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Sauk River Rafting

April 9, 2016« More activities from 2016

What a beautiful sunny day to go white water rafting on the Sauk River! It was about an hour and a half drive up to Backman County Park which is a couple miles south of Darrington, Washington. We met up with Jerry and Lori Michalec and others from North Cascades River Expeditions who were our guides for the trip. We put on the wetsuits and booties they gave us as well as the rafting clothes we brought, and got into their 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 rafts. 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. Then we got in the boats and on the water.

We quickly got used to the various commands and strokes so that we could travel through all of the rapids like Demon Seed, Jaws, and Whirlpool. It was a great ride with lots of big waves! The scenery was excellent too as we passed forests and nearby mountains, and spotted quite a few birds.

We stopped on a sheltered, rocky beach for lunch. Our guides quickly whipped out hidden collapsable tables and had a feast laid out for us in about 10 minutes. We had turkey, ham, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, peanut butter, jelly, a couple kinds of bread, brownies, and apples to eat, and Jerry’s world-famous mochas and hot cocoa to drink.

Once we got our gear back on and everything cleaned up, we got back in the rafts for the last half of the trip. We stopped at the point where Clear Creek joined Sauk River, paddled a short distance up the creek and tied our rafts up below a bridge. We hiked up the creek about 1/4 mile to a spot where a tree had fallen across the creek about 10 feet above the creek. It was deep enough that we could jump from the log into the creek. Very cool! Most Scout and adults did it at least once. Once everyone had gotten their fill, we got back into the rafts and finished up the river 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 home. On the way, we passed through the site of the 2014 Oso mudslide. Two years later you can still see what a huge, devastating event that was. – MHG

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