April on the Owhyee was windy, cold and wild. The river was running high but only after we got off did we realize how high. We thought the river was running at 3 to 4,000 cfs but found out after we got off that it had peaked near 6,000 cfs on our 4th day. That was the day that Bruce, a guy who had kayaked the river @ 8 times before, flipped and was rescued by a talented guide and a paddle boat full of Obsidians. One other person (non-Obsidian) went in the water in the same rapids. Neoprene gloves, neoprene booties, and wet suits were worn by many people the entire trip.
Our group of 6 Obsidians joined 8 brave souls for a party size of 14. We were led and catered to by 5 experienced, knowledgable, and fun Ouzel guides. Brian, one of the Ouzel owners was also part of the group. In addition to their excellent river skills, the guides prepared delicious meals, including lots of fruits and vegies and 2 delicious dutch oven desserts. They even took us on some hikes on their "down" time.
We learned how to properly secure a tent from Brian, who often did an evening inspections and added reinforcements. Four large rocks were placed inside the 4 corners of the tent and numerous guylines were used to tie down the rainfly. The wind was wild and crazy. The camps were all at wonderful locations that offered the opportunity to hike on gentle terrain near the river or venture up a side canyon to explore the rim and geologic formations up close.
We spent most of our time in one of the 2 oar boats with paddle assist. We sometimes pleaded to paddle so we could stay warm! Chris, the most adventuresome Obsidian on the water, paddled an Inflatable kayak the first day and then wisely chose to wait til the last day for a little more fun in the IK.
Flowers and birds were just starting to make their appearance after a hard winter and spring, which made them all the more special. The geology and landscape was spectacular, so many interesting shapes and colors! We did manage to see some big horn sheep but alas, they were all dead - 1 carcass and 3 skulls. Despite the crazy river conditions, we all made it out alive!Members: Emily Rice, Lana Lindstrom, Judy Terry, Guy Strahon, Chris Shuraleff, Patricia Esch.
Chris, Ouzel guide Alek, Emily, and Pat—photo by Lana Lindstrom
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