Thursday, August 10, 2017

Rafts on the Nooksack

How many days and how many vehicles does it take to do a single day float on the Nooksack? 
"3"
Day 1 - Saturday was spent getting the rafts ready and loaded into our Van. Sunday we shuttled my car to Hovander farm in Ferndale for our take out point. We then drove our Van with our rafts and gear back home from Ferndale to get our Pathfinder, we then drove both cars to Riverside park in Everson for our day of rafting. The Pathfinder is our raft inflation vehicle. We don't use the Van for this because the battery is in a crazy location and we can't use the Pathfinder for hauling and filling because everything doesn't fit in it. Hence, three cars.
Day 2 - Sunday we had a family outing planned to raft the Nooksack. The air quality hasn't been great around here because of the wildfires in B.C. but it turned out to be O.K. on the river. We had a good breeze blowing, especially the latter part of the day. While we were waiting for the rest of our group to arrive, we began the task of setting the rafts up.
We take everything out of the Van and begin the process of filling up the rafts with air and putting the seats and frame onto them. We hook the pump up to the Pathfinders battery for the pump. 







All ready, just need the crew to arrive.

The rafts and then all of the gear had to be carried to the river.


The rafts and their crews.

We set up the yellow raft with a rowing frame and the larger blue raft with a paddling set up. Each person in the blue raft had a paddle. Less chance of boredom 😉.

To start the trip off right we had a great water fight!

The upper section of the river had quite a lot of branches and trees down that we had to navigate around. The lower section was very slow, hardly any current. So the last section was spent paddling a lot especially with the wind coming up river for the last few miles. We rafted the Ski to Sea route of the Nooksack, just over 18 miles. 





When the river got really slow the men switched rafts, my husbands rowing arms were getting tired so he paddled the rest of the way. My job on these trips is to drive for the shuttle, watch for obstacles in the water, to help load and take down before and after, to look beautiful in the front of the boat and to photo document everything - of course!


High and dry roots.

We had planned to take out at Hovander, but the wind was blowing hard against us and the day was getting long. We still had the car shuttles ahead of us, so it was decided to take out at the boat launch just before Hovander. We carried the rafts up the launch and put them in the field. 

Everyone that stayed with the rafts took care of the take down and deflating of the rafts and waited there while my daughter and I walked to Hovander (about 1 mile by trail) to get the shuttle car. We stopped at Ferndale and got some food for the starving rafters first, then made our way to Everson, where my daughter got her car and I got our Van (we left the shuttle car there). We then drove back to Ferndale to pick everyone up and load the equipment into the Van. We said our goodbyes to our family. My husband and I then drove to Riverside park in Everson to bring the shuttle car home. Then we drove the Van back to Riverside park to get the pathfinder. Whew, finally all of the cars were home.

Now it's day 3. 
The rafting trip is never over until the rafts are refilled with air, cleaned and dried thoroughly before they're packed away.


It's always worth it though!
What a great day together.


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