More Friends Visit and 5 Days Rafting

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Team H has Joined Us Again

We spent a couple of weeks with Yvonne and Grandma and Grandpa in Moab. Just after Yvonne went home we again crossed paths with Team H. Even though we had not seen them in a month the kids jump right back into their friendship. It was as if only a day had passed. We took them on all of our favorite rides. They researched and found some amazing hikes that we did not even know were around. We did a trail run at Arches National Park. And in between all of this the kids played legos, built forts, played games, shared in school work, read books together and to each other. We also spent time at the city park in the town of Moab. On the hot afternoons we would play sports in the grass and in the shade. They taught us how to do a slack line and we had a Moab Olympics with all different kinds of competitions. As is always the case the kids brought out the best in each other as they competed in running, jumping, tumbling, and obstacle course races.

Will and I had the opportunity to go on a couple of rides in the early morning without the kids. He and I made a run at a personal best time for me on the Slick Rock trail. Will is an incredible endurance athlete and he helped push this 45 year old to a sub 90 minute time. I was happy with this time because just a week prior Victoria and I rode the trail and she posted her best time of just a few seconds over 2 hours and I was wondering if I would be able to do any better than that on my own.

Team H’s favorite recreation is white water rafting. They were kind enough to invite us along on a 5 day rafting trip. We spent a couple days practicing on the Colorado that flows through Moab. We tested to see if our inflatable kayaks and SUPs would work on a river. We also wanted to see how Alexander and Victoria felt on a river. Everything checked out and we decided to join them on the 5 day trip. My parents were kind enough to both help with the delivery and pickup of us and all of our gear. They also watched both ours and Team H’s RV while we were gone. We had two 14ft rafts with rowing frames. We also brought along 2 inflatable river kayaks, one inflatable sea kayak and 3 inflatable SUPs (stand up paddle board). The two rafts were loaded to the gills with tents, sleeping bags and pads, clothes, camp stove, tables, camp chairs, and lots and lots of food for the 9 of us. On our first day we got a late start and made it only 6 miles of the planned 55 mile trip. Our first stop was at a beautiful curve in the river that had many prime tent sites. We had the place to ourselves and went about setting up for dinner. We were surrounded by deep, rocky canyons with the Southern Utah deserts 1000 ft above us and we had wonderful tasting tostados for dinner with freshly cut watermelons for dessert. The next morning we awoke and set about packing up camp. Before we continued down the river we practiced the correct floating position in the river. We hiked up the beach about 50 meters and then swam out into the current. As we floated by Will or Karin they threw us a line and we were pulled back to the beach. All 5 of the kids loved this and so it went for the next hour. We eventually got moving as we planned to travel 13 miles that day. Karin and Will both rowed a raft while Ashley paddled our inflatable sea kayak. I rotated with Alexander, Brooke, Victoria, and Autumn between the river kayaks and SUPs. Everyone had an amazing time. We rode the small rapids, we saw big horned sheep, we swam in the perfect temperature water. Just like that we were at our next camp by early afternoon. Again we all set to work putting up camp. That night after dinner we went for a short hike up the side of the canyon wall. And just like it sounds it was a little scary walking on the very narrow ledge trail so we decided to turn around and get to bed early. The next day was going to be our longest and we had to cover almost 20 miles. We awoke the next morning to a much higher and faster running river than the day before. We had breakfast, packed up camp and were back on the river by 9:30am. We soon realized that the river was moving much faster than the previous days and at times we found ourselves moving at 6mph. This section of the river offered us the most rapids of which all but two the kids could ride on paddle boards or in the kayaks. We stopped at the first of the two big ones and planned our routes through the waves. The kids all loaded up into the big rafts while Ashley and I chose to ride the rapids in the inflatable river kayaks. Will took point and showed us all the way and Ashley followed with me close on her heals. It was a blast! The kayaks we rode were perfect for this size of rapids (class 2+) Ashley and I paddled, bounced and splashed through and got soaked and swamped in the process. At the other end of the rapid the kids and Will cheered us on. Karin soon followed with Addeline in the last raft. We successfully got through the first of the big rapids. The next big one was right near that night’s campsite so by the time we reached it we had been on the river for nearly 15 miles that day. We pulled to the beach just before the last big rapids so that we could scout our routes. Again the kids decided to ride it in the big rafts actually we decided for them after seeing the rapids up close. Ashley too decided to be in the big raft. I thought I would give it a go in the kayak again silently hoping Karin and Will would talk me out of it as I stood near the roaring rapids. Ah no! These two are definitely the go for it kind of people. One of the many reasons we love this family so much! They encouraged me, instructed me, reassured me, and of course they just laughed in the face of the danger of the rapids. Their nonchalant comment of, “If you get dumped you will just be tossed around (by the giant wave and rock!) a bit and then it will shoot you out down the river. No problem!” was just what I needed to both have the courage to try it and question why the heck am I doing this, at the same time. As you can see I lived to write about it. My route was not perfect and I did go over a big hole that I was supposed to go around but I guess it made for a better show for those watching. Just kidding, it was awesome and I am glad to have such good, confident and adventurous friends to share these kinds of challenges. Will and Karin both paddled a big raft full of kayaks, paddle boards, camping gear, Ashley and kids. They all had a blast as the big rafts pounded through the big waves. That night we talked about the big rapids and the many smaller but just as significant rapids when riding on a paddle board. Everyone had another amazing day of river travel. The last two days had far fewer rapids but just as much fun for both families. On our last night we had the most wonderful campsite amongst the rocks and sand. We again had an amazing dinner and spent the evening before bed talking while staring up at the stars as the kids played. My parents were rock stars and brought our car the four hour drive to our take out spot. They helped us load up all the gear into our Forester and Team H’s truck. They were both so full I don’t think we could have brought an additional tennis ball. After driving our car to us my parents then drove the four hours back to our RV. Thanks mom and dad that trip was amazing but would have been quite a hassle without your help!

Our crew lining up for the next rapid. Alexander, Autumn and me with Brooke and Will in the background
Going thru some small rapids.
Will playing the role of sweeper
Me going thru some small rapids on the paddleboard
Will on point with Alexander, Victoria and me all right behind him.
Karin rowing the big Blue with Brooke and Alexander in the bow while Autumn sneaks a tow.
Victoria in one of the inflatable river kayaks.
Another Big Horn Sheep on the rivers edge.
Our flotilla making our way down river
Some of the smaller rapids we played in. These look much smaller on camera.
Karin rowing a full boat. Victoria and Brooke in the bow while Alexander and Addeline man the stern
Will and Autumn in the Big Banana carrying a load of paddleboards.
Autumn and Victoria discuss world events as they paddle down river.
This kid loves the river life.
Will helps a swimmer (probably Alexander) back into the raft
Autumn putting on a clinic on how to paddleboard in a river
Even I spent time at the helm of the big rafts
Alexander gets back on his paddleboard after an afternoon swim in the river
Ashley on one of our practice river trips on the Colorado in Moab. The La Sals Mountains are in the distance
Alexander getting used to paddleboarding on the Colorado river.
He got the hang of it quickly
Brooke and Victoria exploring the river on paddleboards
Ashley not behind the camera for a change
Victoria getting used to a paddleboard on a river
Looking up the Colorado River
Karin with Addeline giving her pointers
Not she is giving pointers to Alexander too.
Autumn getting comfortable in the river kayak
Victoria getting close to nature
Victoria leads us to the end of our rafting trip and the takeout

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