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  1. #1
    This place needs an enema
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    Bikepackrafting Westwater.

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    The flapping of Greg's tent in a stiff, spring desert wind, accompanied by the sizzle of driven rain.</div>
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    The zzzzzzcrunchclickzzzz of our bikes crawling across the darkened desert floor.</div>
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    The collective laughter as we shared our personal histories along this route--The Kokopelli Trail.</div>
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    Those are the three most lasting memories--all sounds, eh?--from last weekend.</div>
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    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/12mm9TXRzAXjhAANLofohwbmULy_cH-t86njVZgKVG0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="537" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-ODcHEbO5WuE/UXiPCofeTYI/AAAAAAAAjRA/LYQrS_ti-Gc/s800/IMG_0926.jpg" width="800" /></a></div>
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    Ever since I've lived in the desert I've heard the tales--usually cautionary and laden with hyperbole--of the fearsome, powerful, inescapable whitewater deep within Westwater Canyon. &nbsp;For better than a decade they were just stories, and though I knew and respected those whom shared, without a frame of reference I just couldn't wrap my head around them.</div>
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    I'm *almost* comfortable in class IV water, and that water is *low* this year, thus the time seemed right to go get some context.&nbsp;</div>
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    Doom, Greg and I met in a duststorm near the 'town' of Cisco well after dark. &nbsp;We rigged bikes quickly then headed east with a blustery tailwind, up into the clay and dirt hills midway between Moab and Grand Junction. &nbsp;It might have been logistically easier to just use two cars to 'run shuttle', but driving is neither fun, restorative, nor relaxing. &nbsp;Parking the cars and bikepacking our way toward Westwater seemed (was) infinitely more enjoyable.</div>
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    A few hours' ride brought us within spitting distance of the river, prompting an impromptu (and hasty) search for a suitable tent site before the seemingly impending rain ceased to pend.</div>
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    It was after midnight when we finally climbed into our bags, then next I knew it was morning and time to paddle.</div>
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    His tires might be plump but even Doom's hands are too skinny--prompting him to mooch food and gloves to keep warm throughout the day.&nbsp;</div>
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    Put-in junkshow. &nbsp;Not a bad load considering.</div>
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    Ranger Rick (hmmmm... perhaps it was Dick?) hiked his hat down and his undies up then dove right in to bullying the FNG's. &nbsp;Knowing there were rules to be followed both Greg and I had pored over the regs surrounding use of the river, and thought we'd dotted all i's and crossed all t's in advance. &nbsp;The <a href="http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/recreation/River_Recreation/westwater_canyon/river_use_stipulations.html">website</a> rules differ in subtle but allegedly critical ways from those on the ground, so after enduring way too much 'tude and one not-so-idle threat from He Who Must Be Obeyed, we shoved off.</div>
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    Obligatory ranger harassment behind us, it was time to look forward as sandstone walls bled into the metamorphic basement rock of the continent. &nbsp;Aside from this stretch of river, you'd need to visit either the Grand Canyon or Canuckistan to see unearthed precambrian bedrock.</div>
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    In the early miles we were accompanied by eagles and eaglets, packs of herons, throngs of geese, even a mess of mergansers. &nbsp;As yet, no bugs.</div>
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    Then the walls drew close, anxiety levels spiked, and the thrill ride began.</div>
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    Favorite random quotes:</div>
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    <i>"They take themselves pretty seriously around here."</i></div>
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    <i>"Yeah? &nbsp;What a douche."</i></div>
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    <i>"That was awesome!"</i></div>
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    <i>"Precambrian gneiss? &nbsp;Nice!"</i></div>
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    <i>"Can we go back and scout those last three rapids now?"</i></div>
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    <i>"You were in the Navy? &nbsp;Oh. &nbsp;Yeah. &nbsp;That explains <b>a lot</b>."</i></div>
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    <i>"Looks pretty straightforward."</i></div>
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    That last one was uttered by Doom not 30 seconds before he flipped.</div>
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    And the rest of the details?</div>
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    Here y'are:</div>
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    <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="450" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/64743208?portrait=0&amp;color=ffffff" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="800"></iframe></div>
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    Minutiae:</div>
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    The shuttle ride took less than two hours at a conversational pace.</div>
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    The <a href="http://waterdata.usgs.gov/co/nwis/uv/?site_no=09163500&amp;PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060">ri ver</a> was between 1700 and 1800cfs.</div>
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    We put in at ~7:45 and were off the river by 2.</div>
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    HWMBO told us we were the first packrafts he'd launched into <a href="http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/recreation/River_Recreation/westwater_canyon/westwater_canyon_map.html">the canyon</a> in his 4 year tenure. &nbsp;</div>
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    Greg <a href="http://dirtanddogs.blogspot.com/2013/04/westwater-wam-bam.html">sharted himself</a> at least once.</div>
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    Doom and I paddled stock <a href="https://www.alpackaraft.com/index.cfm/store.catalog?CategoryID=53&amp;ProductID=67">Yuko n Yak's</a> with the whitewater deck. &nbsp;Greg has an early prototype of the <a href="https://www.alpackaraft.com/index.cfm/store.catalog?CategoryID=53&amp;ProductID=189">Cur iYak</a>.</div>
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    Wanting more ballast to punch big (to us) waves and holes, we loaded our camping gear into the bows of our boats via the <a href="https://www.alpackaraft.com/index.cfm/store.catalog?categoryID=65">Cargo Fly</a>.</div>
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    I managed my first-ever combat roll after a lateral in Bowling Alley caught me leaning.</div>
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    Doom and Greg both flipped in the final hole of Last Chance. &nbsp;Doom swam immediately, Greg tried two rolls before swimming. &nbsp;Both self-rescued -- an unbelievably easy and fast thing to do with a packraft.</div>
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    My stills and handheld video were shot on a Canon S100. &nbsp;POV footage courtesy of <a href="http://therepublicofdoom.blogspot.com/">Doom's</a> GoPro 3.</div>
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    Thanks for checkin' in.</div>
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  2. #2
    High Desert MTBer
    Reputation: rockerc's Avatar
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    best post ever! Well, almost ever! Thanks for sharing!
    It's all Here. Now.

