Sunday, July 31, 2011

Paddle out

Yesterday was the heart-pumping high-point of our trip. After a long drive out of the Rockies (with a final stop at the Swiss bakery and brief layover at the Packing House cafe in Spences Bridge, a Fraser expedition tradition), we finally arrived at the REO Rafting Resort outside Boston Bar in the Fraser Canyon. We were all excited to decompress, shower, and get a good night's sleep after three nights in the woods. And we needed to rest up for our next adventure: white water rafting.

After breakfast, we each shimmied into wetsuits and piled onto a big orange school bus, which delivered us to a launch point on the Nahatlatch River. Within minutes we were on the water practicing our paddling and man-overboard rescue skills. Then the action really started. We started hurdling down the Nahatlatch in our rafts, occasionally steered expertly into waves and rocks by our guides, with the river bed racing past under the clear blue water. More than just a thrill ride, this was an awesome opportunity to experience the raging flow of a mountain river at high water, the canyon walls of the Coast Mountains jutting up on either side and huge log jams sticking out from the banks now and then. When the ride was finished, we availed ourselves of a few water samples, which affirmed the clear nature (i.e. low solute and particle load) of the river we had just traversed.

After a relaxing afternoon discussing the local geology in the sun back at the resort, we ended the evening with a few presentations on river geochemistry. Some of the resort staff even sat in, curious about the geology of the area after perusing our Roadside Geology of Southern B.C. book while we were out rafting. Today we are off to Vancouver to see what happens when rivers meet the sea...

Britta Voss

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