August 8, 2010

Workday at the ranch

Got up and out today and went to my Men's group.  Well, OK, it was just the two of us today.  Summer's pretty busy for everyone, you know it's true! 

We got after the trees today.  Holly had mowed while we were gone and pointed out that the trees all needed to have a trim so that you could mow under them without doing the GI Joe crawl behind the mower.  It's a pretty dangerous thing, having me trim, once I get going it's hard to stop.  You see, it starts out simple enough, small clippers.  Soon enough, that's not enough, I upgrade to the loppers that will take down a 1" thick branch, soon enough, it's not enough, I grab the bow saw and start getting after the bigger stuff.  After a few minutes I head to the shed and am usually cut off by Holly, she knows the chain saw is next and then it gets pretty scary!  She never lets me trim trees without her around, now you know why.

Day 2 of the white water trip.

Up at 6 to get the boys moving.  Figure we need to get to Buffler's, the breakfast buffet at the camp, by 7 to have time to get to the place to meet the guide by 8.  All you can eat with biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon, sausage, cheesy hash browns and a never empty pot of good, dark coffee.  Oh, there was fresh fruit as well.  We all carbed up because we knew that we'd be on the river for quite awhile.

George was our tour leader and he'd be in the full size raft with all the supplies for lunch.  Chris, an Eagle scout that's a guide, would be teaching the boys the rafting merit badge while we were on the water.  Dustin completed the team as the designated sweeper.  Chris and Dustin were in double duckies.  We were all in single duckies.  A duckie, for the uninitiated, is an inflatable kayak.  It gets it's name from the way it moves down the calm water, as you paddle you make the kayak waddle.

We all suit up with a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD), a helmet and a double bladed kayak paddle.  Since all the kayaks are not the same the boys are off, trying to make sure that they get the coolest kayak that most suits their personality.  What does it say about me that I just waited until there was only one kayak left on the beach?  What ever, I just jumped in and started paddling.  The duckies handle pretty easy, but if you're not careful, you will be doing a lot of circles.  That's where Spencer was and while I was trying to help, I wasn't being effective and so Dustin pushed me aside and took over the lessons.  It was with relief and bittersweet sadness that I paddled away.  After a couple of warm up class 2/3 rapids it was determined that Spencer had chosen a raft with larger than normal tubes, and that was affecting his ability to paddle.  I asked if mine would be better for him and it was decided that it would.  A mid river transfer was attempted; Spencer managed to crawl into my duckie, I slipped into the river trying to climb into his duckie.  While attempting to climb into my new duckie I saw the difficulty of the high tube and had to be hoisted into the duckie by one of the guides. 

The days lazily passed, a rapids here, some paddling there, lunch on a beach.  It was hot and humid, but whenever we felt too hot, we'd slip over the side of the duckie and take a swim, if the water was calm that is.  The water temp was about 80, almost too warm some, but for me, just right! 

Jump Rock was pretty cool.  The guys took turns jumping and hamming for the cameras.  I even jumped just to show that I could.  Jump Rock was probably 15 feet up and the water was probably 12 to 15 feet deep.  Good time!

The main event for the day would be a series of rapids called; "Surprise".  Water was channeled just so over the submerged rocks in such a way that a 6 foot standing wave was in the middle of where we wanted to go.  Or was the wave the reason we wanted to go that way?  No matter, it was the call of the water!  Much coaching was being related to us from our guides; "Hit it in the middle!", "Keep paddling, don't stop or you'll get dumped!", "Follow where I go, not the guy that was in front of you."  That last one was pretty crazy hard to follow, I was 20 guys behind him, what chance did I have of seeing his line?

By this point Spencer had gotten out of his duckie and joined Dustin.  Dustin assured Spencer and me that this way he'd be sure to hit the wave in the middle and have the most fun.  Sounded like a plan and from this picture you tell Spencer was having a blast and you can see that Dustin really did get him to the center of the action!

Ian kind of slid off to the side and so he didn't get the full effect, but had fun all the same.

I hesitate to share my experience, but what the heck, not the first time my mouth wrote a check that my body had to cash and probably wont be the last time either.  It's best to view the whole sequence.

Here's the first, as you can see, I have my game face on, Charge!

I hit the wave, and have lost the grip on my paddle, not a good sign.

As I slid out of the duckie, I hear in my head, keep a hold of your duckie, it's your friend through the rapids.  As you can see in this shot, I tried.  Take my word for it, it's a lot harder than it appears.  After you've done this, it's a pretty great feeling to just sit and breathe.

The rest of the day on the river was calmer, but still fun.  That night we had dinner at the big top, hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad, chips and cookies.  A great meal. 

Not much going on that Sunday night so we hopped in the car and found our way down to this pretty cool lookout.  The bridge is an engineering marvel and the boys were happy to be able to climb around. 

The Young's, as you can see, are a manly group of men.

Across the street was a hill leading to a bluff.  Ian went after it and discovered that the sand was actually shale that was falling off the bluff.

I took this one of Spencer under the huge arch bridge.  The bridge is 836 feet tall.  I had to threaten to throw the boy off in order to get him to look this good for the camera.

Hope you're all having a great summer!

No comments: