Ow ow ow my hands hurt. Huan was late, but we still managed to get to the Russian River on time at 10. But we didn’t actually leave the shore until 11. We ended close to 6. From start to end was about 8 miles. We stopped twice for food, and several more times for rest/restroom breaks. Yay, bushes!
Huan also did the rope swings since he was the only one wearing swimming gear. Though he didn’t exactly swing, more like fell in the water (and tried our patience for taking 10 minutes to finally jump the first time).
Despite the trip supposed to be easy and calm, we actually got a dose of adventure. So what hapened was that Adele and Xi lost one of their paddles and it got stuck behind some branches because of the current. Huan got off since he was the only one with swimming trunks to pick it up. Somewhere during that time, Xi fell off the boat and she stood in the shallow water that was upstream of the current. She’s pregnant (almost 6 months) so she couldn’t really swim. Another boat with Irene and James flipped over but they managed to recover but they got pushed down further. Meanwhle, Huan was trying to hold onto Adele’s boat and my boat since the water was too deep and he couldn’t get on without quite likely flipping Adele’s boat.
Eventually I managed to paddle up to Xi and get her onto the boat. Took a couple tries for her to get on before the current pushed me away from the shallow water again.
From then on, I was with her until close to the end. Since she’s pregnant, she couldn’t really exert too much, so I paddled most of the rest of the way by myself, which was… not fun. Mainly because I could only move at about half the speed as the rest of the group who had two paddlers, and of course, having to paddle twice as much (most of the water was still, with the wind blowing against us, so we couldn’t really rely on the currents), so towards the end, I was too tired to try to keep the boat straight, which just delayed us further. Hand almost cramped up a few times (next time, I think I want to wear gloves). :P
Towards the end, when we had kinda dispaired that it was going to take a long time, Irene and Xi switched places at a bank, and the difference was definitely great. :P We had to stop and wait for James and Xi’s boat often after that, but we also realized that we were almost at the end by then since we saw the bridge that was the landmark.
Pei and Patrick’s boat was the first to get to the end (yes, they just ditched us all. :P)
My jacket also got soaked throughout the entire trip (should’ve left it into the car considering I took it off pretty much after I got onto the boat), and I just washed it yesterday. Ugh. The river wasn’t that clean in parts either.
While waiting for the van to pick us up, Huan managed to throw his frisbee into the poison oak. And he then went to pick it up. So, he may have an excuse to stay home on Monday. We’ll see, it takes 24-48 hours for the symptoms to occur.
Oh, yeah, three of us brought DSLRs (all guys, go figure. :P). I had the best/newest body there, but I think they had the better lens. Patrick had a Canon XTI (450D) with a 70-200mm L lens. James had a Nikon D70 (his “disposable” compared to his D300) with a NIKKOR 18-200mm lens. I mainly just used my 55-250mm IS lens. I also used my polarizer for a bit, but it didn’t seem to help that much today. It also got a dunking early in the trip and got wet with river water (I foolishly kept it outside the case, this was before I realized how wet we were gonna get) and somehow it fell into the water. I didn’t have my cleaning stuff so I just dried it with my clothes and it seemed ok. Cleaned it later properly and it didn’t seem to have any lasting damage. I’m still waiting for my clear blue sky…
There was much chimping over each others’ cameras/lens, and I actually exchanged lens with Patrick at dinner so we could try out each others’ lens (conclusion: I need my IS) and just random discussions. Also, one of the Russian River Adventures people apparently recognized my camera case and also looked it over. Apparently his wife’s a professional photographer and she used to receive the Pelican cases for free which is why he knew about them (that, and he’d used it himself on river expeditions). He gave a suggestion on drilling holes through the bottom of the case so carabiners could be attached.
For dinner , we went to 99 Ranch to look for food. We were originally gonna eat at Great Szechuan but we left because Pei and Patrick didn’t eat spicy foods. We ended up going to 168. An interesting reversal of last week’s meal…
So in general, the trip was fun, but I know my body’s going to hate me tomorrow and it’ll be sure to let me know it.