Rafting Trip - 2007
Trip Start May 26, 2007
1Trip End May 29, 2007
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How does a town get the name Happy Camp? Apparently, several historians are engaged in a heated debate regarding the origins of the name. Personally, I think it has something to do with the foliage in the area.
Pulling into Happy Camp I for sure thought I had been smoking a bad batch ...... but no, the town really does have a Bigfoot statue. Yes, the people of Happy Camp are all about Bigfoot ... Javabob's Bigfoot Deli, Bigfoot Scenic Byway, Bigfoot Towing, and the biggest festival in town, the Bigfoot Jamboree.
The five of us (Anand, Devang, Mayur, Jig, and myself) were starving so we stopped for some dinner at the finest establishment in town, a shack known as Pizza House, which also happened to be the choice venue of the local prom. After reminding certain members of our group that 16 will get you 20 we pushed on to our camp site, Paradise Point.
The next day we got to meet the rest of the group. There were about 30 of us in total. Our guides - Kyle & Co. had also brought along a number of kayaks. Given that I had no clue what I was doing I decided that going solo in a kayak was not the way to start the day off. A wise choice given that over half of the kayakers found themselves in the water after the first few rapids. Although, they were doing better than the guides thought they would.
After a few rapids I decided to give the kayak a shot. I took to it like a Guju to business - even navigated some of the rapids backwards. OK, perhaps navigate is not the appropriate word for what I was doing. None the less, I somehow managed to stay in my kayak and out of the river.
Day two was more of a challenge. This time I started the day in a kayak and was doing pretty well, that is until my kayak developed an attraction for a freaking log stuck smack dab in the middle of a rapid. Yup, found myself floating down the river, but it wasn't too bad and I managed to hold on to my paddle and kayak. Although, it was enough for me to want out. But alas, none of the folk on the rafts were willing to switch out with me ..... apparently, none were too keen on tackling the upcoming rappid, know as the Rattle Snake, in a kayak.
Davie, one of our guides, told us kayakers that the most challenging path was on the right side and that we should stick to the left unless we wanted some adventure. So I of course find myself going down the right, but wait - I was taming the beast!! Crashing through the first wave and rising high above the next I realized that I could make it .... and then totally ate it. Yup, found myself in the river again and this time I was being taken along with no mercy. On the plus side, I didn't have to worry about getting dehydrated for the rest of the day.
After that we decided to take a short break from rafting. One that I was much in the need for. Those of us that were up to it had the chance to go cliff diving. Nothing to crazy - about 25 feet to the river and the current was fairly weak. Looking at this picture now - I sure did come pretty close to some of those rocks!!
(And now to steal an idea from my friend Alan).
My other memories of this trip are:
1) Peter Chu's Skyroom - the one (and only) restaurant & lounge at the Redding Muni Airport. Being from Chicago, "Skyroom" conjures up a different image than that of Peter Chu's 2nd floor establishment. However, it is a fine place to enjoy a few cold ones - as the flight staff will attest to - yes, they were done for the day.
2) Five Indians setting up two tents - passer by noting that one fella was doing all the work and the rest were just watching. No wonder it took us forever. As always, too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
3) The town drunk found a 4.5 pound nugget of gold - supposedly worth 100k. Lucky bastard.
4) When cliff diving, breath OUT when you hit the water. No, I didn't breath in - I have some sense!! I was just simply holding my breath, which leads to the problem of water rushing up your nose. Yeah, I learned that lesson going down water slides - just didn't remember it.
5) Dancing on the knifes edge of adhesion as Mayur navigated the mountainous terrain at high speeds in an effort to catch up with the rest of our group.
6) The friendships I made with the various folk in our group - looking forward to seeing many of them next year!!