This was my first day in the pontoon on a river. We're about to make our departure down the East Carson. Flows had dropped, and the whitewater nuts had packed it up. The river runs through an inaccessable canyon and is wild C&R below Hangman's bridge. I made a trunk with a plastic tub to hold my crap, bungeed down and has worked pretty well so far. My nerves weren't quite so well held in place.
Neither of us had been on this stretch before. We spent most of the morning fishing below the put in and myself learning to row, relaxed and taking our time. There's a hot springs half way but somehow we missed it, which sucked.
About 3pm as we ported around a bigger rapid, a couple of kayakers blew past us shooting "Sidewinder" as we found out it was named. One hit the side (go figure), rolled, and dropped out of his kayak. I dashed to the edge and tossed a line. He got to the bank and was favoring a bruised knee. Jeremy ran down and managed to grab his kayak (would have been an evil hike out). They offered a beer (high valued commodity on the river). We chatted a bit and asked how them how much further to the pullout.
They explained we were just coming to the hot springs where they were camping for the night... We were only halfway! It was after 3pm now (many hours on the water already), and we had at least 9 miles to go. The water was flowing too slow. Oh fuck!
The next 5 hours were spent in blister-inducing hard rowing downstream. Through long pools, past rising fish, through wild carved sandstone canyons, through rapids and riffles. Darkness started to fall and we could hardly see the rocks anymore. Luckily the worst of the river was behind us. Except the edge of the world dam a couple hundred yards past the takeout. I just hoped we would see the takeout or hear the water rolling over the dam first. Before...
At 8:30pm dark fell, and shortly after we saw the truck up the bank. We made it thanks to the kayakers. I think they did us a bigger favor than we did them. 18 miles in a day... a bit much for a first float. But oh man, I can't wait to do it again in 2 or 3.