What we saw as we approached rapid 29 was not immateriality distinguishable, but a few minutes later is became apparent by the flotsam, that someone was having an epic. We set a course to intercept what was revealed shortly, as a flat bottom john boat with a small outboard that had attempted to up run the last rapid. He failed spectacularly with an advanced surf maneuver that ended in a bow periling and a capsize. In true form, nothing in the boat was tied down so the yard sale was set forth. It took us a few minutes to close the distance and as we approached we witnessed the boat captain attempt to right his swamped boat several times. He did get it flipped over once but without a bail bucket it didn’t take long to turtle again.
We got him pulled in to our raft in short order and saw the form of a denim wearing drowned rat. We made out way to the nearest place to access the situation further. Meanwhile, the rest of our crew gave chase to all his gear that was still afloat. The one thing he did do right was pack his clothes in dry bags so he was able to get warm relatively quickly without us opening an on the fly Good Will store. Once we knew he was alive and going to stay that way, I turned my attention to the submerged outboard. We flipped the boat and bailed it out while on shore and began the process of restoring power. His tools were now at the bottom of the lake so a I got into my repair kit and was able to pull both spark plugs on the 15Hp 2 stroke motor to blow all the water out. We primed the fuel line and after about 5 minutes of huff, puff and pull starting, we got it going. I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of getting it started.
Once running we started packing our gear and getting set up to motor out to or next camp a Dark Canyon Right. By the time we were ready to push off he was unable to keep the motor running while idling down to get it in gear. We decided to give him a tow and continue to chase his remaining gear that was by now way down stream. Over the next few miles we recovered one piece of the yard sale at a time until it became obvious that was out ran the last of it. I held out hope to find his final oar but it was not in the cards, so we pulled over where we could and found a semi solid sand bank to work on his motor again.
After another round of the huff and pull, I got her going again and determined that the reason he couldn’t keep it going to get it in gear was related to the mixture. I was able to apply about 1/2 choke and keep the idle speed sufficient to get it in gear. We loaded the remainder of his gear in the boat and and wished him a Bon voyage. We pushed him off shore and watched as he sped out of site toward to safety of his truck back a North Wash.
We all felt pretty good about sending our new found weird uncle from Bluff on his way with a running motor, water, food, shoes, and most of his worldly possessions including his pack of smokes. We were also slightly relived so not have this addition for our last night.
Notes on Conditions for Fall 2017:
-Mineral Bottom Road was in great shape
-Mineral Boat ramp was easy access and you could get a trailer in the water in needed. There was the standard Mun at the waters edge but no swamp to speak of.
-The camps were limited on the green so don’t pass a usable sand bar if your close to the mileage you need to make.
-There was a reliable looking bar at Fort Bottom and a couple at mile 25ish
-The Confluence Beach was looking good with the easiest access on the Green side at the top to avoid the cut bank
– Upper Spanish was overgrown was usable.
– Lower Spanish is still unusable as the cut bank is huge. There is an area of egress above to main camp but its still a 5′ bank and would really suck.
-Lower Redlake was looking to be the best option above Brown Betty.
Camps in the Canyon:
-Brown Betty Beach is is Good Shape and will accommodate two groups.
-Rapid 5 is in good shape
-Upper and middle x-y Right are both Large camps and lower is small be useable
-Capsize is uninhabitable
– Big Drop beach is Awesome
-Upper and lower ten cent are both usable.
– Upper looks better unless it is windy and lower may be better.
-There was a small camp between 28-29 but its in the lake mud.
– Dark Canyon upper right is usable as long as it doesn’t rain.
– We detached the boats and I drove the motor boat hard in to the shore to push the bow up past the mud pain. We then attached the other boats and used the main boat as a bridge to keep out of the mud.
– Dark Canyon Right Lower did not exist so if one group is a dark it’s full.
-No other camps were available on the Lake.
North Wash/ Dirty Devil Ramp
-The Ramp is in the best shape I’ve ever seen it!!! There is no cut Bank and they have put road base on top of the silt so I suspect that it will hold up even in wet conditions. We were able to put our trailer in the water, stack all 3 boats and float the stack on in one motion. I did put it in 4 low to pull out of the water.
The current is very minimal at Dark Canyon and non existent at the ramp. The silt has not dropped out yet but it cant be too far to that point. The lake was defiantly significantly higher that in years past so attempting a row out would be long and miserable.
Fuel for 6HP 4 stroke Motor:
We used about 6 gal for the whole trip pushing 3 boats.