Friday, September 16, 2011

Into the Raging Water - Light at the End

Breakfast on the 11th morning. Zman and I enjoy the view. 

The best part of this trip was getting to spend so much time with my 17-year-old son. Since Zman is our second son, he was robbed of a lot of "firsts" that his older brother got to do in our family history but Zman definitely got the trip of a lifetime with us...and he even talks about doing it again. He has a great dad that not only lets him lead but encourages him. I don't think many teenagers get to raft level nine rapids with only eight days of rafting experience, while their dad videotapes them. But Zman was more than capable of handling the pressure. He loved it! It was so reassuring for me to see him in action. I now have even greater confidence in him as he begins his adulthood journey. 

Back to the Adventure: Our plan was to get an early start and an early finish. We wanted to get the best camp for our last night so our trip on the final morning would be easy. That meant we had to beat the other private rafting trip that had beat us every night to the primo camp. We had a secret weapon...

Survivor Man was going to kayak ahead and claim the camp for our team! Zman would row his raft with Lovey and Brainiac. It was just AK Santini and me in the Bailey romantic.  

That morning it was cloudy...and it pretty much stayed that way the whole day. We only had 10 miles to travel that day and they went incredibly fast.

We passed the other private rafting party that was just finishing a hike in a side canyon. They shouted to us, asking what camp we were heading for. There weren't too many camps left before reaching the final pullout so it was pretty important for them to figure out they needed to take a camp above the river from us. 

We came around a bend in the river and in the distance we could see a green kayak planted vertically on a hill of boulders with an American flag on top. It was a great vision!

The river guide book said the camp pullout was a little bit of work with eddy currents. These are currents at the bottom of rapids that pull you back up the river. They are very difficult to row through but I think we would have passed a lot of river stops without them. As usual, the guide book was spot on...the rafting captains had a lot of rowing to get to the camp pullout.

Camp at mile 222...four miles left to travel for the last day. time.

We had a little champagne and "talked story."

We compared stripes...

and injuries. No need to share those photos. Thankfully, bruises and cuts were the worst of our injuries though we had the added assurance of traveling with a doctor...our Fearless Leader is a doctor...very good to have on a trip. But as Grizzly Mama had already pointed out on their honeymoon to a hotel guest that needed some medical attention, "He's only a dentist."  

And so the Bailey family got another line from the trip for "inside" family comments.
Sometimes a dentist is just what you need.

There was very little fresh food left at this point. Lovey made a Mexican enchilada casserole for our last meal. It cooked over coals in the dutch oven. 

Ballerina girl and I had to check it out too.

AK Santini showed Grizzly Mama how to operate the satellite phone. Her parents were very worried and greatly relieved to hear we were all okay. I guess they had a better idea than I did about what we could expect to encounter on this trip.

Grizzly Mama told them about the flipped raft...

but I think the flash flood story was saved for later. Satellite phone conversations can end rather abruptly so it was best not to try and cover every thing on the phone.

The kitchen had to be completely packed before we went to bed. Once again our goal was to beat the other private rafting group to the pullout location. This was the last night I would ever be on a planned camp out...I didn't sleep any better than the previous 10 nights.

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