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Sauk River Rafting

April 11, 2015« More activities from 2015

It was about an hour and a half drive up to Backman County Park which is a couple miles south of Darrington. This is where we met up with Jerry and Lori from North Cascades River Expeditions who were our guides for the trip. We all got into our wetsuits and rafting clothes and got into their big van to drive to the put-in site about 8 miles up river. We left our cars at the take-out site for easy departure.

At the put-in site, we got our PFDs, helmets, and paddles, and figured out who would be in each of the 2 rafts we paddled. Jerry Michalec, the owner of North Cascades River Expeditions, gave us a short orientation on rafting commands and skills as well as some tips and safety procedures, and then we were in the water.

The water was lower than we had experienced in the past, so that meant we had to be more careful maneuvering around rocks. Occasionally, we’d get stuck on a rock under our raft and we’d have to move within the boat to take the weight off the rock so we could move again. Along the way, we spotted some cool-looking birds including Harlequin Ducks, an Osprey, and a Great Blue Heron. Some large fish were also spotted in the river.

We stopped on a sunny, rocky beach for lunch, and gathered wood for a campfire. Our guides quickly setup collapsable tables and had a feast of sandwiches, apples, and brownies, as well as hot cocoa and mochas laid out for us. Nice food and conversations by the river-side. After a sweep, extinguishing the fire, and getting our gear back on, we got back in the rafts for the last half of the trip.

We landed at the take-out site, helped clean and stow gear, rinse out the rafts, and got dressed. We thanked our guides and headed back to the church. On the way home, we passed by the site of the March 2014 Oso land slide and took a few pictures. The road was completely rebuilt and some plants are starting to grow back, but the bare dirt and rock where the side of the ridge tore away was still easily visible. – MHG

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