Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gates of Lodore: Day 3

Ed. Note: This post has been sitting in my draft pile for ages and ages and I have no idea why I've never published it. I think it is essentially finished. It is long enough, right? So I'm going to post without re-reading it since it is dated October 9th. Enjoy!

As fantastic as the first two days of my river trip were, day three somehow managed to kick it up a notch and got that much better. Due to the luck of the draw on our assigned campsites for the trip, we only had to paddle about 4 miles total on day three which meant: hiking day!

Oh, and also: sleeping in.

The sleeping in was especially welcome after the boat dance party that lasted pretty late into the night. Breakfast was especially tasty that morning as the sun made its way out from behind the cliffs. We had banana pancakes and bacon and I enjoyed my usual morning mug of herbal chai.

After breakfast no one (meaning the guides) was in much of a rush to head out so we had a bit of time on our hands after packing up our gear. This spare time resulted in some impromptu photo sessions with my new friends.
We did a bear pose, an 80s high school senior photo pose and a little Charlie's Angels as well. And we had a blast being silly and goofy and pretending we were about half our actual ages. Everyone should try that once in a while. The sand was so soft and enticing in the morning sun that I decided to see if I could replicate one of the prior evening's tricks of performing a headstand - this time for a camera.
Luck was on my side that morning and someone was quick to snap this photo during the 2.5 seconds I managed to be straight up and down as I yelled, "take it NOW!" I haven't been to yoga class in a couple of years (uh, not something I'm happy about, hoping to remedy this delinquency soon) but I'm glad I can still pull off a head stand.

Photos and morning hijinks out of the way, we piled into the boats for the short float around the bend to collect some firewood for what turned out to be our very short lived evening fire. Shannon and I were on an oar boat with Diego and since Diego had complained earlier in the trip about getting stuck on a boat with two guys who loved to hear the sound of their own voices, and since Shannon and I were (uh, are) both the biggest talkers of the group, Shannon thought it would be funny if we were just silent for the morning float. You know, to see if it freaked him out or anything.

As it turned out, that was not at the top of Diego's concerns for the morning. Seconds after we hit the eddy following the single small rapid of the morning, but a few yards shy of the shoreline Diego was aiming for, I heard the oars clatter into their catch as Diego dropped them. I turned to see him bent over the opposite side of the boat from where I was sitting. Initially I thought he had dropped something in the water - like his hat. But then my other senses kicked in and I heard and smelled the unmistakable signs of someone losing their breakfast. He sat up, apologized and then was heaving off the side of the boat once again as our boat sort of drifted in a slow circle in the eddy.

Diego continued to apologize and we tried not to laugh. I don't know why I found it funny, maybe because otherwise it would make me nauseous? I don't know. The other boats were coming up on us and asking what was up. I didn't want to yell that our guide was puking so as not to make him feel even worse than he already did. So we used some universal sign language to convey the message and before long Diego had pulled himself together and rowed us to shore where he cleaned off the side of the boat and brushed his teeth as he continued to apologize and explained that no, he was not hung over but that the combination of bananas, coffee and bacon just did not sit well with him. He claimed to be fine - other than the embarrassment - and showed no other signs of ailment the rest of the day.
Of course, the story we never managed to document on film the way we had hoped was going to be that Diego got sick and started heaving over the side of the boat mid-rapid, Shannon (a doctor) leapt to his aide while I grabbed the oars and maneuvered us through a Class IV rapid. Ta da! The talkers save the day. We had the photo all planned out but for whatever reason, never acted it out for a camera. It would have been great so just imagine it inserted here and pretend that is the story I told.

After we collected enough firewood for a couple of bonfires, we climbed back in the boats for a short ride to our destination for the day - the Jones Hole/Ely Creek/Island Park hike.

The first stop on our hike was to take in some Native American rock art. These pictographs . I put a video together of this hike that may only be fun and interesting to those who were there but take a look if you like beautiful places.

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