us packed up the van and loaded the rafts.  On the way home we stopped at the Ratskeller in Government camp for some huge burgers and caffeinated drinks for the ride home.  We ended up taking Darren back to Troutdale as well before making it to Arley’s to pick up Leo who was happy to see us return.  Emily and I happily crawled into bed not noticing that my wedding ring was no longer on my finger.....  it lasted ~ 40 days with our lifestyle....

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