Seven members of Mountain Waters crew got into Rockwood Gorge this morning for the first raft descent this season. The verdict was consistent: this was the greatest idea ever.
After a “boats-on-the-back” two mile hike to the put-in, we finally got to boat. The Rockwood Gorge is special because of its remoteness. Although it’s actually fairly close to civilization, the task of getting in and out of the Gorge is a tall one, to say the least.
When we run it commercially with clients, we have the capability to use the train. The train drops our gear at Cascade Canyon, we hike in from Purgatory Flats, pump air into the boats, and saddle up. When you do the section privately, as was done today, you’re on your own. The boats come with you on the hike, which isn’t quite as easy as having a Steam Engine carry them for you.
Onward, enough of the logistics. Rockwood Gorge is a team sport. Your guide is there because he knows the river, but without a paddling crew the ship won’t sail. In this Gorge, the paddlers are every bit as important as the guide. The trip comes equipped with constant hi-sides and regular low-sides, “STRAIGHTEN UP” calls, “DIIIIGGGGG” calls, and usually one or two calls that nobody has heard before. Being active in the boat is just as much a part of it as paddling. And it’s crazy fun.
Today was a clean day. It was an immaculate morning in the canyon, the water was loud and green, and the train ran 400 feet above us twice. The water is at an amazing level right now, and the two biggest rapids – Mandatory Thrashing and Red Rock Rapid – are flowing at a great speed. I’ve never had more fun in a boat than I did today.
And after the trip…it’s time to team build and haul the boats and gear up and out of the Gorge. It’s a chore, but it’s over in a half hour, and for a great day of boating I wouldn’t think twice about it.
Give us a call and try it out for yourself. You’d most likely be one of ten people to raft this stretch of water this year. No kidding. And it’ll be the most amazing piece of water you’ve seen.
Matt should be posting a video of today’s trip within the next couple days. Don’t forget to come back and check it out.