Friday, July 07, 2006

French Alps Day 3: The Ubaye River

Raph On His Home River

Next stop the Ubaye River which is home turf for Raphael.
The Panda took Raphael and I back to his home in the Ubaye Valley. Raphael and his family live in a beautiful little village with about 10 other families on the canyon rim of the Ubaye river.

The Home Village

He works with a rafting company there and teaches kayaking, and takes photos. The whitewater pictures in this story were taken by him.
We ran into some other paddlers for our day on the Ubaye River. See if you know who they are. One of these guys runs a paddling program in The UK and Europe called Gene 17, and the other well hes just psychotic.

Simon Westgarth On Safety Patrol

Irish Dave, He Doesn't Drink You Know

There are miles and miles of the Ubaye to be paddled. I think we did about 8-10 miles. It is super scenic with views of some incredible mountains as well as some tight gorges and one waterfall coming in on top of your head in the river. Its the kind of day you just walk away smiling.

The Ubaye Shot From The Road Above

Bridge That Napolean Used On His Shuttle

Paddlers Shower

The biggest section is most of the way down the run. There are really three main rapids that I remember. Of course the names of the rapids elude me but they were both good fun. The first one was a nice boof in the middle of the river and then a quick boogey over to a small slot that the entire river goes through that tries to throw you on your head against the wall on the right. The second big rapid had a really cool boof on the right side of the river over a huge boulder in the river followed by a quick move over to the left through a few holes. These rapids were super classic easy class 5. I would imagine with more water there would be quite a bit of juice in this part of the gorge. With the water we had it was very well defined and padded so the water level was sweet. I believe the water level was chest high on a duck to be exact. Here are some shots of the main couple rapids.

Thats Me In The First Big One

The Sweetest Boof on the Run

We were up late with the locals the night before the run and the boys were telling me how much they love it when tourists come to paddle the Ubaye because they always find good gear down at the bottom of the river in the lake. It makes them feel like pirates.

I had a great day and long weekend paddling with the French paddling pirates. Can't wait to do it again.

Here is a video of the day on the Ubaye.
The Ubaye River in France, Click It

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