River Day 16 started out with a bit of “excitement”.
We encountered Tapeats Rapid, a class 5, as soon as we pushed off from Racetrack Camp. I had decided the day before that I was going to row this rapid. I saw it at varying water levels since we were camped right above it. There were medium-sized holes to avoid in the center and far left.
I planned for a slightly right-of-center entrance and was pretty focused on my line to avoid the hole. Suddenly I see Aftin’s boat out of the corner of my eye sideways on a rock on river-left. We blew our whistles and Nick kept an eye on them to watch for swimmers coming down through the rapid. They made it off the rock, but had two swimmers! Both Josh and Will ended up in the water [but don’t worry, Will was able to save his PBR!]. Everyone was completely fine, and to hear Aftin tell the story later that day was absolutely hilarious.
Somehow the “worst” rapid of the trip for us was Tapeats Rapid!
Our last class 8 rapid was on River Day 16– Upset Rapid.
During GC2015 I ran Upset Rapid with Kelby, and we ended up surfing the massive hole in Upset Rapid. I have a GoPro video of the experience with some pretty awesome audio commentary. You can check it out here [at minute 2:10 things get interesting].
For some reason I wasn’t super nervous about Upset Rapid. Don’t get me wrong– it was huge. It actually looked a lot like Crystal Rapid, minus the rock garden in the tail waves. The traditional Upset Rapid run is down the far left side along the cliff wall riding the huge wave train. However! Higher water levels! A few boatmen, Nick included, decided to go for the far right run.
Turns out that with the line most of us took, it was really really challenging to get far far right to avoid the massive hole in Upset Rapid. Nick was pulling, pulling, pulling. Finally he made the decision that we weren’t going to be able to avoid the hole. So instead, he perfectly lined the boat up and we went straight through the Upset Rapid hole. It was massive.
One of the kayakers afterwards– “You ran that hole beautifully.”
The funniest part of our groups’ Upset Rapid experience was Evan’s line. He totally cheated. He went FAR right. Like he was basically riding the beach down the rapid. He went to the right of the top right-hand “marker rock”. I don’t know how none of us saw that line but him. There’s a great photo of him giving the hole the middle finger haha.
Cassy also rowed her first class 8 rapid!! She totally killed it.
It was a long, but good river day which ended at one of my favorite camps– Ledges Camp.
This was also the first point in the trip that I really noticed that my dry suit was leaking! I had damp socks most days and assumed that insignificant amounts of water were sneaking in through the glideskin neck gasket. But River Day 16, I took off my dry suit and my pants were completely soaked. My first thoughts were “I don’t think I peed myself!” We couldn’t find anything immediately obvious as far as holes or tears in the dry suit went, so I just attributed it to the huge hole we ran in Upset Rapid.
It was a nice night so Nick, Evan, and I “cowboy camped” on one of the ledges instead of setting up tents.
River Miles: 17.9 miles
Camp: Ledges [mile 152.1]
Tapeats [class 5]
Hundred Thirty-Five Mile [class 3]
Doris [class 4]
Hundred Thirty-Eight and One-Half Mile [class 3]
Fishtail [class 4]
Hundred Forty-One Mile [class 2]
Kanab [class 3]
Matkatamiba [class 2]
Upset [class 8] – SCOUTED
Water Flow: 11,000 – 16,000 cfs
Temperature: 32 – 60 deg F
Precipitation: 0.00 in
Wind: 2 – 6 mph, no gusts
Weather Event: N/A