River Rafting and Beach Backpacking

After enjoying showers and laundry in Bend, OR we met our rafting guides to prepare for two days of fun on the Deschutes River. In total we traveled forty five miles by raft through the Oregonian desert, enjoying 90 degree sunny weather… a welcome change from the snowy slopes of the South Sister! The first few hours on the river were on relatively flat water, which gave us plenty of time to play games and go swimming. Alex E. was the first to try doing a trust fall while balancing on the raft and he spent a lot of time jumping in and out of the river. Justin learned how to steer our raft and took over as the guide for part of the trip. Tara also learned how to to steer and spent time helping our guide Zander on the gear boat. He also gave her a short mandolin lesson while floating down a calm stretch of river! 

 

After a delicious floating lunch we reached the first class three rapids of the day and everyone had a blast riding through the waves of white water. One of the wave trains was deep enough that we all hopped off the raft and swam through the rapid! After some more water games we floated into camp around 4pm and cook crew helped our raft guides prepare an elaborate dinner of burritos and strawberry angel food cake.  Although we had set up tents on the sandy shores of the river everyone decided to sleep under the stars. Alex M. shared his knowledge of of the night sky with the group by teaching us some constellations before bed.

 

The next morning we woke up to sunlight creeping over the canyon walls and after a quick breakfast we were back on the river. Day two of rafting brought more white water, including the rapid “Boxcar”. Martha sat up on the front of her raft (riding the bull), getting completely soaked, and had a great time. The second morning on the river went by far too fast and soon we were saying goodbye to our guides and shifting gears towards our next section, backpacking.

 

After our Three Sisters trip everyone was pros at sorting gear and packing bags so we were able to hit the trail in Olympic National Park early Wednesday morning. We began at the Oil City trailhead outside of Forks, WA and traveled north along the Pacific Coast for the past four days. We have hiked through both isolated rocky beaches and lush temperate rainforest. Because of the tides our route has taken us periodically up off the beach via cool rope ladders and into the forested headlands. The contrast between the enormous ancient trees and bare windswept beaches creates a beautiful and dramatic landscape. Since our daily mileage has only averaged about five miles we’ve had ample time to hang out on the beach after getting to camp each afternoon. Henry in particular  has been active about organizing games of frisbee most evenings.

 

As our first leader of the day John did a great job reading both the tide chart and map. Day one was our longest mileage-wise day but John set a pace that was comfortable for the entire group. Despite a lot of mud on the overland trail Ellie in particular kept a positive attitude and entertained/distracted the group with several tricky riddles. Over the past week it has been great seeing everyone in the group get more comfortable in the outdoors and get to know each other better. We’ve had campfires on the beach the last two nights, which have been a great way to end the day. It’s hard go believe the trip ends in less than a week. Up next is sea kayaking in the San Juans!