2013 15th Annual Women River Trip On The Lower Deschutes

June 14, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Eighteen women launched from Buck Hollow on June 14 with seven cat boats, two rafts, five inflatable kayaks and one hard shell kayaker.    Take out was Heritage Park on June 16.

Boaters on the trip:  Carol Beatty, trip leader, Paula Minear, Suzi Richards, Brenda Bunce, Anne Stephenson, Marnie Sell, Pam Maxwell, Bo Bonotto, Joy Cleaver, Michele Gila, Jen Ruoff, Laurie Hilliard, Stacey Strausberg, Megan Hooker, Sue Knapp, Lisa Carr, Deb Norton, Becky McCain.

Before launching, there were introductions, explanations of what to expect on the river and Paula Minear and Suzi Richards gave a thorough safety talk; Anne Stephenson provided IKer’s with guidelines.  

Annie Walsten reserved the downriver Beavertail Camp for Friday night.   Plus, she carried Friday’s tamale dinner and Saturday’s breakfast sandwiches in her camper and took out garbage Saturday morning.    Because of shoulder surgery, she couldn’t row a boat so camping with the group on Friday was her vicarious way of doing the river.

Finding Saturday night’s camp was a practice of patience and diplomacy.    I always aim for the first Lockit camp because it accommodates a large group, but that was filled with a small group.  All camps along the way that would hold a large group were also taken by smaller groups.      If all camps between Lockit and Harris Canyon are full, I don’t hold out much hope for an empty Fall Canyon camp, which is one of my favorite on the river, but that was our next choice.    And, it was taken by one raft, two campers.    The diplomacy was tried when Brenda and I decided to talk with the two campers to see if we could share their camp.    It seemed a shame that the large camp only held two boaters.    Diplomacy didn’t work.   While they agreed we could share the camp, when all our boats were parked and the women came into camp so we could review how this would work, the two campers had spread their gear out in such a way that left no doubt that they didn’t want us there. 

Patience worked because we finally found a no name camp river left above Bedsprings camp, about RM 9.    There was even a sand bar that had room for all our boats.    The port-a-potty came out and we were home for the night, a 23 river mile day.

The aim of this women’s trip is to help women new to boating  learn skills in a safe environment from experienced women boaters.    Of course, lots of fun is going on.    Women learned how to use the current to move the boat, how not to back row at the top of a rapid, how to use momentum to move through a rapid, how to park boats in tight spots, how to read rapids and pick your line, how to use laterals to the boater’s advantage, how important it is to keep track of other boaters on the river, how being frightened doesn’t mean it renders a boater incapable of making good decisions.    A little fear helps the mind focus.

Special thanks to Anne Stephenson, expert kayaker, who helped the IKer’s learn new boating skills.    All the kayakers were running the rapids from RM 8 to the mouth with confidence and lots of smiles and flip free.

All those who have run the Lower Deschutes know that the upriver winds can be vicious.    The river gods blessed us with minimal upriver wind and kept the rain away.   River blessings continued at take out because there were no power boats coming in from the Columbia and using the ramp.

The 2014 Women’s River Trip will be in June again.   Watch the OWA newsletter for posting.



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