The perfect maiden voyage with OWA…

Pre-Trip: The spring break trip started out a day early. I emailed asking if anyone wanted to
carpool... I feel very lucky that Bruce Ripley volunteered. It’s not every day you get to hang
out with the previous club president and hear about all the stories and get individualized
advice from such an experienced boater. On the drive over the mountain, I heard several new
tips and tricks and figured out my game plan for my first trip with OWA which was also my
first overnight trip with my new boat. The night before the launch several people camped out
at Beaver Tail. As an introvert, meeting new people in smaller groups at camp made the
whole trip a lot less daunting. While I don't have any hard data, the pre-trip camp set up for
the first night really helped our group the put in. Because several of the boats were set up in
advance, there were several knowledgeable people and available hands to help load boats,
back up the trailers, and arrange gear.

Day 1: Scott gave his famous safety talk before the trip. He introduced his son, Carson, who
was the inspiration for this epic annual getaway. Before you know it, we were all on the
water. I launched next to Carson and he is a speed daemon. He was rowing circles around my
boat, helping me figure out how to get in the proper rowing rhythm. The river was high and
fast and there were some awesome wave trains that were fun to ride. We were blessed with
Oregon sunshine and a beautiful day. At camp, everyone set up quickly and gathered around
for quesadillas, build your own burritos with Dorito salad, and cocktails / mock-tails
depending on your age. The kids had a lot of fun with the piñata, even though it was difficult
to find a stick that didn't break. After dark, the kids played glow in the dark bocce ball and
hula hooped to their hearts content. Suddenly I looked up and everyone had retired to their
tents. I could barely believe that the natural river bed time was 9:30 pm.

Day 2: Tonya and John were up before Scott to start breakfast burritos. After getting
separated from the group briefly on the first day, I got some new boat buddies. Thank you to
Jamie and Carrie who let me join their posse and follow their lines. In famous Oregon fashion,
it began to rain as soon as everyone got their tents set up. Everyone was in envy of Diane's
electric coat (it my next gear “have to have”) and appreciated all the fire pans and propane
heaters spaced throughout camp. The kids had a blast putting pennies on the railroad tracks
and examining the dead raccoon that had been decapitated at an earlier date (ewww... but
science?) Luckily the rain let up right after an amazing artichoke / hummus duo appetizer
and pulled pork slider dinner. Several adults joined in round 2 of the bocce ball game / hula
hoop session while several of us watched from the safety and warmth of the fire. Cary again
brought out his famous drink stand (Thank you Cary!!!) and a fun time was had by all. The
group made it to a much more respectable 11 pm before lights out.

Day 3: Mmmm... I can still taste the amazing French toast. With coffee in hand, we watched
in awe as big horn sheep daintily picked their way across the opposite mountainside. They
regaled us all morning with indecision as they crossed back and forth to and from the same
outcroppings over and over. This big water day and the people around helped me assess my
boat to make sure it was appropriately rigged. Unlike the other days, the group stayed tightly
in formation. The newbies were all in the center of the pack. Everyone was watching out for
everyone else and pointing out both the conservative and more daring lines through the
rapids. Colorado, the highest rated rapid on this section, was one big long wave train with a
very conservative sneak route easily available. Everyone stayed in their boats (to my
knowledge) and had an absolute blast. The tear down at the take out was smooth and
efficient Everyone helped everyone else. Overall, it was a beautiful maiden voyage with OWA,
a great way to get to know new boaters, and the perfect opportunity to work on skill building.
Thank you all for such an amazing spring break vacation.

Trip Reports