Today has been a good day, though not without its share of tribulations and silliness. No one wanted to be awake this morning, but M had to go to work and I wanted a ride. Bernice’s Bakery is good motivation for anything, and I was twice rewarded with one of their new jalapeno-cheese croissants. Yum. M then dropped me off at the Rattlesnake TH and I hiked away. Objective: packraft Rattlesnake Creek from Franklin Bridge all the way to its mouth on the Clark Fork.
Objective was pretty much accomplished. (Some beta here.) I didn’t like the look of the water right at the bridge, and put in below. The next hour was pretty tense, as logs seemed to lurk around every corner, and the current split into channels and came back together constantly. I spent a lot of time carrying, and on a few occasions thought about packing up and walking down a few miles. Instead I regrouped, ate a bar, and took the deck off the raft. The zipper feature is rather nice. An open boat gave me a lot more confidence for quick entrances and exits, and subsequently life got more relaxed. I was also starting to get the pulse of the yak, and more confident in my ability to consistently ferry and get where I wanted to be when dodging the sweepers that invariably lurked on the outside of bends. The portaging continued to be obnoxious, with plenty of brush in most places. On one I tried to find a longer, easier way back to the creek and ended up parralleling it for a good while. The bonus for my patience came when stumbled upon a huge beaver pond, and was able to enjoy paddling down a endless series of dams, ponds, and cannals. I popped out right where I put in on Wednesday.
Re-running the section I ran on Wednesday was a blast. Not only is it by far the best boating, I was also able to relax, knowing where all the wood was already. I portaged the one log easily (river left!), ran the gauntlet of the almost-sweepers, and stopped to empty my boat plenty. On one big wave I sprinted straight at it, yelling “BAM!” as the spray flew, only to look up and see a hiker sitting on the bank 10′ away. Classic. The urban section was interesting, though the accidental mandatory log boof did not inspire confidence. Floating past backyard picnikers is good for a stare and a laugh, and I finally got to float under the Tamarack Restuarant. The Clark Fork is huge right now, pulsing with fullness and running at 8 mph easily. I took out, stowed the gear, and walked home in style. Packrafting rules.
I also lost my Spot tracker. It was attached to a pack strap, which came undone. I thought nothing of it as I rethreaded the strap, and didn’t remember the tracker until I was organizing gear in the grass of the park downtown, 3 hours later.
These points are the help signals that submersion apparently trigged, sent over roughly an hour as it sped ahead of me downstream. At around 1400, it died. I think. We’ll see what Spot has to say on Monday, but I worry it lost. A pretty dumb mistake on my part.
In keeping with the packrafting theme, Forrest posted this on the Alpacka Forum:
Sad. The Colorado River Compact is an organization of swindlers.