Sunday, July 12, 2009

Buttercup's Big Day Out: Matanuska River

This blog is as much for me as the people that I share it with, but I'll still preface this post with, I am a novice boater with limited experience, low threshold for excitement, and a new infatuation with packrafting.

Buttercup is the new boat I picked up from the Post Office as I headed out of town to meet Raina and the two Jen's to go float the Matanuska river. Although the boat is blue, and there is no buttercup'nishness really about the boat, its the name that popped into my head as the postal worker was handing me the box. She's a little beauty, sleak and shiny new.

Buttercup and I


I was a bit nervous because of the article in the ADN the day before about how the river was eating away chunks of the riverbanks. But my fears dissipated as me and buttercup bobbed down the river. Unfortunately there is no pics of me in the water...maybe next time!

Raina and the Two Jens


The mountain scenery is spectacular during this float. The river was thick and milky with silt, trees were floating with us, and I could hear the clicking of rocks rolling with the current at the bottom of the river. It was pretty awesome.

Lounging on the Gravel Bar


The Big Boat

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It took us about 6.5 hours to float from Glacier park to Chickaloon. I went for my second swim ever in a river, but it was a little different from the very first time. The sprayskirt on my new boat is great for keeping the water out, but its also effective at keeping me in, upside down under water. There is an "oh shit" egress tab, and although I was under water long enough to envision drowning, in reality it was probably only 2 seconds before I was ripping the tab open, and then swimming, or floating really. I miraculously managed to keep a hold of my paddle and boat, but was unable to flip it back over and get inside. I probably floated about 1/4 of a mile until my channel merged with the channel Raina and the two Jens had taken. They had spotted my boat without me in it and rowed as fast as they could to me. Jen threw me the rescue rope, I eventually caught it and they pulled me into their raft. It was 100% exhilarating, and terrifying at the same time.

I think that this was a great way for me to develop more respect for the water, and also get better at recognizing water features that are likely to flip my boat. Plus now I know that I can get out of my boat when its flipped. I got right back in the packraft again, but was a lot more cautious for the rest of the trip.


Kellie said...

So does that include the Lion's Head section? Nice work, especially the day after Crow Pass - you rock!!!

Sherrie Soltis said...

I totally don't rock at all! Did not do Lion's head, and I have done nothing but whine since crow pass. My legs are so pathetic right now, I can still barely walk!!!!