Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chattooga Overnighter

Beaz and I preparing for the expedition

Yes another Chattooga Overnighter. One of our long time team paddlers, mother of two boys and a grown man was having a birthday and she wanted to celebrate on the river with a group of friends, so we loaded up the long boats and headed to the river. It was not looking like the best weather with predictions of drizzle, cool temps, and wind that would threaten our very lives, but Maria said, "we're going for it". Typical New Zealand attitude.

The Birthday Girl, Maria

Packing up the essentials

There are many different types of overnight paddling trips. You have the full on hardcore freeze dried beans and rice, kind of trip. There is also the Clay Wright special McD burgers all smashed together in a dry bag trip. The dream trip is on the Canyon where you take pretty much anything you want and let someone else row it down, but on the Chattooga we do a modified car camping, bring everything you got sort of trip. We take as much as we can on or in our boats and then get the car within walking distance of the river and unload more stuff for the evening. We knew we had the essentials. Tiki Torches, Habachis, 2 Coolers, Beverages of all types, Gigantic kmart special $49.95 tent, strange sunglasses and yes and incredible Dahl Bat dinner.

Beaz with Bow and Stern Habachis

Our team was comprised of committed top notch river professionals, which more often than not, we have found, is a disaster waiting to happen. It has been scientifically proven that the more "river professionals" you have on a trip the more chaos will result. Take for example a trip Beaz and I took on the Bio where we spent the night at a large rapid because we professionals couldn't line a boat properly and pinned it worse than we could have if we were paddling it. Or another example our Grand Canyon trip where we managed to flip 3 times, break 3 oars and demolish a couple oar locks. The list goes on but you get the idea. We have become wary when we gather too many years of paddling experience.

Nick Williams (long time T-Canyon paddler who wore Oggs well after they were cool)

The Williams Noakes Family

This trip is a very mellow fun time. We have now done it several times and I love it. We get to take along folks who maybe just learning, or we can take along kids, and goof around in big boats. Its really a blast. If you haven't done an overnighter I highly recommend it. There is nothing like waking up next to the river and just putting on and going downstream. Plan it on an easy stretch take some non paddling friends. This Chattooga trip we do from the 28 bridge down the 76 bridge. So we cover Section 2 and Section 3 of the Chattooga. I think thats around 20 miles +/- a couple.

Birthday cake on the beach at Sandy Ford.
Hmmmm seems a little crunchy.

This evening we celebrated Maria's birthday. Nick had cooked up an amazing Dahl Bat dinner and we had birthday cake. Plenty of libations if you are into that sort of thing. But after that things started to go a little crazy. We of course had to do those beach paddle games. Try this one the next time you are in a padded area. Take a paddle hold it up vertically in front of you with the top blade above your head so you can see the tip of it if you look pretty much straight up. Then while looking at the end of the paddle spin 10 times as fast or slow as you would like while looking up at the tip of the paddle. Then lay the paddle down and step across it. Simple Right? But before you do this make sure one of your friends has a video camera on and others are spotting you. This usually starts an evening off right. Then the wind picked up and blew tents everywhere including out in the middle of the river. There was a grilled marshmallow war, and in the middle of the night when limbs started to fall off the trees there was some scrambling for better cover.

Beaz by the light of the Tiki Torch

The Expedition Team by the fire.

Beaz ripping class 2+

Whit boofing Bull's sluice.

Anna cleaning the bull as well.

Beaz dropping in without bow and stern habachis

Good decision on the habachis.

All in all we didn't do too much damage to ourselves or equipment.
Maybe we are getting smarter with age. However I need another weekend to recover
from the weekend.

Here is the video.
Click Here

Take it easy out there.


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