The great Big Bend flood of 2008
Trip Start Aug 18, 2008
24Trip End Oct 01, 2008
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Our trip ended up being through Santa Elena canyon, a beautiful section of the river with canyon walls 1500 feet high and (normally) a few exciting rapids. But with such massive water flows, we didn't see a single rapid. The largest rapid is usually a section called 'Rock Slide', which is a rocky section that the river guide has to maneuver the raft through. We didn't see a single rock! Instead, we had to make our way through giant waves that swamped the boat, and got so tall that they broke like waves on the ocean. It was bizarre to see water the color of chocolate milk cresting like that.
Throughout the trip, we also got to see the extent of the devastation. At the put in, a local resort town called Lajitas was so inundated with water that we floated over the 18th green of the golf course, and on the other side of the river we saw Mexican villages that had been partially wiped out. For most of the trip, we were floating over trees which normally line the bank of a narrow river--instead, it was almost a mile wide in parts. It all felt very eerie and bizarre--it rained for most of our trip, and even though we finished the day feeling wet and cold, we both felt it was worth it to have seen what a massive impact water can have. Really makes you understand why you need to respect the river...