Day 12 – February 14
Lower Blacktail (120.7) to Owl Eyes (135.2)
River Miles: 14.5
Happy Valentine’s Day! We loved hearing your voices this morning.
I woke at 5:50 to NO rain. But the inside of the rain fly was wet with heavy condensation this morning. Grandpa’s tent has not been holding up to the rain so Caroline has had several wet nights. We got up and started breakfast – hot cereal with toast. Then it was time to rouse the troops.
Folks were a little tired this morning. Daddy had stayed up late with Andrew and walked into Blacktail Canyon with a tiki torch. They blew out the torch and after their eyes adjusted to the darkness they could see the reflection of the stars in the pools of water.
We packed up camp and got on the river by 9:30ish. The sky was full of clouds but some blue was breaking through. We meandered along enjoying the beauty and new day on the river. Andrew rode in our boat today.
The rapids were fairly easy, most read and run. One of the rapids – Fossil – was a huge S-curve rapid. Specter Rapid, class 6, had big standing waves.
Bedrock Rapid, class 7, had a humongous rock right in the middle. We all chose to go right of the rock. The other rafting group caught up to us at this rapid.
We refer to them as the pirates. We were first down so we continued on to Deubendorff Rapid and pulled over to scout. As we were getting back in our boats the pirates showed up so we let them go first. It was fun to watch the kayakers go through the rapids. Maybe someday we all can whitewater kayak together. Most of the pirates on rafts chose to row standing up. Interesting style.
We ran Deubendorff and it was a lot of fun! Daddy skirted to the right of a huge hole at the top of the rapid but then hit a smaller one full on at the bottom. It was a short, steep hole that was jarring to hit. On we went.
We pulled off at the foot of Deubendorff for lunch. Stone Creek Camp was on river right with a short hike up to a waterfall. We pulled out lunch; hummus, veggies, triscuits, and m&m’s. I ate a whole package of peanut m&m’s for dessert.
Daddy and a few others hiked up to see the waterfall. I stayed on the beach and cleaned up from lunch. Daddy came back dripping wet. He found the waterfall.
Back on the river and just a few more miles until camp. We decided on Owl Eyes Camp. Only Blake and Mike were interested in doing the full seven-mile hike and Owl Eyes is a way nicer (bigger, more protected) camp than Racetrack.
It had been grey and overcast much of the day but the sun broke through for a little bit while we setup camp.
Daddy and I set up our tent and then decided to wander up the side canyon. It started as a creek bottom but as we hiked the walls began to get taller and closer together. Bill, Cory, and Gerry caught up to us. After a long while I decided to sit and wait for them to come back, my foot was a bit sore.
Fifteen to twenty minutes later Cory reappeared. The rest decided to press on further into the canyon. Cory and I started to walk back. About 10 minutes from camp we looked back and saw a huge cloud descend into the side canyon. We picked up our pace as it began to sprinkle and the wind began to blow.
We arrived back at camp to pandemonium. No one was ready for the rain! Dry bags were hastily closed, tents zipped and things put away. The wind picked up and the kitchen started to demand attention. Dinner prep was underway but rain and wind wreaked havoc. The rain tarp was hastily put up but it wasn’t working well. The wind gusts ripped 3 of the 4 corners. Daddy, Bill, and Gerry arrived back at camp and Daddy pitched in to help. Getting that tarp secure was an ordeal! Finally it was good enough and the dinner crew finished making dinner. Grilled cheese with tomato soup and a 3-bean salad.
Daddy, Gerry, and I were on clean up. The rain had basically stopped so we were able to wash dishes without weather interference. But as we entered the kitchen to clean, Gerry saw a mouse scurry under a rock. Sure enough, at least 2 mice were at work trying to get leftovers the entire time we were cleaning. Also while doing dishes, the entire table began to tip towards us. We were able to catch it before it dumped the pans of dishwater on us! Daddy thinks that the dripping water softened the sand so one of the table legs sank suddenly and dramatically into the sand.
We finished dishes and joined the rest of the crew around the fire. Cory had declared today to be a gratitude day so we spent some time talking about what we’re grateful for. The stars were out! The clouds had blown over.
As bedtime neared, Matt, Shawn, Cory, and Gerry took down the rain tarp so it didn’t blow violently in the night. The kitchen was alive with mice. Matt came up to Gerry and crawled his fingers up Gerry’s pant leg mimicking a mouse and said, “watch out there Gerry!” Gerry jumped flailing his arms and legs and then all four laughed deeply about the joke. Shawn and Matt were still chuckling about it when they told us.
It began to sprinkle again so bedtime for me. I’ve heard a few drops of rain but not much since coming to the tent. We keep hoping for warmer weather and sunshine but we keep having fun despite the clouds and rain. God knows what tomorrow holds. Good night my loves.