I
have always wanted to write a trip report. But then I found out I had
to go on a river trip to do that. So on one dark and stormy night….
No, that’s not it — It was a rainy Sunday morning, June 26, and I
headed over to the Cartecay River. There I met five other brave
paddlers, all decked out in rain gear, getting ready for a day of
fun, hoping that the sun would come out. After brief introductions,
our boats and gear were placed on and in the shuttle transport, with
everyone seated in the belly of a truck being held together with
bumper stickers; hanging on to the straps above our heads, off to the
river we went.

To
start, for those of you who have not run this river, our
transportation was provided by M.O.E. At their putin, the LARGE trees
that fell during last summer’s storms and blocked the river, have
been trimmed so it is passable. Safety gear on, I sat and waited for
the group to get into the water and off we went.

This
being my first trip on this river, I was watched over by all. Being
the only person in a very big open boat with no floatation, (I am
going to purchase some), I was guided along by Edward and Dick, our
sweep and lead boaters. The light rains soon became heavier as we
slowly passed the many private and vacation homes along the banks,
sometimes taking shelter under the overhanging branches.

The
rhododendron, along with the mountain laurel, were in bloom. Several
Cardinals and Brown Thrashers could also be heard as we slowed our
paddle to bail the waters that were filling our boats. This was more
rain water then river, (Yes, I am going to get a sponge). Past storm
waters have left volumes of debris, wood and logs piled at some of
the curves.

As
we came upon each of the rapids on the river, directions were
provided as to the best routes. With the rains continuing, one of the
fears was that the river would rise on us. At each rapid we lined up
to make the trek, it was decided that I would be last so all could be
at the down river side just in case I ran into trouble.

At
the Rock Garden, due to an error on my part, I overshot the entrance
and could not back paddle, I portaged. So as to not have this happen
again, at the next challenge I found an eddy and waited a bit longer
and got a go ahead, then lined up and headed off.

There
was plenty of time to play. Howard in a tandem white water showed us
how to surf, Helene was in charge of throwing him the safety line if
he were to swamp, and Edward found every eddy he could as he took the
second set of rapids. We scouted, we played, and we got wet from the
rains.

The
rains let up just in time for lunch as we sat at the Whirlpool
contemplating a body surf down. There we watched a pair of rough
riders, no safety gear other than a paddle and the boat they floated
past on, that made us all wonder, “Are they crazy or stupid?”
All in all, it was a fun day. We all made the paddle with no one
getting into any trouble.

When
we were finally below Blackberry and at the take-out, I took a moment
to reflect on the trip. I learned that even though it may be your
20th trip or your 1st down a river, you need to listen to those that
are leading you, take their directions seriously and respect others.
I challenged myself on that Sunday and I would like to thank those
that were along with me that day, Helene and Howard Rogers, Charles
Zapf, Dick Hurd (Trip Coordinator) and Edward Stockman for being
patient with this cowgirl in the big red boat.

by
Shari Heinz
From The Eddy Line, August 2005

For more information on this river see:
Cartecay River