  3. #3
    beater
    Reputation: evasive's Avatar
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    Grr. I haven't done an overnight trip since I floated the Grand in 2010. Seeing this on the same day that Pinkbike has pics of the Porter/McGarry Green River float is almost too much. (I think that trip was published in Bike a year or more ago; not sure why it's running today.)
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  4. #4
    Quick as a bunny
    Reputation: cyclelicious's Avatar
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    Impressive landscape! Lovely pics and video. Good post, mikesee.
    F*ck Cancer

    Eat your veggies

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: skiahh's Avatar
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    I'm guessing there were a lot of pictures in this post, but only a few actually loaded.
    www.teamnavycycling.org
    10 Pivot Mach 429
    09 Felt Nine Race
    03 Litespeed Tuscany

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Funrover's Avatar
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    Awesome!!!!

  7. #7
    Feel Good About Hood
    Reputation: Pedal/Paddle's Avatar
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    My 2 favorite things, bikes and boats. Such an amazing corner of the world too. Fantastic.

    Does anyone else see fingers or toes in that first pic?

  8. #8
    mtbr member
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    Well done boys! Love that roll. I can barely do it in a hard shell, and you made it look easy in that inflatable.

    Your next challenge is a low water Selway trip. I'm game!

  9. #9
    This place needs an enema
    Reputation: mikesee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh View Post
    I'm guessing there were a lot of pictures in this post, but only a few actually loaded.
    Actually, there were only those few. 99% of the ride was in the dark, then the paddling was a fast-paced day with only one true scout. Thus the camera's stayed holstered most of the time.

  10. #10
    Awesomist™
    Reputation: Full Trucker's Avatar
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    This is good isht.
    The older I get, the faster I was.





    Punch it, Chewie.

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