With temperatures around freezing predicted for the morning and a strong wind blowing we uncharacteristicly left the fly on when we went to bed.
It was a loud night last night as folks showed up throughout the night in preparation for their launch today. Lesson learned - camp further away from the boat ramp in the future!
By about midnight things quieted down and I got out to relieve myself and I was blown away by the stars! Turns out we have a new moon and with the closest town more than 60 miles away it was a great view of the Milky Way!
An uneventful morning with a simple breakfast of yogurt out of the car, the final rigging and getting the cars ready for the shuttle. Then we left the chaos of the boat ramp and the large group of folks who didn’t seem to really know each other on the other private permit and the organized disorganization of the 2 commercial trips behind us. The morning quickly warmed and our two boats were alone on the river as we floated off by 9.30 am.
The canyon closed in on us in a few miles and we were awed by the cliffs and scenery as we floated through some fast but calm water. Then as we punched through a ridgeline the gradient picked up and we came to the first class 2 rapid. A wood snaggle on the right and a cliff on the left kicking up a good lateral that terminated in a hole made me realize that with these high flows (10k+) this river was going to be more of a challenge than perhaps conventional knowledge assumed. We navigated it safely but our awareness was up.
Not long after we arrived at an early lunch at Anderson campsite where we enjoyed a Muffaletta sandwich Crys had prepared at home on a ciabatta bread and olive tapenade with mozzarella and basil. Great!
Then an easy float to Teepee campsite where we relaxed, bathed, swam, and cooked falafels for a pita sandwich. The company was great and we enjoyed the kids interacting and talking with Scott through the early evening with a dessert of homemade strawberry compote and pound cake that was amazing.
We are camped above teepee rapid, our first class 3 and we can hear it roaring us to sleep. We scouted it from the cliffs and it looks straight forward but with a large nasty rock in the middle that we have to avoid and some good waves we will have to punch. It could be a cold ride first thing in the morning!
Summary: amazing weather and beautiful scenery made for a perfect river day today!