Day 12: Hotauta to below Fossil
March 16, 2014
Today was a long day with good weather, no wind, and a lot of fun. Little rapids (below 4’s), with Fossil (a 5), Forster (a 5), and Walthenberg (a 6) being the three bigger ones to run today.
Robb is rowing Susie Too in the morning and Tony takes his first turn at the oars in the afternoon. We are trying to make up some time so we can still do our layover day at Staircase for some great hiking. So we pack lunches to eat on the river, rather than stop and lay out our lunch on a Roll-A-Table, which takes an hour to set up, eat, and take down.
We reach Elves Chasm and spend half an hour exploring and also meet up with two other groups and discuss camp sites. Looks like we need to head to below Fossil.
Forster and Fossil rapids today are just read-and-run, although Fossil is a nice S-shaped rapid with some rocks in strategic places that require pulling on the oars to miss.
Walthenberg has some big waves and Robb runs that perfectly. Susie Too dances up and over everything she is aimed at, catching air when she can, and having her riders laugh a lot. Sometimes she is a dry-rider. If there are lateral waves at the bottom that come over the sides, then she fills up and the pump goes on and we bail and between the two, we get her emptied out in a couple of minutes. But full or empty, she is very stable and a joy to be in.
While we are at Elves Chasm, a small trip pulls up that had been scouting Walthenberg and we talk dories, how Susie did, and he tells us that seeing a dory go through a rapid had been on his Bucket List. So, he was a happy camper to have watched this.
We get to below Fossil and set up camp, enjoy a great dinner, and get to bed. The almost-full moon comes up in a notch across from us and sets just after midnight behind the cliff behind us, but the moonlight reflects off the east cliff all night and it is bright and still.