ECHO Family Runs a High Water Tuolumne Trip
The ECHO training trip on the Tuolumne was a huge success! Some hailed from as far as Salt Lake City and New York to come on "The T" and both Dick Linford and Joe Daly freed up their weekends for what was supposed to be relaxing river trip. As we gathered around for the safety talk at Meral's Pool, Dick Linford said with a grin, "If I'd known the T would be running at 8,000 cfs, this trip would've been cancelled last week!" But, the boats were loaded and in the water and all 21 of us guides were ready to go and very excited about the adventure ahead.
The waves and holes were huge and the water was moving very quickly, but we all managed to stay in our boats through the first ten big rapids and in no time we arrived at the daunting Clavey Falls. After a tough ferry across the Clavey River which was adding another 1,500 cfs or more to the Tuolumne, we scouted and had no choice except to run the Linford Slot down the right. When Jeff's raft came through a few people, including Dick, were catapulted out of the raft and had to swim part of Clavey! It was very exciting for those of us watching and they all were pulled back into the boat with smiles on their faces.
At Big Creek camp we had time to enjoy the green lushness of the river canyon, the wildflowers, and the waterfalls pumping out of the hillsides. We tried a new Dutch Oven recipe - Garlic Rosemary Lamb - which was well-received and might be a new dinner on the Middle Fork of this Summer this summer. We also had excellent seminars on sanitation, first aid, Z-rigs and wraps.
Day 2 only had one big rapid, Hells Kitchen, but it was chock full of excitement. When Dick took over ECHO's new cataraft from Zach, we knew it would be an eventful afternoon. And, sure enough, as we rounded the bend after a fun ride through Hells Kitchen, we noticed the cat surfing in a hole at the Playground, Dick flailing around trying to regain control of the oars, yelling for hi-sides, and looking absolutely determined to keep the boat from flipping. Meanwhile Zach was hanging on for dear life, frighteningly close to the full groover, looking entirely pleased with the situation. After a minute or two the boat came out of the hole and a smile finally broke out on Dick's face. We could hear them hooting and hollering, thrilled that they had come so close to flipping, but had managed to stay upright. It was an entertaining end to a great trip.