On Tuesday, after breaking our car camp conveniently located next to the crappers, we floated the Pumphouse to Radium section of the Colorado River in our new used fishing raft. It’s got a lone stretch, maybe a hundred yards, of Class III water, and it’s safe to say we went into this with a healthy respect for the river and its unforgiving nature. Floating the Bighorn is one thing – Class I+ at best at the flows we floated – but Class III is another animal. Granted, you’d have to REALLY screw up to flip your boat or wrap it, but it’s still a possibility on the Pumphouse section, and that was enough to make me moderately nervous.
In the end, we came through just fine. Frank’s buddy Brett, who has floated this stretch on his raft many times, was with us, and that helped the confidence levels (he’s actually a full-on badass when it comes to rivers, having run most of the Grand Canyon on a raft and the Gore Canyon section of the Colorado on a kayak (I know! Gore fu%king Canyon, right!?)). We all shared time behind the oars equally, but when it came time to run the Class III “eye of the needle rapid,” I really wanted to give it a shot. Hilariously, I nailed this section pretty much perfectly, then managed to put the bow of the boat on a small boulder a hundred yards below the crux of the needle. There’s a lesson there, though I’m still not sure what it is.
And oh yeah, Frank caught a monster Brown, 20 inches easy:
Until next time…