On the River: Aboard the Yoyo (and overboard)
“You’re on your own, guys!”It was a different command than our captain had been barking from the back of our three-person raft for the last several hours. And it caught us a little off guard.One hundred yards from the takeout of the Woody Creek Toothache run on the upper Roaring Fork, I saw my raftmate suddenly rocket over the cooler to the back of the brand new 11-footer.”What are you -” then noticing the upper half of our guide bobbing in the waves. “Oh.””Forward!” the new captain cried. “No back!” One paddled forward, the other paddled backward, and the raft spun 720 degrees, slid past two large eddies at the takeout and plowed into a few small riverside rocks 20 yards downstream.Our guide on this private trip was unharmed, albeit a little cold and wet. And the Yoyo (You’re on your own) was saved from disaster on its maiden voyage.A bit of dumb luck never hurts.A bit of dumb, however, is always a pain in the butt.With the water surging, a kayak trip was in order Sunday, and it had been looked forward to all week. The boat was ready, the shuttle was arranged, the water was waiting, the sprayskirt was – where was it? In the car at the takeout. It wasn’t the first time. It probably won’t be the last.The alternative was to take a seat in another raft – not a bad Plan B. And everyone remained in the confines of the craft for the trip down the lower Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers. And good thing. There were three river fatalities over the weekend, one on the Colorado above Glenwood Springs.The all-out runoff blitz around the state makes for great paddling, but water and gravity wield awesome, deadly power, whether in frozen or liquid form.Experts who had hoped for a long, steady runoff now are forecasting the peak to hit early and hard if this weather persists.Have fun and be safe.
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