Upper Truckee River baby raft adventure
July 23, 2010
The game plan: raft the Upper Truckee River from Meyers to the old Carrows restaurant. But procrastination was embedded in our day. We headed to Kmart to buy our boat. On a tight budget, we opted for the single-person rafts with a toddler on the package. The boy on the box looked liked he was having fun, so that was good enough for us.
At the launch spot by the flea market in Meyers, rafters already finished their day. One gentlemen asked if we just got started; it was 5:30 p.m. We laughed and said we’re fine. Look at us: We have rafts, board shorts and sunglasses. We were set to go.
When floating along the Upper Truckee, you must be vigilant. There are several obstacles – beaver dams, downed trees, chain link fences and sharp twigs ready to puncture any vessel.
Around every bend in the river, there was a tree to watch out for and some of us did not watch too carefully. My expedition teammate rammed into a beaver dam, puncturing a baseball-sized hole in his raft.
With two rafts for three people, we got creative. We used the rope that came with the rafts to make one vessel for the three of us. We were off again.
After another break, I hopped into the raft, only to puncture it with a twig below. We were taking on water rapidly and our only choice was to float across the river to the east side before we all sank.
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Out of the river, we were greeted by a steep hill. Nobody had shoes on. Scaling the hill, we looked for a bike path we saw earlier. We switched to survival mode – we needed shoes and we only had two deflated rafts. We started ripping up the rafts to make shoes. I went for the standard high-top, one person had more of a sandal and the winner made a Greek-style calf-high boot with rubber lacing up the side.
This was the best invention ever. We were stomping on sticks, trudging through bushes and making good time. We came out on a paved bike path and rejoiced. A runner rounded a corner to see us with bathing suits and hand-made rubber boots, towing the lone raft. Nobody really knew what to make of us as they passed, laughing and whispering under their breath and holding their children tight.
It was dusk and we survived.
Nick Brown is a South Lake Tahoe-based freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.